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Hi, Mom

Grief is the price we pay for love.

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Hi Mom,

You’d normally be the first to read these posts, on this blog, that you always encouraged.  You used to read my interminable college essays on literary theory and tell me I had a ‘flair for writing’ even though I know they were mostly flowery gibberish.  

You’d comment here on these random musings and say “Great idea!” or “I’m going to try this recipe!”.  And you meant it.  

You’d be sitting on the couch in your spot next to the lamp, with your glasses perched on the edge of your nose, coffee by your side, chewing the inside of your cheek as you read.  I’d tease you and ask if you’d like a little coffee with your half and half.  

“That’s enough out of you, Marge.”  My nickname, along with HeatherFeather.  Come to think of it, no one else here calls me those.  They now echo in my mind in our ongoing conversations.  

I still have your voicemails.  “Hey honey, just calling to say hi.  I’m going to put a load of laundry in and I’m just here putzing around, so give me a call back when you get a chance, ok?  Love you.” I love you, too.

Laundry.  I can’t wash that shirt with the flowers on it because it still smells like you.  Like powder and softness and home.  

This will not be an elegant piece.  I have been afraid to write because words are failing me.  They can’t begin to express the piercing, pervasive sense of loss that intrudes upon each day.  Maybe they can begin the task, but I don’t think they’ll be able to find the bottom of this grief.  

Mom, for the chicken and dumplings, it’s flour, salt, pepper, water, but do you put an egg in the dough?  I stand at the counter, spoon in hand, not comprehending the notion that I can no longer call you to ask you, even though I’ve seen you make it dozens of times and I should know.  How did I never write it down?  

I call my niece and she knows.  MomMom walked her through it a few months ago, when she made it for the first time.  We cry.  We share.  We help each other up.  

And I am reminded that she is here.  In my sips of coffee, in the spices in the meatballs, in the pages of my books.  She is here in the way I hug my kids and the laughs I have with my siblings.  In the reruns of that old sitcom.  In the heartbreaking tenderness of my dad’s devotion.

I take a deep breath.  

I’m not quite sure how to do this without you, Mom.  But I can still hear you.  And I’m listening.

What do girls do who haven't any mothers to help them through their troubles?

- Louisa May Alcott

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