Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Gift From Beyond

Today marks the anniversary of my mother's death. Ten years. Strange they call it anniversary, since that word is usually associate with celebrating a milestone event. This isn't one of those--no celebrating going on here.

 March 2, 2005 I lost my mother who was the gorilla-strength glue that held the family together.  She was also my best friend and I, hers.   The officiant who presided over the funeral said that every family member he spoke to said the same thing; that she was their best friend and they were hers. Can you imagine having that type of effect on your loved ones? She was a special woman. We were  lucky to have her.

The last weeks of her life she was on the hospice floor of St Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson. They were wonderful, patient and kind and even allowed me to sleep in the bed next to her. We had the opportunity, those long days and nights, to say everything that needed to be said.  Truth be told, we always spoke and had a free-flowing non-stop communication that started decades before.  Even though we lived 3000 miles apart, much of those last decades we managed to speak every day. We shared our daily lives during long distance phone calls and eventually emails, when she got up to computer-savvy speed.  No matter where I was in the world, if I was experiencing something touching, beautiful or heartbreaking I would call her and share. 

So during the last few days that she was conscious, we held hands, watched our favorite TV shows and talked non-stop. It was during one of those hand-holding conversations, she looked at me and thanked me for being there for her. She went on to say "I didn't know a person could love another person like this." 

After she passed away, that sentence was a warm comforting blanket that I wrapped around myself to attempt to ward off the empty, chilling effects of grief.

One month and one day later was my birthday. It was one of those BIG  birthdays that people usually, either go to many lengths to forget and refuse to acknowledge, or over-celebrate  in an effort to anesthetize themselves against the harsh reality.  I was not up to celebrating, as a matter of fact I couldn't imagine ever having a birthday that I wasn't the recipient of  a birthday song sung by my mom in her slightly off-key, gravelly  voice. 

That morning I received an email from someone asking where my mother was, since they had not heard from her in months. It seems that she had become sort of an email pen pal of this husband and wife whose young son Mikey had undergone heart surgery. Over the years, they communicated and even though they never met, they shared much of their lives. I wrote back to tell them that Mom and passed. I made sure to let them know that she cared for their family and over the years, kept me apprised of Mikey's recovery.

That night my sister and niece surprised me with a small birthday party and invited the immediate family.  Later on that evening, I returned home to find an email from Mikey's father telling me how sorry he was and how much they would all miss communicating with her. He attached a voice email message that my mother sent Mikey while he was in the hospital. With shaking hands I clicked the link (below) and heard:

I wiped my eyes, convinced that my mother did not want my birthday to pass without hearing her voice.
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Alison Caiola, author
The Lily Lockwood Series: Book One The Seeds of a Daisy, Book Two:  The Silver Cord( published  March 2015) 
Instagram: alisonwrites


  1. What a wonderful memorial to your Mom.How sweet of you to share this with us all.

    Sending you good thoughts on this day.
    Laur and Judy

  2. I miss my mom now more than ever. It's tough but I'm glad that she is in a better place. Sometimes I smell her perfume and feel that she's around. I like to think that like your mom, they check in from time to time.

  3. That was beautiful Allison that you will have that forever. I wish I could talk to my Mom again. xo Linda

  4. What a beautiful story, Alison. It touched me deeply.