Wednesday, July 25, 2012


My First Photo
I love old photos. The originals. The ones with mom's tiny, perfect handwriting on the back. The ones with the date printed right there on the side. This one says Aug. 71 on the side so I was less than a week old. On the back, mom simply wrote, "My First Photo." There are hundreds more photos, most with her writing on them, detailing moments of my life.

She didn't keep a journal. By the time I went away to college, it was much easier to call than write so I have only one letter. The writing on the photos is what I have left of her voice. I'm left to imagine what it sounded like.

I'd venture a guess that July 25 was probably the day of her life when I talked to her most. It was her birthday. Today she would be 68. I was there for at least 18 of those. I'm sure I called her on 21 more to sing happy birthday. If I imagine hard enough, I can hear her laugh. My singing always made her laugh.

The day she died, I accidentally dialed her on my cell phone as I walked into the house. I hung up before it rang, thinking I'd call her later. She was already gone. Someone was already on the way to my house to tell me. It was only a few minutes later that I was curled in a ball on a friend's kitchen floor, hysterical, trying to figure out how to take my first breath without her. It seems odd that I could live miles away from her for over 20 years and still feel her absence so severely all in one brief moment.  It was as if I felt her get immediately sucked out of my life and for a few brief moments I had to cling to myself to make sure I didn't lose a little bit of me too. And who am I do say that I didn't? Can you really be exactly the same when someone who profoundly affected your life is suddenly gone?

Although I'm left to imagine her voice, thankfully I actually know the last thing she said to me. It was either "I love you," or "I love you, too." This is how we always left it, even on her birthday. 


  1. lovely. Beautifully written. Sending you a hug!

  2. If I had words, I'd say something. All I've got is this: you said it so perfectly, so beautifully.