My mother died today.
It wasn’t unexpected and in reality, dementia had already taken who she was, but her heart kept beating. She was 97 years old, and today her physical body finally released her spirit.
I was not there. Thankfully, my sister was.
Now, there is a mom-shaped hole in my heart.
Even when death comes as a blessing, it leaves a chasm in the hearts of those left behind.
Mom was a very complicated woman, a woman of deep, but hidden, emotions. She was tightly wound and controlled. She didn’t express her feelings very often, but she loved her children and grandchildren. She had a good sense of humor and in her later years learned to laugh and let go a little bit.
She had a restless spirit and loved to travel. She loved Las Vegas and playing those slot machines.
She passed that love on to my sister, and I. Some of my fondest memories are of the three of us together in Las Vegas.
Because I’ve lived far away, the responsibility for mom in the last years has fallen on my sister. I’m grateful beyond measure for the things she has done.
Now, we are motherless children. No matter that I am 62 and my sister is 75. We were Nyta’s children to the end.
“You’ll always be my baby” she would say. Because I’ve said those same words to my youngest, I understand. It doesn’t matter how old we are. When our parents look at us they see a memory of years; a baby, a child, a teen and an adult all wrapped up in one.
Yes, I’ll always be your baby.
In spirit, your memory is restored, and in our memories, you’ll always be with us. I’ll see you in all the things you love: your grandchildren, a rose, funky art and especially a really good hit on a slot machine.
You’ll be there. I love you.
Always have, always will.