I contemplated not cheapening my pain by talking about this in a blog. So I decided not to say anything unless I could really do her justice.
Dylan Thomas wrote "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" as a tribute to his father, who was dying. I didn't get to ponder losing my mother. She was just gone. And I have nothing dramatic to say - our last conversation was the night before she died and it was pleasant, nondescript and ended with the typical "Love you, Mommy," "Love you, Meggie."
My mother memorized poetry. On a cold, cloudy and windy night like this, she would have quoted "The Highwayman" and said, "The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas." She was the kind of woman who read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy to her kids when they were eight-years old because she thought it was a lot more interesting than any children's book. She knew all the words to the operas Tosca and Aida (in Italian, naturally). And anytime you went up in a bet with her about some esoteric historical fact, you had to be ready to lose. Because you would.
Of course, she was also the woman who called me from her vacation last September to discuss the latest Harry Potter book. "I don't think Snape is really evil," she said in her cute little voice. She cried at Extreme Home Makeover. She was the greatest judge of human character that I will ever know. And everyone who met her loved her. She once got a card from a co-worker that read, "Merry Christmas to the woman who embodies the Christmas spirit year round." That was my mother.
I cannot halt the dying of the light, I can only stop my own loss of memory. I missed my chance to write a beautiful poem encouraging my mother to fight mortality, so I must settle for remembering and chronicling what I can. There are days when I hold my head in my hands and am crushed with how much I miss her. But I am how she made me. So I breathe in and out, get up, and go on.