September 12th

September 12th is a tough day for me. This day, for me, for the past 24 years, marks yet another year without my mom. 24 years. Twenty-four years. It's unbelievable that so much time has passed. It is unfathomable to me that I haven't seen my mom in all that time. That I haven't spoken to her. That I haven't asked her questions and received advice. That we haven't argued or laughed. That she isn't around for me to call or visit or have coffee with.

Of course, when she died, I was only 16 so I wasn't yet drinking coffee and I wasn't divorced and I didn't have kids. I was 16. I had just started driving. I wondered who I would go to Homecoming with. I wondered if I would get asked and how I would do do my hair and where I would find a dress. I had started my sophomore year and I had new contact lenses and had new highlights in my hair. The anticipation of the coming year was scary and joyful and exciting and terrifying. And then it all changed. September 12, 1987. The day my mom died. The day my life changed direction on a dime. The day I would forever remember and pray to forget.

I think the thing that is the hardest is the passage of time without her. I wonder what she would have thought of me becoming an attorney, what she would have worn to my wedding, how she would have held my hand as I went through my divorce. I wonder what stories she would tell to my children, how she would have taken becoming a grandmother, how she would have lived her life as her children aged.

And of course I miss my mom, but saying those words just doesn't really explain what it means to not have her here. To wish for someone to talk to and to have the silence face you in return. I feel her with me when I am alone. I hold her in my heart as I know my brothers do. I turn to her in difficult times and I smile inside at the things I think she would appreciate. Every time I color my hair, or choose some accessory, or try on a dress, or pick out shoes, or change purses, or read a good book, or go to the beach, I think of her. It's those little things that remind me of her. It's this day every calendar year that I miss her acutely. So here's to September 12th, for reminding me of the mom that I had, for far too short a time, such a long time ago.



  1. My heart goes out to you. I think of 9/12 as the day that the skies were ominously still, when all air traffic was halted. After reading your post, I have a new thought, maybe your mom and all the other angels enjoyed the quiet.

  2. Allison, what a beautiful tribute to your mother, she is so proud of you!

  3. That was the holiest day of my life. I had never before been so close to God as I was when your Mom breathed her last breaths. Surrounded by those she loved who were alternately joking, praying, and softly guiding her on to another dimension, she was at peace knowing all was well. Her courage and stamina to the end, her humor and grace, her dedication to her children, even her sense of fashion (never wear turquoise with blue, Mariann), and all her innumerable qualities have influenced me all these years. Shirley and I still speak of her often. We are still learning from her. Her spirit lives in another dimension and she is with us, guiding us, chastising us, loving us. Don't ever expect your heartbreak to heal. Her life had a purpose and she fulfilled it. It is up to you to learn from it. I love you. Mamala

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your mother. I think she is smiling somewhere at the woman you have become. XO

  5. Allison....
    I didn't know your mother as intimatly as others...but I always remember her as kind and very courageous.....she had style and grace....just like you. She will always be there with you and for you. I was a little older than you (32) when my mom died from another horrible cancer. I know she is always with me and will be throughout my life...and hopefully our descendents will feel the spirit of these women live on in their lives.


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