I miss my mother. I think of her every day. There are so many things I want to talk to her about. She had a unique sense of humor and I'll catch myself laughing at sights or phrases or stories that I know she'd so enjoy. So much of what I love in life came from her: gardening, swimming in the ocean, cooking, poems, English literature, art. I didn't inherit her talent for drawing and painting (although both my sisters did,) but I do have her love of art galleries and museums. So often I'll see an exhibit and think of her, and wish she were there to see the artist's work with me. She loved the beach, and I'm sure that's one reason I'm happiest with bare feet, walking along the tide line. We would spend summer days building sandcastles, finding shells and sea glass, swimming to the raft, crabbing at the end of the beach. Often she would sketch while my sisters and I played and swam; frequently we'd all be reading, covered with sunscreen, lost in our books.
When I grew up and moved to New York City, I'd take Amtrak to Old Saybrook CT nearly every weekend. My mother would meet the train, no matter what time it was; Sundays came too soon, and I'd never want to leave. The photo above (taken in 1988 or so) shows us at the train station, waiting for the train back to NY. I read her expression and know she wasn't ready for me to leave. The picture brings back that moment and many emotions.
She died way too young, after a long illness. After her death I was filled with memories of nurses and hospitals and the great sadness of losing her slowly. But time has passed, and you know what? I rarely think of her illness anymore. The gift of time has been that I remember my mother being young and healthy, painting nearly every day, writing every night. I remember watching Julia Child on Saturday afternoons, then cooking dinner together--sitting around the table at Hubbard's Point, enjoying the meal with my sister and her family, laughing and talking and feeling that it would last forever, that our family would go on forever.
I wrote about her in an essay called "Midnight Typing." It appears in the collection What My Mother Gave Me, edited by Elizabeth Benedict.