My brother Rick, falling victim to one of our mom’s favorite beach day rituals, the applying of the SPF 50.
I woke up today to the most beautiful morning sun, the kind of day that felt really familiar and yet my pre-caffeinated brain couldn’t quite pinpoint why. I hopped into the shower and as I basked in the hot water it all came rushing to me: two years ago today, on a similarly sunny day, my mom succumbed to cancer.
In the days, weeks, months and then some after Mom’s passing, I had many similar mornings. I’d wake up happy, forgetting that she was gone, that I wouldn’t be able to see her, wouldn’t be able to hop on the phone for one of our daily yenta sessions. Sometimes, a song she loved or that we loved together would come on the radio and I would just be crushed, angry that the universe was such a d*** DJ who couldn't read their audience.
In some ways it’s been a long hard road and yet it also feels like we lost her yesterday but either way, for the first time in a while the destination seems like a pretty good place to be.
I get signs at least once a day that remind me of her, of the good stuff. Like yesterday, I was applying sunblock while down at the Jersey Shore and laughed as I remembered Betsy chasing my brother and I down with a big bottle of SPF 50, warning us just what a dangerous beast the sun could be.
And then there was last night. Running my first 5K since 2015, I was a little nervous leading up to it. As I stepped up to the starting line, Lynrd Skynrd’s “Simple Man” blasted over the loud speakers. To the other 1,000 plus runners, it was just a song. To me, it was the song we danced to at my wedding and all I could do was smile. The woman has been gone for two years and she is still finding ways to make it to my races. Thanks Mom.