This week, I am thinking more about my mother, Sybil Marie Felicioni Duffy. She died 12 years ago. A brain aneurysm, the ticking bomb in her head that no one knew about, exploded. And she was gone.
The people you love—mothers, fathers, children, friends—they are an integral part of you, part of your inner circle, the core of your world. They are something of you, but with their own separateness. When they die, you feel the loss as if some part of you were torn away; as if some part of your structure and order, some part of your sense of wholeness is gone. And you implode because of your loss. In time, you regroup and reorganize. You live on, your world rearranged. But you never forget that the person you loved occupied and shared space with you in the core of your world.
I wanted to write about my mother. It’s difficult because I am feeling a fresh, new wave of the loss of her.
I still hear the sound of her voice in my head. I can still see her face and her smile. I still dream of her. Songs and books conjure memories of her. So do things in my house–the creamer with painted leaves in my kitchen cabinet; the stack of Bon Appetite magazines from the 90s that I use; her copy of The Big Fisherman, about Peter, Jesus’ disciple. Inside the cover, she wrote: Merry Christmas 1959. Down further, she wrote: Reread Sept. 1970. I have jewelry of hers such as the mustard seed enclosed in a clear glass ball, missing its chain; a book of accordion music; and a watch, a gift I’d given to her that came back to me with a note. In it she said she knew that I gave her the gift because I loved it but she was returning it to me because she wanted me to have it.
She comes to mind whenever I make cards or arrange flowers, and when I decorate a tree for Christmas. Also, when I make cookies, write a letter, or make a salad. And, when I make stuffed cabbage, or peppers or spaghetti with white clam sauce; and when I watch old musicals like “The King and I,” “Sound of Music,” and especially, “Carousel”; and when I read to my nieces or grandchildren. When I laugh, sometimes, I hear her laugh. And when I look in the mirror, sometimes, I see her eyes. I see her in my sisters’ faces and my brother’s face.
The evidence of her is all around me and in me. And I miss sharing space with her in the core of my world.