When I was fourteen, my mom died of complications following brain tumor surgery. She was only forty-one.
We'd been living in Sacramento so my brother and I could attend the schools we'd been in before we'd moved to the Philippines (Dad was in the Navy). Curiously, after the two years away, both of us ended up having drifted away from our old friends, and we made new ones.My dad had been commuting to Sacramento on the weekends since he was stationed on Treasure Island in San Francisco. He'd been on the waiting list for housing for months. When my mom's symptoms got so bad she was admitted to the naval hospital in Oakland, he'd decided he couldn't have his kids 90 miles away from where his wife was.
After leaving her in the hospital, he checked with housing on base, picked up keys, and drove to our home in Sacramento. He said, "Pack up kids. We're moving."
And we did. While Dad and my older brother (who was a senior) handled the heavy stuff, my 6-year-old sister and I packed the kitchen drawers into paper grocery bags. It's was a mad day. And the next morning, with my brother driving our car, and my dad in the moving truck, we began a new life.
One that didn't include our mom. She never left the hospital. My brother had remained in Sacramento to finish the last couple ten days of high school. Mom died on June 7th, and her funeral was on the 10th. We drove from it to Sacramento for my brother's high school graduation.
The thing I remember most about my mom was her sense of humor. She could see the ridiculousness of things that happened and could laugh about it. She had a temper, yes, but she'd get over it quickly. And she loved us all fiercely.
I missed her on my wedding day. And when I was having my first child while stationed in Germany with my husband. I missed the comfort she'd have given when I lost my husband a few years later. I'm sad that my children never got to meet her.
At least not on this side. But I'm a believer in Heaven, and that, when it's my time to go, there's going to be a sweet, sweet family reunion.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!