One year ago today, I heard my mom’s voice for the last time. She wasn’t speaking too much that Sunday. She winked at me and slept a lot. My Godmother came to visit and it woke my Mom right up.
The two were like sisters. Mom was eight years younger than Aunt MaryJane. As first cousins, they lived together, shared a room together and shared a life. Together. And in the last few years of my mom’s life, they became closer than they ever had been. Almost like the years they spent raising their own families and living their own lives of marriage and mothering fell by the wayside and they fell back into one another.
So it was no surprise to me, that when my Godmother entered the room, my Mom’s eyes opened wide and she spoke. “MaryJane, what am I going to do?” she asked. They held hands and stared at each other. “I love you. I love you so much.” My mom told everyone that came to see her, “I love you, I love you so much.”
Those were the last words she spoke. Silence and winks followed, but her last words were of love. She died nearly two days later.
I haven’t hit that year mark yet. It’s two days away as I type. I don’t quite know how I will feel. Today was strange as I realized it was the last day I heard her voice. Tomorrow will be the last full day she was alive on this Earth. And then.
This year has simultaneously flown by and dragged on. It’s been filled with pain and crippling grief and filled with joy and laughter and celebration. I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Of course there is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do to have my mom back with me, in my kitchen, hearing her voice. Hearing her say, out loud, “I love you. I love you so much.”
But when I’m still, I can hear her voice in my heart. That’s where we carry love and memories, right? Not so much in our heads, but in the deepest part of our hearts. When I am still and quiet and listen, I hear her say my name. I hear her laugh as if she’s sitting right here next to me in the arm chair she claimed as her own.
It’s not the same, but it will have to do. I will rely on my heart to speak to me on her behalf, in her voice. Her sweet and comforting voice always saying, ‘I love you. I love you so much.”