For a while I wondered if winter would ever leave, though the calendar said it had. However, the gorgeous weather of this past week is proof that spring has unmistakably arrived. The sights and sounds outside my window do not lie. The neighborhood children have shed their winter coats and I hear their gleeful laughter as they play in the cul-de-sac. The robin sings a chorus from a branch on Nina’s flowering tree that is beginning to bloom as it has every May for the past seven years. Soon the air will be filled with an overwhelming fragrance so intoxicating it can almost take your breath away.
Nevertheless, intertwined with May’s beauty is a melancholy winter in my heart that I don’t imagine will ever depart. You see, this coming Sunday while I attempt to “celebrate” Mother’s Day and my birthday, it will also be the eighth anniversary of Nina’s death in a car accident. Hard to believe, that it has been that long. Oftentimes it feels like it was only yesterday that our family suffered through that horrendous tragedy, something so horrifically painful it is impossible to describe in words.
Yet, I only need to look at my beautiful daughter’s face in the framed photo in comparison to the present faces of those who were her friends to know that it has most certainly been almost eight years since she left us on Earth. They are no longer high school students fretting about what to wear to the next school dance or wondering what movie to see; her best friend is now engaged and will be married this summer; these same friends are now accountants, teachers, mothers and even one in premed. But the precious young girl in the picture frame, no more a child and not yet an adult, with the braces-laden incomparable smile, is frozen in time, 15 years old forever.
I will shake off this dark mood in the days to come. I will watch as Nina’s tree, planted in her memory by the aunts, uncles and cousins she loved so much, comes to full flower, maybe just in time as a special “hello” present from her on Mother’s Day. I will again remember the blessings of motherhood as I think of my fabulous surviving children Lisa, Amy and Dan, who I am so thankful for every day of my life; my grandsons Jett and Ethan, who never fail to bring a smile to my face; I love them all so much, and, yes—the blessing of Nina. As agonizing as her death has been, loving her and being her mother was worth the pain of losing her. I am thankful for those 15 years, seven months and seventeen days of her life.
Written May 2003