I have existed eight years without her.

It doesn’t seem possible really.

That ninety six months have passed and I haven’t spoken to her.

Haven’t phoned on the way home to tell her about my day or complain about work. Haven’t taken a walk with my son in the stroller to her house to check in on her and chat for a while. Haven’t laughed so hard that no sound has come out, our bodies heaving, probably over something we have laughed about a hundred times before.

I’ve gotten used to it, the new normal, the one without her in it. The now where she isn’t there and I haven’t told her all the things that have happened in the last eight years — my son starting preschool and then regular school, my move back to Canada, my work in a different office, my split from my husband. I like to believe that she knows, but I haven’t told her.

And it still aches, this piece of my heart that is missing because she possessed it. She listened. She was there. Always. Everything was better when I could call her up and tell her all about it. Be real and honest and true and not worry about what she was thinking because she thought it was her job to do those things because that is what a mother does. A mother is there, no matter what. And that may not have made her a perfect person or even a perfect mother — as my friend said there is a gold-plated chair in Alanon for her — but it protected me in a way from the world. No matter how bad anything was I could still phone my mother and have it all seem to slightly dissipate.

I go back to an article I read shortly after she passed, that the closer you were to the person who died, the more difficult the grieving. That you yearn for that relationship. And I do — for those phone calls on the way home from work. To be in her room, laying on the bed while she read to my son, his fingers in his mouth, like the photo I look at of the two of them daily.

Quality over quantity I have told myself for the last eight years. I got so much out of being her daughter — even if it was only for thirty nine years ten months and five days. More than some people who get sixty years or more with their mothers. She was my second favorite person in the universe, only bumped from first when my son was born.

I guess I’ll always yearn.

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