Twenty two years ago today I lost my mother to a sudden brain aneurysm. She was 46 at the time (which is kind of creepy now that I'm 43), and when she passed away I was 21. Anyone over 35 knows that 21 is still rather a young age in the grand scheme of things.
I still miss her terribly. She was a very outspoken and wonderful lady. She loved dirty jokes and enjoyed trying to embarrass me and my friends when we would gather in our basement to play our role playing games. The one that sticks in my mind the most was the evening we were playing a James Bond game. Mom came downstairs to finish a load of laundry and one of my friends asked her if she'd like to join us.
"No thanks, I'm not a fan of dragons." She said, believing we were playing our usual Dungeons and Dragons game.
"We're not playing that. We're playing a James Bond role playing game." My female friend replied.
"Oh, well in that case I'll play if I can be Pussy Galore." She said with a twinkle in her eye and a mischievous grin on her face.
"OH MY GOD!" Two of my friends blurted out and we all broke down laughing. She loved that kind of shock humor.
After my father's heart attack he quit smoking and my mother decided to as well. By then, I was smoking and I was allowed only to smoke in the basement. Not long after my father got better and went back to work (he worked midnights), my mother would pack his lunch, kiss him goodbye, and sneak downstairs to join me. It was our little secret. In fact, if we heard my sister get up and walk around, she'd shove the cigarette between my fingers in case she came downstairs. We had some great talks at that time of night. By then our relationship had evolved into the next phase. Though she was still my mother, our conversations were now adult oriented and the concept of the occasional swear word was acceptable (something it would never be with my father - for either of us.)
I have a huge amount of wonderful memories of mom, but I always fall back on one that brings me the most warmth. Anytime I was standing near her, or sitting at our kitchen table, she always put her hands on my shoulders while talking to me. Or if standing, she'd always come up behind him and drape her arms around my neck from behind while talking to me or whoever was with us.
I always get very melancholy during this time in September; wishing that I could have seen her with the grand kids that she never got to meet. I would have loved to have seen her tease Chandler mercilessly. I know she would have really connected with Laverne and Shirley as well. There's a lot of things I wish at this time of the month, but mostly I just wish I could feel her put those hands reassuringly on my shoulders one more time.