She was the background music to our childhood memories, a persistent beat that sometimes was erratic and unexpected, yet always palpable in our shared storyline.
Her presence provided comfort when we were sick and reassurance when we were uncertain.
Her smile generated warmth and acceptance, enticing us to lean in to chat a little longer.
Perpetually running late, she entered a room with a story bursting forth about what sidetracked her along the way.
She didn't exactly travel from Point A to Point B.
That was not her style.
She ventured through life in a loose circular pattern, cycling from one need to another...sometimes her needs, but generally those of others.
She cared deeply and generously.
A year ago we celebrated Mom's birthday with her in a sterile hospital room, a banner pinned haphazardly in the ceiling tiles to bring a touch of cheer. We leaned into hope.
Friends drifted in and out, navigating between hospital staff and vital signs checks. The setting did not deter Mom; the sparkle never left her eyes.
She was easy to celebrate. Simple tokens of her favorite things and time savored with her beloved people filled her heart.
Big and fancy was not her style.
On this first birthday without her, Mom's absence is profoundly felt. We miss that underlying beat of our family rhythm, the matriarchal chord that echoes tenderly in our memories.
Three years ago on her birthday, Mom broke into spontaneous dance after we got her piano tuned as a surprise gift to her. I'm so grateful to have this precious snippet of our Mom in joyous celebration. For her it was a simple, ordinary moment. For us it's now a treasured memento of a special lady that will always have a piece of our hearts.