My mother died this morning (though my mom passed a few years back – I have an unusual family tree). I just received the call I knew was coming. She had been in the hospital for a number of weeks, her liver began failing a few days ago, and she hadn’t regained consciousness for nearly 5 days. I’m glad to say she didn’t seem to be in great pain or suffering, and had family by her side.

There’s no point in pretending we had much of a relationship, because sadly we didn’t. We had, maybe, twenty brief “hellos” in as many years; I don’t believe I have even a single photograph of her, and I deserved more from her than what I got.

She also deserved a lot more from me than I ever gave. Though she didn’t raise me, I was still her firstborn, her only son. Instead of honoring her as my mother, instead of reaching out more actively to build a bridge between us, I too chose the easy way out of just assuming she would come to me, that there would always be a “someday” when we would have a normal relationship. It was shameful and childish.

There are no more somedays now, and I wish I had known her better. She was, after all, the reason I exist, my link to the human chain, and her passing leaves a hole in me. Just a couple weeks before she went into the hospital for the last time, I started an email conversation with her that seemed like a great beginning to our first real conversation ever. I will always regret that we’ll never see where that would take us. But that was a conversation I should have begun decades ago, as a young man fresh out of high school, not as a middle-aged man seeking selfish truth and answers.

If you still have parents in your life – call them today, now. You may not have as many somedays left as you’d like.

I love you mother. I’m sure you’re more aware of that now in death than you ever were in life, and for that I’m truly sorry. I know that in your own way you did try to do right by me, even when that meant letting someone else raise me. Give mom a hug and a kiss from me.