A year ago today, I spoke to my mother for the last time. Her last words to me were, "Love you... be good!" It's how she ended every phone call for two decades.
This past year has been a year of learning to live without my mother's smile, her infectious floor-stomping dance, her advice... and her daily calls. Oh, how I miss those calls. Even the ones where we discussed nothing
but how many loads of laundry we'd washed, and whether or not we were simmering
the same type of soup on our stoves because "it's a soup kind of day."
Some time ago during one such call, my mother shared a story about a ship carrying thousands of bath toys, that had capsized. Years had passed, and children were still recovering rubber duckies from the sea. The story captivated her, and she shared it frequently with anyone who would listen.
On the anniversary of our mother's passing, my baby sister (her blog post about this is HERE and includes a bit of the history on the place we chose) and I chose to send 66 rubber ducks down the Mississippi river... one for each year of her life. We had large ducks, small ducks, ducks with handwritten messages, and ducks dressed as everything from pirates to snowmen. When all our ducks were counted, there were just over 70 in the basket. Mom would have loved the extras and called them "freebies", so they stayed.
We chose a spot where two rivers met, and set about letting the little
ducks go early this morning... first by gently setting them in the
water, and eventually tossing them in to see who could toss them the
farthest. There was an odd sense of "rightness" to the throwing.
Some of the ducks set right out, heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. Some went bottom-up, dabbling for who-knows-what, while others hugged the shoreline. And one silly duck floated BACKWARDS for as far as we could see. Mom would have liked that too... each duckie was obviously dancing to it's own beat.
We watched the ducks until they were gone from our site, while
sipping at bottled Pepsi; a sugary tribute to her favorite drink.
Too many things this past year, have felt unfair. Too many moments have gone unshared; too many giggles silenced, and too many calls not made. But today is not a day to mourn what we've lost.