I can still hear her voice. The tone had a richness that is difficult to forget, her words were never rushed, and seldom uncontrolled. She never gave advice unless it was asked for, but when I did request it, I always grew wiser as a result.
Her laugh is still in my sensory memory too. She found humor in the antics of her grandchildren, or the family dogs. She would chuckle reading the words of Erma Bombeck, and delighted in sharing her favorite passages aloud. A good sitcom on TV, a tasteful joke, even a giggle at her own expense are moments I gratefully recall.
Her talents as a seamstress knew no bounds; from school dresses that were the envy of my friends, to a Snow White costume for Halloween, my first pair of bermuda shorts (every girl had to have a pair!), or a designer-style prom gown with yards and yards of organza accented with handmade silk flowers. My wardrobe, and later those of our children, contained examples of her giving expression.
Giving. It's a word I use frequently when I talk about her. She was never too tired or too busy to give whatever time was needed for her family, her friends, her church, or her employers. I still wonder how she managed it all, and, thinking back to my younger years, I feel somewhat guilty about all I asked of her. When you're a child, though, you always want your mother to be there for you - and mine always was.
Today marks the 92nd year since her birth. I would give anything if I could celebrate this day with a cake and a special dinner as I used to, and as she always did for all of us. But I haven't been able to do that for 16 years now. She left this earth way too soon - all the women in her family live long and active lives (her mother survived her by five years and was almost 100).
I miss her every day. I talk to her picture that hangs on my study wall sometimes, when I just need to do that, and, in my mind, I can hear her reply. I hope that mental voice never fades. I know, because I believe in such things, that her presence is near. If only I could have her arms around me once again, though. That would be the best.
Tonight, I'll share a toast to her memory, recall a favorite moment, and likely shed a tear or two, as I whisper, "Happy Birthday, Mom". I know she'll hear it - and smile.