10 Years

10 years.

It’s been 10 years since my last Mother’s Day with my mother. It was a poignant day, as we both knew she was dying.

Sometime in April, her doctor called to say the chest X-ray showed a tumor on her lung. Maybe more than one; I don’t recall. 86 years old, she decided not to pursue treatment — surgery, chemo, or radiation — that would likely deplete her energy and reduce the quality of the remaining time she had.

I flew to Reno to spend Mother’s Day with her. We went to church, the first and only time I visited the small Baptist fellowship she faithfully attended. After, we lunched at Marie Callender’s. I don’t remember much else, except for the photo I took of her when we returned to her house, which I still considered home.


10 years later, her gaze still bores through me, as it did that day, expressing her equanimity facing the end of life. She was independent and strong, with a deep and abiding faith in her God, a satisfaction with her life — all the challenges notwithstanding.

I miss you, mom. Much has happened since you’ve departed, much that would fuel our endless emails and conversations. You have not been here to see your grandchildren pass through adolescence to become young adults. I wish you could have a conversation with each of them, listen to their dreams, and share your own life experience.

Robert Frost admonished us that life goes on. We do go on. Yet we can never truly fill the voids or heal the scars from the losses. Mother’s Day is a bittersweet reminder: a day of gratitude for all you did to build the foundation of my life, and a day of sadness that I can only touch you through the memories and distant echoes of your voice.

Send to Kindle