I miss my Mommy.
This week we lost Jamie Moss, my mom. I will miss her always.
36 hours. That’s all it took. From a normal Tuesday morning to a dreadful Wednesday night. My mom was taken from us in a flash, with no warning, no signs and no reason. A life in process, abruptly ended. I cannot adequately express my emotions, but I’m pretty sure I’ve felt all of them this week. There are no good words, but here’s a bunch.
Tuesday morning I woke up, showered and then realized I had a new group text. I opened the message from my Aunt to learn that my mom’s brain was bleeding, she was in surgery and I had to get home. I booked a flight from SFO to PHL. I think I was in a sustained state of shock. Obviously, I bought wifi so I could stay updated. But I was also terrified of receiving news at 40,000 feet. My mind was racing, subdued only by a bevy of entertainment and snacking options. I went straight to Jefferson Neuroscience, where my siblings, grandparents aunts and uncles had taken over the 6th floor waiting room. Staying until midnight, we made sure the nurses knew how to contact us, for anything. But the outlook was bleak.
The following morning we got the news, she wouldn’t make it. It was time to start making plans, and gathering anyone who wants to say final goodbyes. The outpouring of support was already unreal. I have a LARGE family, and throughout the day, we probably had 60 people in and out of that waiting room… overflowing into the hallway. Then the time came, the time to REALLY say goodbye. Definitely the worst moment of my life. I can’t even think about it.
Thursday was spent making preparations, and there’s a LOT of decisions to make in a very short amount of time. We knew Mom was prolific in the main line community, but we never could have imagined what would happen the following day. Arriving at the synagogue there was already a line of friends, family and colleagues. We went straight to the front of the sanctuary, performed some jewish traditions and prepared for the doors to open and receive condolences.
For over an hour, people streamed through, with every imaginable connection. Friends of her siblings, friends of my grandparents, some of my childhood friends and friends of my siblings; all turned out to honor my mother’s memory. As a realtor, she had many colleagues many said:
“So sorry for your loss. I worked with your mother, but we were really friends.”
My kindergarten teacher told me:
“You know, I still have a picture of you and your mom in my office from when you were shabbat boy.”
People flew across the globe to support my family on this horrid day. We had to cut off the receiving line, there were simply too many people to shake everyone’s hands.
My uncle made a remark about how no real estate business was happening because every local realtor was in this room. Seems plausible. My Mom had 2500+ friends on Facebook (of which I was not one, a constant point of contention). She loved (and bragged) how many birthday posts she got, and I’m sure she’d be thrilled to know there have been even more condolence posts. It felt like every single one of them turned out to show their support and honor her memory.
The rabbi spoke, introducing my mom (who needed no introduction) and then called me and my siblings up to speak. As I stood there, looking out at a 700 seat room, so full that people were standing in the back, I was taken aback. I didn’t expect to keep it together while reciting the words I wrote the night before, but the turnout and the love I felt from every hug and handshake gave me strength. I’ve copied my speech below.
Thinking back, I remember my childhood as nothing but you trying your hardest to do everything and anything for me, in the best way possible. I may not have realized it then, but I do now. Whether it be the insanity of DAILY 6 AM wawa runs, just so I could eat a plain turkey hoagie at lunch or a rubbermaid tub turned swimming pool down the shore. You were there for me and my brother/sister to no end.
We may have spent the last 2 years a country apart, but we have been closer than ever. First Meerkat let you see me almost everyday… And PUBLICLY share your pride and opinions with thousands of internet strangers. And for the last year, we spent every afternoon/evening having a 15 minute call as I walked home from work. It wasn’t uncommon for us to talk both directions to my office, and we often repeated our conversations… But you were always there to keep me company. I have no doubt I’ll still be thinking about you every single afternoon.
I’m so glad you got out to SF to meet Mike and that he got to experience you in your prime. Shopping/decorating, eating & just hanging out, it was a fantastic weekend. I’ve already been told by so many people how much fun you had and how proud you were. It’s important that you know I know how proud u were. I even unblocked you on Facebook, and the outpouring of support is overwhelming and amazing and not at all surprising.
We may have had our battles, but in the end you were always there for me. I’ll always have you with me (especially with 200 unlistened to voicemails). I will miss you more than you ever would have imagined, and I love you so much.
Now as we proceed through the “mourning period” (as if it will ever end) and sit shiva, I am honored to have called Jamie Sue Moss my mother for 26 short years. I will miss her always and forever. She cared about nothing more than me and my siblings, she wanted nothing more than for us to be happy and she was truly beloved. I always thought that word was kinda ridiculous and corny, but now I get it. I can truly say that my mom was beloved. By her family, by her friends, by her workplace and by more people than she ever could have known.
The only advice I can give after all of this is CALL YOUR MOTHER. Even if you don’t know what you’ll talk about, you can. Ask her “what’s up?” Tell her about your day. Just do it.
Live life to the fullest. The future is never ever a certainty.
PS: My family is incredible. All of you. I love you. You’re the best.