I miss my Mom. I still catch myself wanting to tell her something and for a split second, forgetting that she’s gone. Some days this doesn’t happen and if I’m being honest, it scares me more than the disbelief at her absence. I’m adjusting to her death. And that, though probably healthy, is a hard reality.

I remember so much: the way she greeted me when I walked in a room, her laugh, the smell of her hair, the way she could listen. I can still picture her peeling too many potatoes for our family gatherings because she always worried there wouldn’t be enough (there were leftovers every time). Whenever stacks of mail or artwork or important papers accumulate, I call it a “meaningful pile” in my Mom’s honour.

Sometimes what I most miss are the seemingly mundane moments that were actually very intimate: cutting her bangs, folding her laundry, re-arranging the treasures on her windowsill. I recently stumbled upon an email she sent reminding me to check the red file she kept at her bedside. I could immediately picture it and found myself longing to check it one more time.

My Mom’s grandchildren are growing up. I hate that she isn’t here to be a part of it all. After her death, I went through Mom’s photo stream on her I-Pad. The majority of it was Cate, Oliver, Harrison and Teagan. She loved being Gran to them.

I have faith that my Mom is not really gone and now whole in a way I can’t even comprehend. She worked to live her life well, and near the end, was justifiably weary. I even got to join with our family in journeying alongside her right to the end. All of that matters, and…death sucks. I would like to get up right now, walk down the street, around the corner and into my Mom’s room to be greeted with, “hi sweetie, it’s so good to see you”.

May brings with it my birthday, Mother’s Day, and the anniversary of my Mom’s death. It’s a complicated time. I am thrilled that spring has arrived, I feel fortunate to have lived another year, I love that I get to mother Cate, I celebrate having a step-mother in Susan and a mother-in-law in Beatrice, and I relish in the gift of my mother, Elaine. I also grieve passionately.

My Mom used to acknowledge that while she had experienced much suffering, her identity wasn’t “sufferer”. I found her ability to persevere astonishing. She found so much joy in her faith, friendships, and family. I would like to talk with her more about all of that: how did she do it? She would probably say, “oh Erinn, I don’t know how except for grace”. This Mother’s Day, no every day, I choose to remember that.

Grace upon grace upon grace.

Here is a reminder of my Mom’s gratitude, in her own words.