My mother died 20 years ago today. She was 72. I was 30. My daughter was 3.
I was happy that my mother got to know my daughter, even if it was only for 3 years.
Unfortunately, my daughter has no memory of my mother except that she took a lot of pills, which was true at the end of her life. She had always been a healthy woman, very active, ate well — a health nut, really. Then she was struck down by cancer and lived just 7 months after the diagnosis: “cancer of unknown origin.” By the time the doctors found it, the cancer had spread from wherever it started all the way to the sac around her heart.
She went through chemo for three or four months, which we all knew was pointless. But she and my dad wanted to try, anyway. I was glad that by the time she died, her beautiful hair had grown back in.
The day she died, when I came home from the hospital I went into her room and looked through her dresser. In the jewelry drawer, I found a Ziploc bag filled with all the hair she had lost.
I went to her closet and took out one of her favorite outfits and laid it out on the bed. Then I put it on. I couldn’t bear to see it so lifeless.
I miss my mother every day. But I am extremely thankful that she saw me leave my horrific marriage. She knew that my daughter and I would be OK.