My mom's name was Linda....she died in 2006 at the age of 63 from a heart attack. It still makes my chest ache when I think of that time....getting that phone call from my brother, Cary. He could barely speak on the phone. Maybe just as much from his own agony of already living the truth that she had died, but also having to break it to his baby sister. "She's gone, Dana". My best friend in the world was gone. She always listened to me for whatever drama was happening in my life at the time (and there was always plenty of that in my 20's!). The beauty of it was that she just listened. Which truly is a gift when you think about it. Trying not to give advice when someone is telling you their woes is like trying to ignore an itch that needs to be scratched. I clearly remember one time when she did say something. It wasn't advice so much as it was more like......"you are unhappy and headed down a road that will not get better". I will leave it at that, but I swore when she died that the one thing I would do is be happy. I would live my life every day the best that I could. After loosing both of my parents so close together I have this very visceral understanding that life really is short. There are no guarantees. It may sound cliche, I know....but, I think it's the greatest gift they ever gave me.
I just got back from spending a week long trip in San Francisco. It was a full week of eating, shopping, doing yoga, and getting spa treatments to celebrate my birthday. It was amazing to say the very least, and I will write more about that later! The one thing that really hit me last night when I was coming home on the plane was how many times my mom's presence was felt on this trip. If you have ever lost someone close to you, I think you understand what I mean. If not.......it goes something like this.....you are going about doing something in your everyday, and then BAM! a song, a smell, or maybe it's something you see, and you instantly can feel a connection to that person. It's not a memory, but you can actually feel them right there. It feels like walking into a little pocket of joy. Remember when you were young and you were swimming in the lake? It was sort of all cold and goose-bumpy, but then you would swim into a little warm pocket of water? It's sort of like that. : ) Unexpected, and so wonderful all at the same time.
I was walking in the Haight on my first day of being in San Francisco. The skies were solid blue. Not. Even. One. Cloud. The warmth of the Sun was so unbelievable and welcoming. I clearly was not ready for Winter yet. Sorry, Mother Nature, but you spoiled me rotten with that amazing Seattle Summer! And, by the way, thank you for that. Anyways, I stumbled upon this little shop with a small alcove for the front door. I don't even remember now what was in the store front window, but I walked towards the shop and "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac was playing. I stood in that alcove, and the Sun was so bright I could hardly see.....and there she was. I could feel her right there. I brought my camera up to my face and tried to take a picture of my reflection in the window to remind me of that moment, but the Sun was too bright! I still went through the motions though, and when I looked into my reflection I thought, "Hi, Mom! Look, I am happy, just like I promised I would be." I spent a week in San Francisco not being indulgent, but celebrating my happiness, and doing things that bring me joy. I think that's why I felt her there so many times.....she knows I am happy.