On the window ledge of my home office there's a framed black and white photograph of my mother, captured in her twenties. She looks so pretty, wistful, and hopeful for what her life may bring. Every day I kiss this picture, and/or say a few words to it; apart from a few others and a clutch of personal keepsakes, it's all I have left of her.
Mom died of breast cancer in 1993, and I continue to miss her terribly. I remain angry that she was snatched from me and the world, in such terrible pain after barely a year's retirement, having worked her fingers to the bone from the age of 14. It's an anger I keep capped, and must, but when I think of what she went through for so many years at the hands of my brutal father, it makes me seethe and twists me up that she never had any peace and rest once he was finally out of our lives. And the biggest unavoidable regret of my life is that mom and Susan never had the opportunity to meet and get to know each other. They'd have gotten along rather famously, I feel. Oh well, it is what it is, as is said.
This Friday, February 24th, 2012, would have been mom's 80th birthday. By some cosmic design my writing work has presented Susan and I with an enviable situation on the evening of 23rd, enabling me to raise a glass or ten to mom's memory on such a big anniversary. Having previewed the event for one local publication, I'll be reviewing Parksville Untapped - an evening in celebration of BC beer - for the website of another. It's a sweet gig, for sure. Yes, I'll have to do some work, but every glass I sink on Thursday night will be preceded by a private toast to Jean Jessie Florence, my incredible mother. Rest in peace, dear one.