It has been ten months since my mom passed away. Of course, dealing with that has been a journey; sometimes something reminds me of my mom and I laugh, or sometimes I get tears in my eyes, and I often miss her. That is all normal…..to be expected. Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror – especially when my hair is wet and slicked back away from my face – and I get a little freaked out because I look so much like her. Sometimes I just ruminate about my life with her, the moments we’ve shared, etc.
I have been traveling to Kentucky for work lately, and I never expected it to create such a stir with memories about my mom…….I never thought it would create a serious of questions that I have no way to answer. My mom moved to Los Angeles when she was two years old and lived in California the bulk of her life. When she and my dad divorced in the early 90’s, she was working for her brothers. However, some were retiring and eventually the company was sold. I BELIEVE my mom lost her job at that point. Not sure what she was going to do to support herself, she and a friend she met at work moved to Kentucky, where her friend grew up. I was a young mother at that time, focused on taking care of baby Kirstie and making my own marriage and life work, so I wasn’t as involved in my mom’s life as I usually would be. I remember we exchanged letters during this time, and honestly she was pretty bitter about her divorce and I emotionally pulled away since I felt I was put in the middle of it. But, the bottom line is she moved away from everyone she knew, went to a place where she basically knew no one, and was on her own.
Being here, I wonder where she lived. I wonder what she thought about the green hills, the pictures of horses everywhere, did she like the Bourbon BBQ that is so prevalent here? She ended up getting a job at a Taco Bell out here, she really couldn’t find work (the economy was struggling at the time) and I wonder how the heck that felt. I wonder if she was scared, if she felt isolated. In one of her letters she mentioned that there was only one phone in the neighborhood she lived in and the owner would take messages for the neighbors and it was difficult to connect. She said she got a message that someone called her but they didn’t think to get a name, so she wondered if it was me. Reading that letter in my mind now and being in this state triggered so many things to wonder about.
And that led me to so many other questions. My mom was born in 1935 – she was alive during all years of WWII and was 10 years old when it ended. How did that impact her life? Did she and her family have rations during this time? Did she fear Germans at this time, when Germany was easily the targeted “enemy”? Was she ever scared that the war would come to California? Does she remember the Japanese Internment Camps and what did she think about them? And why the hell did I never think to ask her about this? I know SO MUCH about my paternal Grandma during the depression, even about her early marriage during this timeframe, but not my own mother? I have no idea why. And now I can’t even ask my mom.
So, here I am early in the morning blogging about it. I feel a connection to my mom here in Kentucky and that also seems strange. But I guess while I write this as a form of personal therapy, I also yearn to remind you something you probably will nod at but maybe not think about again – treasure the time you have with family. Don’t take it for granted. Inquire about life details that may not seem important really now and maybe even feels mundane, but are actually pieces of gold that will be lost forever if you miss the opportunity to ask.
And mom, I miss you.