years upon years

April 14, 2003

Seventeen years ago.

I have to look this date up every year. I know it is in mid April. It is the day my mother passed away. It was the Monday before Easter that year. And it was a blessing, as she was suffering from the extensive pain of bone cancer. She was, as she had said, “Ready to go,” and she knew where she was going. But she left an empty space behind.

Seventeen years.  If you think back another seventeen years before that, our daughter was only two years old, and our son wasn’t born yet.

Seventeen years ago. So much happened in that intervening time. Our children married. Our grandchildren born. My husband and I retired and are growing old together.

While I ponder on the time that has passed, I have trouble realizing the amount of years gone by. I have recently been “cleaning out” (haven’t we all?) and I have uncovered and organized family pictures and other memorabilia.  So my parents are fresh on my mind.

In truth, they always are.

Today a redbird – two redbirds – hopped around on our deck and looked in the kitchen door at us as we ate our lunch. A visitor from heaven, as the old tales say?  If so, then I reply, “Hello, Mama! I’m thinking of you today.”

And I was cleaning out a bookshelf today, I came across this book I hadn’t thought of in years.  It was a gift from a friend when Mama died:

So many reminders. Happy memories to make me smile.

Maybe she is thinking of me, too.  “Love you, Mama!”





6 thoughts on “years upon years

  1. I like how you organized your thoughts through the separation of paragraphs. This was especially effective when you were talking about going back in time. I think by describing the past, you really develop how you are feeling today about remembering your mother. I’m glad you found comfort in the red birds and the memory of your mother. I lost my mother and it is these little connections that mean a lot.

  2. I love your title. Years upon years. I experience that looking back upon years every year at Easter time. My husband passed away on Good Friday years upon years ago. It’s been even more of those years that my father has been gone from this life. Fewer years have gone by since my mother died, but years upon years of memories still gather. Happy memories… I love the way you closed with that. Comforting and hopeful.

  3. carlambrown says:

    What a beautiful recollection from start to finish. Some of your shortest sentences are the most impactful, and I found them gripping from the inside out. You reminded me of what it was like to lose ones that I love. Ironically, I lost my grandmother to cancer – and in such a short time – we were so ill-prepared. She was diagnosed in October and passed in November. It was quite heartbreaking.

    I love how you capture the beauty of the significant moments you shared. Especially how you tied it to the other momentous occasions in your life. Thank you so much for sharing this slice with the world. In times like these, it feels that much more precious. ~Carla Michelle

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