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I’d Walk A Thousand Miles

February 15, 2016

Twelve years ago today, February 15, my mother, variously called Doc or Mini-Mommy, died. I still miss her every damned day.

Mom was a tiny dynamo, hence the Mini-Mommy moniker. She was fiercely protective of her only chick, me. As a single mother she took me to movies and rodeos and plays. She was a voracious reader, so mysteries, thrillers, suspense stories and romances found their way onto her bookshelf.

I grew up to be a reader, too, because she and my grandmother taught me to read by the time I was three. No, I wasn’t memorizing oft-heard stories my grandmother read to me. I once corrected her when she missed a word. She thought I was kidding until I pointed to the word. From then on, I had daily reading lessons.

Mom died with about fifty linear feet of books in her bedroom. I saved some of her favorites, books that have moved with me from the home she shared in her last years with my husband and me. I donated boxes to the nursing home/rehab center/hospice where she spent her last days. Others I’ve given to Goodwill for strangers to enjoy, but only after I revisited them in the past dozen year.

Mom’s last three weeks were painful. Once she was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer, doctors could do nothing but keep her calm and out of pain. I visited her every day, read to her, listened to her stories, held her hand. Two days before cancer won, she stopped talking. Communications were through squeezes, her hand in mine. I finished reading our last book in the dark middle-or-the-night hours before she died. I was with her when she was finally out of pain. I kept a promise that she wouldn’t be alone. She wasn’t.

I know yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I hope you told your parents, children, siblings you love them. Whatever you did to celebrate, I hope you didn’t overlook the woman who gave you life. Without her, you wouldn’t be here.

Now, a decade plus later, I’d walk a thousand miles to see her smile again, to feel that hand squeeze, to have one more healthy day with her. I miss you, Doc.

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