I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom in the last few days. The anniversary of her death approaches next month and while our relationship was never what I would have wanted from a mother, I do miss her. She had a wonderful smile and a contagious laugh.
She was a wonderful grandmother. She had four grandsons and various great-grandchildren. She loved them all fiercely. She called her grandsons her “joy boys.” They loved it and so did she. What I remember is how she used to say to me, well into adulthood, “I love you and I love your face.”
She was only 88 when she died. I say only because she was so vibrant and so alive up until the day she was taken to the hospital with severe stomach pain. She died 4 days later. I never got to say goodbye or tell her what I appreciated about her.
One of her grandsons is gay – my oldest. When he came out to me, I was really concerned about how she would react. She was from another generation, after all. I did not discourage my son from telling her – it was his story to tell. She didn’t bat an eye and I don’t think she was among those of us who had suspected for such a long time. She just told him that all she cared about was that he be happy. She lived to see him happy with his now husband.
One story that stands out and tells just how open she was happened a few years before she died. She belonged to a Temple and saw an event on the Temple bulletin board. It was an LGBTQ pool party. She called the organizer and asked if she could attend even though she wasn’t gay. She explained she had a gay grandson. She was welcomed with open arms and had such a good time. I suspect she was the only one of her generation there. She called afterward to tell me what a good time she had. I only wish I could have seen it. They must have loved her!
The picture above was taken 6 weeks before she died. My mom always had almost jet black hair. At 88, she was just starting to grey around her temples. Just for fun, she decided to dye her hair blond. When she got off the plane to visit me for my birthday, I thought to myself “That isn’t my mother. Who is that woman with blond hair!” She loved it. After all, blondes have more fun. The picture reminds me of who she was, the mom that I loved, who had so much energy and zest for life. I’m grateful I inherited that from her. She may not have always been the mother I hoped for, but she was the best grandmother to my gay son and that is enough.