Purposeful Parent Tip: Loved Ones Are Never Really Gone. Keep Their Memories Alive With Your Children.
Today marks the third anniversary of my mother’s passing. Three whole years. In this moment it feels like a hundred years ago that I said my final words to her. And even longer that I’ve felt her arms around me or her hands playing with my hair.
I have many reminders of my mom’s presence. While she was called “Pat” by everyone, her real name was “Hazel.” Not a common name so when I see it or hear it, my ears and eyes perk up. Shortly after her death, I kept asking her to send me a sign that she was ok. (Why I would think she wasn’t is beyond me.)
One morning, in my local paper, there was an ad for Stew Leonard’s, a grocery/dairy store in my town. In a section of the paper that I don’t normally read or even glance at was a picture of a boat with lots of people in it. The name of the boat was “Lady Hazel” and it was a shrimp boat. My mother loved shrimp. I knew at that moment, that not only was she perfectly fine, but she was enjoying one of her favorite foods ever.
The last time I saw this ad was the day before my son’s 14th birthday. A big smile came over his face when I showed him the picture. I told him that Grandma was wishing him a “Happy Birthday.”
My children and I talk of my mom often. I tell them stories of things she did when I was a child. I tell them how much I miss her. They speak of her hugs and how much they loved her. While it’s easy to let time go by without a mention of her name, when she does pop into my head and my children are present, I tell them about it. I want them to not only remember her but to know that it’s ok to talk about loved ones who’ve died. It’s their lives we want to remember, not their deaths.
So on this day, three years later, I celebrate the woman who gave the best hugs ever, who loved me no matter what poor decision I made, who I was blessed to have in my life as my children were, and who I still miss so much sometimes I can barely breathe.
Enjoy your shrimp cocktail Mom. We love you!