Mom died one year ago this month.
Sometimes it seems like it has been a century and sometimes it feels like I spoke to her yesterday. In a way I did, since her voice still comes to me at times. Yesterday, I read an article on going grey and thought about whether I want to use the bottle of "Dark Ash Brown" Clairol in the bathroom. I thought about my mother saying, "It's time for me to get into a fight with Miss Clairol," as she pulled out the old, stained towel and bottle of dye. I thought about her going grey, then about her hair thinning as she got sicker. I think I'll keep fighting with Miss Clairol for a little while longer.
So much has happened this last year. A new baby was born. Mom would have been so thrilled to hold the son of her grandson. She loved babies. Not changing diapers, but holding the babies and talking to them. As her grandchildren got older, she loved spending time with them, inviting them over every weekend, until I had to tell her I'd like to spend time with my kids. She said I could come over too.
A woman, one of her best friends, was elected chair of the SC Democratic Party. Mom ran for chair years ago, but the old white men weren't ready for it, even the ones who call themselves progressive, even the ones who accepted her support, hard work, and advice in the past. That experience hardened her, made her more cynical, but she still loved the Democratic Party. And she would be proud of Carol for becoming chair, and proud of the party for electing her.
We bought a new house. Every time I looked at a house, I thought about what Mom would have said about it. As I decorate, using some of her furniture, I think of her taste and style. I have my own style, but it is linked to her. For instance, I will think long and hard before I paint woodwork anything but white.
I am asserting myself professionally. She would encourage me to do that. I will never be a CPA because I don't want to spend another several years in school. If I had the money, I'd pay for my children's college; I've had my time. But I am taking the exam to become an enrolled agent, joining professional organizations, and seeking continuing education opportunities.
I am becoming more active in education reform, in a way. Mom was always involved with the community --- mental health, civil rights, economic development, education. I think that if I don't do things to help make the world better, I will be letting my mother down.
Another year passes. It's a little cooler, a little wetter. And it will be spring again, and we will go on.