Dear Mom

Dear Mom, You've been dead a year today. You would have been 77 tomorrow. Either you're completely unaware of this, being dead and all, or you're kicking back a few next to the Everlasting Bocce Ball Court. I prefer to think you're relaxing by a pool somewhere, criticizing my hairstyle choices.

What an intense year it's been. I moved. Dad had surgery, three times. I got married in Hawaii. I wish Devon had known you before you got sick. You were a force of nature then. But I'm glad you got to meet at all. I remember the day he stood by your hospital bed and untangled your yarn. It was slow work, and you looked at him like you adored him. I would have liked more moments like that.

Dad asks for you often. He's not doing so well, and I think he's closer to you than he is to me now, but I'm doing my best. I visited him the other day, and he told me you were in the bedroom, wide awake. I looked toward the room and saw that the light was on. I'm not sure who's crazier: him for saying it or me for checking. Sometimes he knows you're dead. Other times, he thinks you're in the hospital and wants to know when you're coming home.

I miss you every day. I miss sticking my finger in your ear and you trying to hit me for it. I am strange, but then, so were you. I miss having someone tell me I'm too thin. I miss your potty mouth. I learned all the best words from you. I remember you chasing me around the house with the rolling pin when I lacked the wisdom to keep those words to myself. I miss your gravy (marinara sauce, for most people), lentil soup, broccoli and macaroni, and pretty much everything else you ever cooked.

I found a bottle of your perfume in the house, and I keep it by my desk. I can't wear it, because the scent is overpowering and would kill Devon, but smelling it makes me feel like you're here.

Gotta run. Keep an eye on dad, if you can tear yourself away from the pool. I could use a hand, too.

Love, Monica