Today marks 3 years since my mom passed away. I’d love to say there are moments I forget, but of course I don’t. It was one of the most insurmountable tribulations I hope to ever experience. When I lost my mom, I lost one of the handful of people on the planet that really knew and understood me. Although I’ve always been a social recluse, my mom was one of the very best friends I’ve ever had in my life.
I got my love for books from my mom. I was also raised to care for books as if their pages contained the most sacred words written by man, regardless of the title. To my mom, stories were sacred. All of them. Now I find myself dusting the most obscure paperback romance novels written by authors I’ve never heard of, just because it’s still in my head, stories are sacred and deserve respect. My Mama always told me, if someone put that much effort, energy, and love into something, it deserves respect, whether we like it or not.
Many of the phone conversations my mom and I had, centered around books. We kind of operated our own little book club between the two of us. We would read the same books and discuss their plots and debate their endings. It’s an exercise I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, now that our book club has been permanently disbanded.
After my dad died, my mom is the reason I continued playing baseball. She never let me give up the sport. She even threw around with me in the yard until I got old enough to be genuinely concerned I’d hurt her. She would protest adamantly, but after a certain age, I quit throwing the ball with her. Looking back, I wish I would have anyway and just taken it easy. But kids don’t understand these things when they happen. It’s only after age and wisdom do we comprehend how important moments can be. But the thought of how passionate she was about helping me be a better baseball player still makes me smile. And cry a little too I suppose.
I also got my thirst for knowledge from my mom. She never let on too much, but my mom was smart. When she insisted she knew the answer to something, she did. If she ever said the words “you wanna bet” you better concede and run away screaming. As long as I’ve lived, I can't think of a single instance when my mom lost a bet. She also didn’t pretend to know things she didn’t know. She had no issue telling you when she wasn’t sure, but if she was sure, she was right. When people talk about “picking your battles” I always think of this aspect of my mom’s character. She knew when she was right, and when it was worth fighting over. It’s a lesson I’ll never forget.
Most of all, I miss my confidant. My mom was who helped me with all those things you can't trust anyone else with. My mom and I were always candid and honest about our lives to each other. She knew my problems, and I knew hers. Everyone has secrets, but we didn’t have many.
With a baby boy on the way, not having that person to help shoulder some of the anxiety has been challenging for me. I never realized how many questions went unasked until I had a pregnant wife and couldn't call her . With all the love pouring in from everyone (which is very appreciated) it’s just not the same as being able to hear her excitement and see my her face when I told her she would be a grandma again. I didn’t get to see her reaction to me having a boy or get to experience her blistering critique of our new apartment.
My mom made huge impacts on a lot of people's lives. She had a way of making you smile on your worst days, all while shouldering burdens few on earth knew of. Life knocked my mom down a few times, but everyone who knew her knew it never kept her down. She was stubborn and annoyingly hopeful and optimistic. Through great effort, my memory of her remains the bubbly, dancing lunatic that didn’t know how to do anything but have a good time. She was vibrant and full of life, love, and happiness. She was infectious. The world got a little darker when she passed away. But I try everyday to regain some of her light.
In Judaism there is something called Yahrzeit. In one sense, it’s simply the anniversary of the death of a loved one. But many Jews believe that on Yahrzeit the soul is permitted to return to our plane to check in on the living. It’s customary to keep a candle lit as much of that 24 hour period as possible to help guide the souls back to their family. It’s also customary to leave things they enjoyed on the table as a sign of love and respect. I left my mom an almond chocolate bar (one of her favorite things.) If by some miracle any part of her consciousness could come back, it would be this day. So I chose to post this today, because she’s closer than ever, and I hope she can see the impact she’s had on my life and many others. I hope by some loophole of nature she can read this and know the great things happening in my life. I hope she knows I miss her and I love her. But at the same time. I want her soul to rest easy. Life isn’t so serious. None of us survive it after all. In the blink of an eye, everyone will be together again.
So I’m going to try and stop crying over what I’ve lost for the rest of this beautifully magical day, and I’m going to start trying to be happy about what she gave the world in her 52 years on earth, because she gave a lot.
I love you Mama. Until we talk again.