Did I consider this celebration of her birth might be the last? Did I consider the photograph above might be the last of us as mother and daughter? No. In the moment those thoughts vanish. Gratefully.
This week thoughts of Mom consume me; her death like a raw edge all over again. I miss her embrace, her warm smell, her love. In those final months of her life, I often wondered if she recognized me as her daughter. Sometimes I would ask her when her face was blank, far off somewhere, consumed by another reality. She would say, "Yes, of course; you're Kitty." Nonetheless, I wondered about an erosion of our deep connection as mother and daughter. Her essence, her living soul and presence hidden and no longer. She died before she actually died.
Years ago at Christmas, she gave me a small, wrapped box with a gold bow and dangling heart. The gift was never to be opened; unwrapping the package would destroy its message and intent. Mom scoured catalogs for interesting, unusual gifts; I became the recipient of dozens. This one in particular speaks to my heart today, what would be her 94th Birthday were she alive.
The underside of the box contains the real message of the gift. It reads:
"This is a very special gift that you can never see, The reason it's so special is it's just for you and me.
Whenever you are lonely or ever feeling blue, you only have to hold the gift and know I think of you.
You never can unwrap it. Please leave the ribbon tied, Just hold the box close to your heart; it's filled with love inside."
I love you, Mom. I miss you so much today.