Today is the second anniversary of my mother's death. When I realized it last night, after friends had left from having dinner, I sat for a moment. I wasn't sure how that made me feel.
Today, sifting through the pieces, I feel good.
She doesn't haunt me anymore. Her voice on edge is almost gone from my head. Now it's more of a whisper. A gentle one.
I think fondly of all the good times. The bad well... they're over now. She can't hurt me again unless I use her voice to hurt myself. I don't much anymore.
I don't miss her anymore. While I've worked hard to heal the wounds we both inflicted on each other, I know better. There was little of her left. The woman who walked with me at night on Myrtle Beach for hours was long gone. The playful grandmother who draped her fur coat over Zachary's two year old shoulders hadn't moved from a chair in a smoke filled room for well over a year.
It was over by the time she died.
I don't like thinking of her on the day she died. It is too close to all the pain at the end. I want to remember her, celebrate her on her birthday. Think of her in Dan's garden, having dinner with Pearl on her birthday, the summer night warm. Or of how much she appreciated our Ogunquit house, having lent us the money to buy it, she felt an ownership in it.
I'm off to a soccer game- the second of the day. Jake has a birthday party sleepover, and Zachary will, I am certain, find his best pal to hang out with later. Ben... well, he's in deep doo doo, so he'll hang with us tonight. A year ago, I ached to dial the phone and tell my mother the highlights of the day. How much fun it is to coach Jake's team. The frustration of raising a teenager. The extraordinary way Zachary fits into being a classic middle child.
I hold those things with the friends who were here last night. I share them with my family of choice.
I don't need approval anymore.
And that feels good.