Today is the fiftieth anniversary of her death.
I remember the day as if it were yesterday.
Certain important events get extra space in our brains – at least that’s my non-neuroscience theory.
I can still see my father’s grief, the way he leaned against the back of a chair in the dining room to steady himself when the hospital called with the news that she’d passed.
This woman was so very dear to us.
Hers was not an easy life.
Her husband died leaving her with a young son to raise by herself. There was no life insurance to fall back on. She was a woman alone in the early part of the twentieth century, which had to be scary as hell. From the vantage point of my rather entitled lifestyle in 2012, I am awed at how she survived.
And survive she did.
My sisters and I loved her beyond measure.
She made intricate, wonderful doll clothes for us.
She told stories that held our attention for hours.
She was an extraordinary cook. My recipe box still holds many recipes straight from her. One of her specialties was making candy at Christmas. She made divinity, penuche, fudge and something called “mocho cakes” which were like large versions of petit fours. Sort of.
She also made dinner rolls that could make a grown man cry with delight. I’ve never been able to replicate them.
But at the top of the list as far as I’m concerned is that she was the most unconditionally loving person I’ve ever known. She wrapped her heart around her family and friends and never stopped loving us.
No matter what we did.
She’s been my role model for strength in the face of adversity and love. I can’t think of a better example.
And now fifty years have passed since I’ve seen her, heard her stories, felt her loving touch.
And yet, she’s as alive as ever in my heart.
Guiding me, loving me, and urging me to give those dinner rolls another try.
I expect you have that special someone in your heart, your memory.
If they are still living, don’t waste another moment. Spend as much time with them as you possibly can.
And if they’re no longer living, be ever so grateful that they touched your life.