July 25, 2016. Mom would have been 97 today. I’ve been thinking about her a lot. I know while I was responsible for her, 2002 - her death on Jan. 1, 2004, I tried very hard every single day to do it right. I knew after she died I would feel guilty no matter what I did but I tried every single day. Nowadays, I find I was right: I feel guilty anyway. But intellectually I know that her life was her own: she lived the consequences (and rewards) of her own choices, just like we all do. I found it hard to feel love for her, but I must have because it really hurt when she died. But that inner glow of love? Not so much felt.
But when I was a kid she could be a lot of fun. That was why so many people (including my friends) visited our house so frequently. She was the life of the party. And when there weren’t people visiting (okay, drinking - her adult friends I mean) we often had fun together. She gave me my love of reading, and of words. Some of my favorite times were when she was washing the dishes and I (grudgingly) was drying them (god I was an asshole kid; I resented having to do ANYTHING), out of sheer desperation I suspect, she would start word games: spelling, definitions, but especially the one where you say a word, the other person has to spell it - and then has to give you a word back that starts with the last letter of the first word. There was strategy involved! I loved it.
And I was in awe of her ability to rescue baby birds and squirrels and rabbits. No matter how young they were, seemingly she had it in hand.
I *think* we’d sometimes play two-person Rummy together. And maybe Scrabble. We weren’t hard-core Scrabble players, but our word games certainly enhanced Scrabble for us. But that wasn’t very frequent because I can’t actually *remember* these table games, I just have the feeling we played them.
She was also extremely kind and generous-hearted towards people having a hard time in life. She'd been a child of The Depression and that never left her. She'd help out down-and-outers and though she would complain if one occasionally ripped her off, it didn't stop her helping the next person on whom life was crapping.
Anyway, it’s a day to celebrate again those things she bequeathed me: love of reading, love of nature, love of humor. Those are mighty big things, and I can't imagine myself without them. Thank you, Mom. We both did our best.