I LOVE this picture. One of my aunts gave it to me in the past year as they were working on cleaning my grandparents’ home. The woman in the rocking chair is my great-grandmother, the one standing on the left, my grandmother, and the woman in yellow is my mother. Me, I’m the little girl with the 80s hair and untroubled heart.
Last week I spent some time staring at this picture, thinking about each person in it. I don’t remember it being taken, though I know exactly where it was taken. My mother’s face stands out to me the most here. It was before her body was ravaged by the cancer treatments that would “save” her, would give her 10 more incalculably precious years of life. She is younger than I am now in that photo.
Once my dear friend said to me that I often commented on what my mother’s death had taught me, but I didn’t say a lot about what her life had taught me. One thing that comes to mind from this picture is that she loved fiercely and loyally. I’d like to think she passed that tendency on to me, and that I will pass it on to my children. She wasn’t blind to the faults of those she loved and it wasn’t that she didn’t become frustrated or angry because of those things. But if you needed her, oh how she gave her all, threw herself into projects to help those she loved, sometimes at her own expense.
As I make my way through this day I want to hold that thought of her in my head rather than what her death taught me. It feels like a much more fitting way to remember her on the anniversary of her death, by remembering a piece of her beautiful life.