Tuesday, July 8, 2008

On the one hand...

.. this isn't a blog about my mom.

On the other hand, she keeps popping back up in my life, through the memories of others who knew and loved her.

First, at a funeral for a very elderly woman, to whom I am not even distantly related. Or a friend of the family. I went as a professional courtesy for a member of our board of directors. So you'd expect me to be only vaguely acquainted with one person in that whole place - the board member. Lo and behold, who do I see across the room as soon as I step into the viewing area? (By the way, is that still called a "parlor"? As in funeral parlor?) Anyway. It's my aunt and uncle that I haven't seen for at least 20 years. Florida must be good to them, because they both look just the same. And apparently I look exactly like my mother when she was my age.
"You're just the very picture of your mother!", they all exclaimed. And I am. I've definitely got her eyes. And (thanks mom and grampap!) the familial thinning hair in the back. I still remember my mom, trying to see the back of her head with 2 mirrors, asking us "is my spot showing?". Mom could have definitely made good use of my 3-mirror vanity. Gives great back and side views. But I digress. This isn't about our shared thinning hair. Though I do still hold that against our gene pool.

Today I had to take an ambulance down to my personal mechanic to have them take a quick look at the a/c. My family has known the family that runs this garage for, well.. forever it seems. As I was getting ready to back the ambulance out one of the owners was telling me what I needed to do to test the a/c when I got back. He stopped smack in the middle of a sentence and just smiled at me. Then he apologized, and told me that when he looks at me he sees my mom, and I look so much like her with my brown eyes and shiny round apple cheeks. And that talking with me is so much like talking with her. He apologized again and continued with business.

Many people do that. Apologize when they remind me of her. As if I don't think of her all the time, anyway. So much of my personality is literally derived from her DNA. You couldn't separate us if you tried. And no apology is necessary. I am truly honored to hear from others how much I remind them of her. It sounds cliche, but she was the kind of person who was loved and admired by everyone who met her. The kind of person whose funeral viewing was so packed that there were people wall-to-wall, indoors and out. One woman with whom she had played and coached softball approached me at her funeral, eyes filled with tears. She could hardly speak, but the words she spoke said everything: "She was my hero."

Mine too.

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