i almost forgot. but then, on the way home from a late yoga class, crossing the street admiring the barren trees casting shadows on the sidewalk everything flooded back. i remembered it was this night.
i wish i could tell my friends, those who are just now experiencing the loss of a parent that every year gets easier, but that would be a lie. it doesn’t feel right to say such things; that’s not quite how it goes. as we get older time dulls the pain, it feels less raw. and every year that passes brings a different shade to the melancholia.
whether we like it or not, time marches on.
it’s been 18 years for me. when she first passed, i could not imagine making it through 18 days let alone 18 years. 18 years is a lifetime: from child to adult, old enough to vote and make your own decisions.
i sometimes think about what it would be like if i had chosen a different life one that included children. one of them might be close to that age now. instead, i’ve had cats, and i’ve cultivated a group of close-knit friends, who I know would have loved her (like they love me). i wish they had met her, had known my mom.
just like i wish my brother’s children, my nieces and nephew had known her; it pains me to think that they’ll never know their grandmother, either. they’ll never hear her laugh or receive chocolate chip cookies in care packages while away at school. they’ll never lean over her shoulder as she pencils in crossword puzzles, discovering her curlicue doodles in the margins. they’ll never reach for her hand while beachcombing by the sea, or feel her warm, welcoming embrace. all the things that i miss every. single. day.
this year mom would have been 89. if dad had lived, he would be 93. when i was younger, i had high hopes that they would be alive to see all that i would accomplish. i think about all those moments now, all the moments yet to come … in my soul, i know she was there through it all, that they have always been there, that they are here now.
it’s in those moments that i feel the most despair. i can feel my heart sink, the sucker punch to my gut, the tears welling up. i would give anything to hear their voices and hug them one more time. it’s all i will ever want, to hold them fiercely close, to listen to her heartbeat and feel it thumping against mine.
In memoriam: Lucia Adelaide Barca Preziotti (b. 9/19/28 – d. 1/23/00)