Tuesday, September 14, 2004

How I spent my summer

I haven't posted here in a long while - life's been busy. Over the summer, we took some trips, Will's started day-care, I'm working more, I'm pregnant again, our cat Cassatt died, we bought a mini-van, we've flirted with the idea of buying a new house, I'm coming to the realization that I'm depressed again. Holy crap. Bring it on, life.

Also, July 8th marked a year since my Mom died. The actual day (is it an anniversary? there really isn't a word for it) passed well - I lit a candle for her at home, and otherwise spent the day with Will, which was great. I'd been tense during much of the month of June about how I was going to feel about a year passing since she died. Over the past year, I'd found that I didn't always feel the loss of her when I expected to (i.e., her birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday); but instead about a week later I'd have my meltdown. That didn't happen with the anniversary of her death, though. It has felt more like a relief to get over that year mark and more like I can maybe get on with my life now, whatever that is.

I've been realizing that it's also been a relief not to worry about her all the time. After being diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in May 1995, she'd had a stroke that November. The stroke changed her personality significantly, and left her with some other disabilities as well, none of which she wanted to admit. She lived alone, 4 hours away from me. I was an only child, as was she, so there was no one else in the family (except for Tom) to help out when things got tough. She had a lot of great friends, but ultimately in the end it was always just up to me to deal with whatever came up, which was very overwhelming at times. She often had great insight into other people, but could be kind of a train-wreck of a person. She was very funny and well-read, and charming as all get out, which allowed her to get away with a lot of things, not always to her benefit. She also loved me intensely.

I've missed her the most when reflecting on my current experience as a new parent this year. Especially when I wanted to know more about things from my own childhood, or what things were like for her as a new and young mom. My Dad just doesn't know a lot about what happened when I was small - like many men of that generation, he just wasn't around in one way or another. I often think about my Mom at my age - divorced, single mom of a 10 year old, just finished graduate school, moved to a new town where she didn't know a soul - and wonder how she did it. Actually, I know how she did it - pluck, a hard head, fear, determination, and a lot of alcohol. I got a fair of amount of those characteristics myself, which is a help & a hidrance at times.

For my birthday this year, a cousin sent a CD with a copy of an old home movie of me & him at about 18 months old. Our family didn't do home movies, so it was amazing for me to see my little wobbly self playing on a slide I remember clearly. But what I cherish the most are the images of my young beautiful Mom playing with me.


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