I just read a letter that made me pause and think about my mom for a bit. The letter was from a reader and fan of my mom’s books who was writing to say that it was the 14th anniversary of her own mother’s death — always a sad day for her.
Last July 20th, on the one-year anniversary of my mom’s death, I did my best to have a happy day. I watched “Defending Your Life” (one of her favorite movies — I can’t believe I’d forgotten this! — we watched it in hospice). For the rest of the day, I tried to remember all the funny and/or dumb things she did that made us laugh. (She had a bad case of malapropism her whole life. One time we were driving through the hills of Arkansas and the Good Year Blimp appeared over the treetops. She looked up and said, “Oh look! The Giblet!”)
I have to think that on the day of my mom’s death, the last thing she would ever want is for me or my brother to spend a single moment being sad. She wants us to be happy. She wants us to have a good day. What mother doesn’t?
I’m going to try to do that every July 20th from now on. Easier said than done, I know, but it seems like the best way to honor the loved ones we’ve lost is to temper our sadness with as much joy as we can muster.