Gone 11 years ago, today.
And my sorrow for her continues in a palpable, if attenuated, way — although it’s taken a different shape more recently.
In my still relatively new experience with a more solitary life — since Maggie’s passing — I think about Mom a lot.
She quite simply was not the kind of person who should have been obliged, by circumstance, to live alone.
Heidi, for many years, did the best she could to give Mom a family life — and even a work life. I remember at one point she had business cards printed up for Mom with the title “Mother of the President.”
My own humble existence — buoyed up as it is by the internet, by various historical and work-related pursuits, by family, friends, and neighbors, and even by little Meistie’s semi-friendly relationship with me — seems a far cry from the isolation I know she felt. Even language posed, I came to learn, a considerable barrier for her. She didn’t understand more words than most of us in the family ever realized.
A truth — an unfortunate truth I will be buried with one day — is that if I had it to do over again, I’d have given her more of my time.
The moral of this anniversary reflection, then, is simply this: If you have a mother or father, or another loved one, who is struggling with the isolation of advancing age and lessening agency, then do more for that person now, while it’s still possible to make a difference.
Trite and syrupy advice, I know. But — in my case, at least — a hard-won lesson.