Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today is my moms' Angel Day. She passed away in our apartment, on the afternoon of Sunday, December 13th, 1987, with all her children gathered in the living room, laughing and baking banana bread. It was the first time in months that we were all together, the first time we'd found something to laugh about ... the first time she felt secure in leaving us.

My dad left when I was four and being the baby by eight years, that gave me a lot of time with my mom to myself. I was her baby and she was my Mommy. Until one day I got home from my week away at University, full of life and ideas and possibilities, and my mom looked up at me and said "Oh my goodness! You're all grown up!" She died about two months after that.

This picture was taken in the Spring of 1987,
shortly after my Mom's diagnoses with terminal liver cancer.

Oh how I wish I could take my growing up back! How I wouldn't have given up the classes, the boyfriends, the fun, for a little more time to be my Mommy's baby.

But I can't think of my moms' death without also thinking of my sister, Heather. My sister (eight years older than I) and I really had not gotten along since I became a teenager. It was more than a passing dislike. However, when my mom was dying, and choosing to die at home rather than at a hospital, we were required to set our differences aside in order to serve and care for our mother.

My sister would hold our mom and soothe her fears while I lay crying, alone, in my room. I would hold our moms hand and talk with her even though she didn't know who I was, while my sister ran from the room crying because mom had just called her by someone elses name. We discovered where I was weak, Heather was strong, and where she was weak, I was strong. Together we were wonderful and we cared for our mom through all the hard times that preceded her death.

I have missed my mom so over the last twenty years. She may have believed me to be grown up on that October day so long ago, but in truth I've done most of growing up since she has left. But oh how grateful I am for the gift of my sister. She is my rock, my friend, my family. I can't think of my mom without thinking of my sister; I lost the one but gained the other.

And so even in death, my mom was an angel to me, even then watching out for me. She didn't leave me alone, she left me with the dearest of friends who holds my heart in her hands. My sister.

Me & Heather,
on our trip to New York City

October 2006.