Even though you have been gone for six years, I sometimes feel you are near.
It boggles my mind to consider all we didn�t talk about in our 52 years together. There are so many things I wish I had asked.
Did you actually fall in love with Dad or did your family think it was a good idea to marry him in a match-making sort of way?
What was your original Italian name � the one your parents gave you before the nuns in elementary school changed it to something they could pronounce, like Lillian?
Your favorite color was sage green, which I thought matched your eyes. What were your favorite fabrics? Mine are polyester and wool.
Remember when you�d place a wool scarf on your arthritic shoulder? You said it helped chase the pain away. I do that now, too.
I still make your spaghetti sauce and pasta fagioli, but those are the only recipes I have. If only I knew how to make your meatloaf, your stuffed peppers and your coconut cream pie.
Over the years, you were a mentor to many young women. Besides telling them to trust God, what other advice did you give them?
Remember our daily jaunts? The littlest � either Anita or Eli � in the stroller and the rest of our brood tagging along at your side. I marvel at how you�d run errands with all six of us in tow. How did you manage?
I always thought we walked everywhere because you loved the outdoors, like I do. Later, I realized it was because we were a one-car family and Dad was on the road.
Why didn�t you tell me about losing the house and everything in it to bankruptcy? I would have been there for you.
So much has happened in the six years since you passed away. The kids are doing fine. Our granddaughter, Gracie, is 14. She still refers to you as �Old Grandma.� And, we have a new grandson, Oliver. You would love holding him.
Dad didn�t last long after you were gone. Even though we called him daily, sometimes more, he sunk into melancholy. He was so lonely; it really didn�t seem to matter what we did or said. Seventeen months later he died.
From time-to-time, you visit me in my dreams, and we�re together again. I know better, but I want to arbitrate your return. I wish I could convince God that your death was a mistake and you are needed here.
Funny how I still reach for Mother�s Day cards at the store. I stop and look, as though in a time warp, then wander by, feeling the sting of your absence.
Today, I came home from church smelling like other women�s perfumes from all the �so good to see you� hugs we exchanged. It reminded me of your lovely fragrance that would carry me home after our visits.
One of your sweaters is tightly sealed in a zip-lock bag I keep tucked away in the closet of the spare bedroom. Every once in a while, I take it out, hold it close and reminisce. Why is it that I never expect the tears to come, but they do?
Mom, when I close my eyes, I can see your beautiful face�I can feel your soft cheek against mine. There are so many things I want to ask you.
Wish you were here�
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula
Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won
first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South
Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota
Press Women Communications Contest, her columns took five first-place
awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamonpaula@gmail, follow her blog at
my-story-your-story.blogspot.com and find her on FaceBook.
2011 � Copyright Paula Damon.