Sunday, October 14, 2018


It seemed rather sudden, but one day, the daily high wasn't over 95 degrees, and then, there was even a tiny bit of rain. Now, we are hovering at an average high of 80-85, with cool nights and daytime breezes.

Autumn is here.

I've always loved this time of year. Mom did, too. A recurring theme of our conversations at this time of year was, "I love this cooler weather!" and "I feel like making soup." We shared a deep dislike of the hotter weather, and relished the time we could open our windows and let fall into our homes.

I suppose maybe that's why this past week, in particular, has been one of high emotion. Mom loved this time of year so very much, and now she's not here to enjoy it. I'm glad she's not suffering anymore, but damn, I wish she had gotten more time. I wish cancer had never happened to her. I wish, I wish, I wish.

If wishes were fishes, and all of that.

I'm doing my best to enjoy autumn for both of us. I have a vanilla bourbon candle going and I'm making potato soup. My windows are wide open and I put out my favorite fall decorations. I happily step on dried leaves on the ground, relishing the crunch they make. Yet with ever stomp, every batch of soup, every glance up at the tree across from my parking spot, which is on fire with fall color, I miss my mom.

I'm told that the firsts are the hardest, that it gets better year to year--if not better, than at least less overwhelming. On a day-to-day basis, I'm actually quite fine. Perhaps I'm a little more easily distracted, a little more introverted. But I'm okay. Work keeps me so busy I can barely process how much I miss her...but the evenings aren't always so easy.

Dad and I still hear from people who tell us they miss her, and her smile. How good and kind she was. It's comforting to know we're not alone in this. I recently sold some of my Etsy goods at the Lincoln Woman's Club home tour sale--something I did a year ago, with Mom helping me out. She was a member, and her friends hoped I'd come again this year. Mary, a good friend of Mom's, looked at a picture I had of Mom on my table at the sale. "You have no idea how much I miss her," she said, with a sad smile.

"Oh, I have some idea," I replied, with the same sad smile.

"Of course you do..." said Mary, giving my arm a squeeze.

One step forward, then another. We're closing in four months since she died--it seems like a long time, and then it seems like yesterday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

One Year

A few weeks after Mom died, I found myself reading Us Against You by Fredrick Backman. If you haven't read his works, start with A Man Called Ove and work your way through from there. Mom and I read that one, as well as Britt-Marie Was Here, My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry, and Beartown, which Us Against You is a sequel to.

Backman is wonderful. Of course, I'm reading his works translated into English, but there is still so much charm and wittiness in his writing. It reads quickly, and there are moments of humor followed by moments that tear your heart open. Beartown and Us Against You are a bit less quirky and humor-filled than his other works, but still very, very readable and easy to get lost in.

But I digress. The point of this post is that Mom never got to read Us Against You. I mentioned having ordered a copy to her before she died, thinking she would eventually have her turn to read it--when she was feeling better. But she didn't feel better. And so it goes.

So I found myself reading it, a few weeks after, and one evening, I read the passage pictured below and it took my breath away.

It was like Backman had preemptively read my mind and written that line just for me.

What wouldn't I give for one more year? I miss my mom so terribly sometimes, and three months out, it still feels unreal that she's gone. How in the world is she gone?

She loved Fall, and I always have, too. I miss idly discussing how glad we are to see cooler temps and turning leaves.

One more year with her is what I got, from diagnosis/surgery to her death. And yet still, I wanted more. Another year. Another. I'm still reeling that I didn't get that. When I read this, it was like a gut-punch. What would a daughter give to have one more year with her mom?

"You're a tough little broad," she told me, two days before she died. Her way of reminding me that I could survive losing her. But I'd still give anything for one more year.