It has been quite a while since our eyes met each other’s gaze. Those beautiful blue eyes of yours that everyone remembers … and that smile.
It seems impossible that 17 years have gone by so quickly, but I know how some of those days passed by so painfully slow as I marked another day without you. I still miss you and think of you often, but the longing, the void, the feeling of nothing to lean on has dissolved. Those feelings and that hole of loss have thankfully been filled with my own family, new foundations, old and new friendships, and an earned sense of survival.
Instead of dwelling and looking backward, I know I have a road to travel and a journey ahead of me, even if it is without you.
I am comforted by the memories, thankful for our immense connection to each other, delighted to share our stories with my children, and wistful for what life could have been like if you were still here.
The memories are plentiful, especially living together, just the two of us, in our cute little 2-bedroom home for 6 years. I remember being cozied up on our couch to watch our favourite tv shows – MacIver, Scarecrow and Mrs. King and Little House on the Prairie, or maybe a Tom Cruise VHS movie rental on the weekend from the convenience store around the corner. And we never forgot the dill pickle chips and Diet 7up; it was all that we needed, we had each other.
Hot, humid summer nights found us nestled on that same tweed pull-out couch because our bedrooms were too hot to go to sleep so we had family-room campouts with the windows open, waiting and hoping for a cool breeze to drift through and cool us off.
Summer vacations on Manitoulin Island to visit Grams at the lake: swimming, diving competitions, viva puffs, paddle boating, the Beach Boys blaring, me bugging you to play while you devoured novels in the sun, golfing, visiting your childhood friends, Chi-Cheemaun adventures and you letting me drive on the dirt roads waaaay before 16.
Drawing hearts in the air with our fingertips was what we did when we had to go somewhere or when I was leaving at the airport for a trip to Dad’s … remember? It was our special and silent way of saying ‘I love you’ in a crowd. Whenever I visit your gravestone, I still draw a heart with my fingertips to say goodbye as I am leaving.
I remember you were a person that saved your words so that when you said them they mattered. (I’m not so sure I got that gene as I’m a bit more of a talker!) Your quiet and fair ways in our family demanded respect and you impacted everyone who had the privilege of knowing you.
You weren’t one for crowds or big parties, but you flourished in small circles and dedicated friendships. I find myself to be similar in that aspect as I cherish the quieter times with my girlfriends and our impromptu get-togethers.
Mom, I miss our talks and your steady presence in my life. You listened so well and were always there for me. We talked on the phone almost every day when I was at university, and that was before cellphones! You knew me so well. And you guided so subtly and strong. I miss that.
Rest assured, although you are not with me, you are with me. My sons and husband know, love and remember you as I do, through my memories and by knowing me. The boys look forward to seeing you every year on our annual Manitoulin pilgrimage and they play catch in the graveyard when we visit you, the sun beating down, heat bugs humming and the crunchy grass underfoot.
I am who I am because of you Mom. And I am who I am because of me. We will forever be intertwined. You will always be a fond and necessary memory of who I was, who I am, and who I will be.
Thank you for being in my life and giving me ‘us’ … it is something that I will cherish and hold dear to my heart always.
Happy Mother’s Day.