It's been three years since my mom died and I'm still figuring out how to be a whole person. In those three years I met someone, fell in love, fell out of love with photography, fell hard back in love with it, got pregnant and had a son. All without my mother.
She was beautiful as all mothers are. Mine had an earthy grace and it always seemed that everyone had a crush on her. Her friends ran the gamut from hippie environmentalists to CEO's, from senators to her favorite people of all, gardeners. She was a storm of knowledge and was always in motion while still being at ease. I joked that if she ever had a spare five minutes she would paint the basement. She made everywhere we lived beautiful. She took the hard edges off of everything.
She was strong and powerful and yet feminine at the same time. I remember her speaking to my small business class in junior high and being horrified that I could see boys staring at her legs. But when she starting speaking that all stopped - everyone listened.
Not that she didn't have flaws. She would hide out emotionally and was totally insane when it came to her love life. She loved big and selfishly and maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. When I was in my twenties I came to her and aired my grievances about the things in my childhood that were suddenly not sitting right. She listened to what I had to say, and then she told me what was happening in HER life during those times, and that she did the best that she could. No apologies, which as it turned out was what I wanted. I think we don't long for apologies as much as explanations.
To say we were close wouldn't describe our relationship. I have three sisters and a brother and they were all close to her. I think she needed my older sister more than anyone. Our relationship was more about a deep mutual recognition. I'd often pick up the phone to call her to find her already on the line. She was my sounding board and I was hers. She was my biggest fan.
I quickly realized when she died how much I needed her to get through even one day. It felt as though I'd actually let part of my brain atrophy because she was always there with the answers. I felt lost without her perspective. Now I talk to my man, my father, my siblings, my friends. I miss her voice but welcome the others.
Its been three years. three huge years. and I'm finally learning how to be me without her.