Last night when I closed my eyes, this thought came to my mind: I am going to wake up the hour that she died.

And I did. At 6:30am, with no alarm, I was awake. Immediately. I checked my phone for the time. But I already knew what it would say. 6:30am. Then I rolled over, gave sleeping Arrine a kiss on her full cheeks, and went back to sleep.

Last night had many similarities in significantly different ways. Oh how life changes in 6 years. 6 years ago, Nick and I shared a very uncomfortable, small cot in my mother’s hospital room. We knew her journey with us on earth was soon closing, and we had begun to spend the night at the hospital too. And I remember listening to my mother’s breaths through the darkness. Shallow. Spaced out. Soft. Wondering if I would actually hear her last breath while I lay listening. Last night, again in the darkness, I listened to the breaths of who I love the most. Arrine wanted to sleep with me and I allowed it. It was a night where I welcomed the kicks to my ribs and twisting of covers of a 5 year old. And I fell asleep to the sound of her raspy, nasally sleepy breaths. Again, uncomfortable in my bed, but cherishing the moment of it.

Arrine and I slept in, by her standards, and then we got ready for the day. In the car, we listened to ABBA, because we had declared it “Grandma Anne-Marie Day”. Which I really like. I had a few talks with Arrine this year about what today meant to me. And this morning she said to me, “I wish Grandma Anne-Marie wasn’t dead so she could celebrate Grandma Anne-Marie Day with us.” Oh, my dear girl.

These days of remembrance for me are much better than years past. I actually look forward to them now, because they have really morphed into a day that I just do whatever the heck I want that makes me happy. So after dropping Arrine off at daycare, I headed to a craft store and stocked up on supplies for project I have been thinking about. Then it was onto the gym to meet my trainers – something my mom would have never done. She wasn’t gym person. But she was dedicated to her long walks and Jazzercise and stretching. I had a really good session at the gym and it was good for my psyche.

From there I met my dear friend in Starbucks at the Chapters on Whyte Ave. I told her before that I wanted us to sit for 30 minutes and read Women Who Run With Wolves and then talk about what we read. We both showed up with our books and then chatted until we decided to go shoe shopping. We never even mentioned our books on the table. It was perfect. I have been wanting to find some summer wedges and earlier at the gym, saw some really cute ones on a girl in the change room. We chatted about them and I decided I would find them. And we did! And then I ended up buying different ones. I would have never chose to try them on, but T did and then I did, and she tried the ones I originally chose and I am sure the sales guy loved us. 🙂 In the end I chose the ones that have this funky pattern. A “beadwork” pattern, that T pointed out, even though she hesitated to mention it as she didn’t want to influence my decision. I decided it was meant to be. And they gave me a few more years extension on my assignment to learn beading. Right mom?

Then it was off to get Arrine. I had some good cries while listening to Dancing Queen in the car. And once Arrine and I were home, we were quick to start baking. We decided to make strawberry shortcake, mostly because Arrine has a Strawberry Shortcake game where you bake a cake, but I spun it to be for Grandma, using a recipe from Canadian Living. Nick and my dad came over and we all had dessert before our supper.

I was then on my own for the evening, and my plan was to finish a pair of bathing suit bottoms I had started a few weeks prior and then ran out of elastic. It was a pattern I was just figuring out on my own and I spent hours on it. HOURS. And was not pleased with the finished product one bit. I stitched and then seam ripped and cut and readjusted and on and on and on. And I finally told myself to stop. I remember my mom telling me again and again how much she hated having to seam rip, and I felt I was doing it more than sewing! Giving up is hard for me. And I need to work on not looking at tonight as a waste of time or a failure. I need to view it as an attempt and a lesson learned and take from it. And that I enjoyed two white wine spritzers while sewing, and that is a successful evening right there.

I’ve cried throughout today. And have been very appreciative of the messages I received from those with kind words to share. I miss her terribly. And how my sadness is mostly derived from the loss she herself experienced. I am sad for her. And her life being taken away from all the joy she had yet to experience.

Today someone said to me, “Hopefully each year it’s not as sad for you.” And my response was, “It never gets less sad. It will always be the same amount of sadness. Just because time passes doesn’t change the situation and the sadness connected to it. I just get better processing the sadness and learning from it.”

Because I miss her like no one will ever understand. Nor do I ever wish they do.

Today I celebrate the woman who taught me how to earn respect quietly, and how books are passages to deeper understanding, and how to type so fricking fast (I am a fast typer) and how to level baking powder out in a measuring spoon and how to do the things you need to do to make your soul happy. True happiness. I celebrate the woman who raised me to do the right thing not out of fear of her reaction to my actions, but because I didn’t want to disappoint her. I celebrate womanhood. I celebrate red. I celebrate who I have become from her death.

And I fucking miss her.