It will be 26 years on May 20 that I lost my mother. She passed away about three days before I turned 17. She has weighed heavily on my mind this year as the anniversary of her passing comes.
I think about the “what ifs” had she lived to see me graduate high school, college, get married, have children, all those milestones in a woman’s life. I don’t dwell on them, but I sometimes wonder what she would say or do in certain situations.
After a period of time, people may say they forget a person’s voice or the contours of a loved one’s face. That holds true for me too, but not with my mom. I remember everything, from the shape of her hands to her warm, brown eyes.
In all the memories I have of her, I remember her laugh and her smile the most. I remember the little things too – the way she would laugh when people asked if we were sisters, or the way she tilted her head back and closed her eyes when contemplating life.
As many moms and daughters do, we shared clothes and makeup and shoes. We talked about the future and what we both wanted out of life. (My parents divorced many years earlier.) She talked about the life she wanted for me, and although we differed on that to some extent, I know she would be proud of the person I am today.
She would be proud of our family.
While writing about Mother’s Day, I also have to write about my mother-in-law. She has been like a second mother to me for more than 20 years. She has nursed me back to health, been there for me in the most important events in my life and guided me when times got tough.
She has always been there in good times too. Don’t let us sit down for an afternoon to play a few games of cards. My dining room becomes a war zone!
She loves to do crafts, such as crocheting or quilting. She taught me how to quilt, and I love it. It is an art, for sure. My mother-in-law is one special lady, and I hope she knows just how much I love her.
While my mom may be gone, I cherish the 17 years I got to spend with her, and I will always remember the life lessons she taught me. I will remember her smile and her laugh. I will remember how much she loved me.
I have raised two boys, and I can only hope that some of those same life lessons she taught me have been instilled into them. As my mother-in-law has helped build on those life lessons, I take those with heart too.
So to all our moms, I say a heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day.
Michelle Bates is a reporter at the Minden Press-Herald. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org