We got up early, like every other weekday. There were teeth to brush and tangles in hair that had to be combed. We needed a quick breakfast, so, we sliced up some apples and had eggs. Luisa went off to work and I took the kids downtown for their dentist appointments. While Miguel had his teeth cleaned, Zeca and I sat in the waiting room and cuddled and poked each other until we both laughed. We tried to keep it to a low roar. Then, Zeca had x-rays and went in for her cleaning and I sat with Miguel while he played brick breaker on my blackberry and gave me a running commentary of the challenges of each level. When that was done, we headed back towards the car, stopping first at Amy's Confections - our special treat when we spend time downtown. We are home now and the kids are playing in their rooms. We'll have lunch. There might be a movie. Luisa will come home and we'll have dinner before heading to soccer tryouts. Then, we'll come home and put on pajamas, brush teeth again, read and tuck them into bed. We'll likely sit and chat, catching up after having been apart for the past few days, and then head to bed ourselves. This is simply another day and, yet, it is slightly more complicated than that too because it is also the first anniversary of my mother's death. I don't feel sad, not today. There are times I do, though, like when the kids do or say something that I know would have made her laugh or I am working on a new project that would have interested her. I think of her when I am sitting in the car, surveying the gum wrappers and smashed goldfish and when I look at the weeds in the garden and I laugh because these things would have horrified her and she would have lectured me on my "misplaced priorities". Mostly, it's strange - this life without my mother. There are times when I feel uncertain, times when I have questions I know she could have answered and...I have never felt so free. Sure, I have a great deal of responsibility and I have my friends and family to consider as I go through life but it is different. I am free from judgement. I've been relieved of my duty to please and, though it's hard to admit, sometimes that feels very good. I miss her but she comes to me in glimpses. I remember her laugh, the way she cracked her gum when she smiled and things she said to me. I see more of her in myself than I used to...the eyes, certain gestures, my hands. I notice...and move on.
Today is just another day but days like these prove that despite loss, life really does go on. We grieve and, as time passes, our memories become monuments to the ones we've lost. We honor them in our living.