It’s been one year since she left us. As I kneeled in church today after lighting a candle for her, I thought about what a small word that is.
The time between then and now doesn’t seem all that small, even though I know it is. Maybe it’s my relationship to time in general; as I get older, minutes and years seem to play with my mind. I swear that it was just yesterday that Adam was a baby yet it feels like years since I’ve been able to hug her neck and kiss her cheek. The days sometimes drag but the years whiz by like race cars, often such a blur that I think I know what I’ve missed but I’m still left wondering what isn’t even on my radar. They taunt me sometimes, those moments lost and memories left unclaimed as I thrash about in the muck I call my every day.
I thought about the 92 years she spent on this earth. I know so little about those years. I know she loved a man she lost to the war and that she was left by a man who vowed to stay forever. I know that she raised five children and buried one. I know that she never turned anyone away, no matter what their transgressions might have been. I know that she worked and cooked and consoled and cried and yelled and prayed and prayed and prayed.
I thought about the time that might come someday when I’m the grandma instead of the mom or the daughter. I wondered what my grandkids might think of me; will they actually feel like they know me? Will they pay enough attention to see me sneak chocolate chips as we bake cookies or will they think I baked them only because I know they like them? Will they ask about the people they see in my yellowed, tattered photos or will they glance quickly and then go back to their gadgets, their friends, their own version of the every day?
I thought about the countless conversations, the countless ‘I love you, my hatzya’s, the countless phone calls that ended too soon because she worried about running up my bill, the countless times she tried to feed me something I didn’t want and the countless stories that died when she did, completely unknown to me. They don’t matter, really, because I doubt I could love her any more. But now that she’s gone I crave little nuggets of info that I can keep alive, stories that make me smile and memories that drown out the enormity of the word I can’t stop thinking about today.