It’s a mixed bag . .

Today, December 5, marks my twins’ 54th birthday, and today also marks the 55th anniversary of the death of their older brother Charlie. Baby Charlie lived only five days before dying of birth trauma, and a year later, on that same day of the month, our son and daughter were born. Good times, right?

Tomorrow, December 6, marks the anniversary of my mother’s death 42 years ago. Early December is surely a mixed bag for me, but I would dearly love to sit down with my Mom and talk to her adult to adult. Or rather octogenarian to septuagenarian—she didn’t make it to her 80’s, but she was the last of her immediate family, with both her sisters gone and no other close relatives but her three kids.

I want to say to her, “Mom, how did you deal with the loneliness of being ‘the last one’? Or what did you do when you felt the discomfort of angina, like I have now? Did it frighten you? Or did you just take it in stride and pop some nitroglycerin? How did you deal with the depression of living with your son and his two kids, one of whom disliked you and wasn’t shy about letting you know? How did you do it? How did you survive for as long as you did?”

Of course, I can’t do that, I can’t talk with Mom again. But I often wonder if she’s watching over me from wherever she is right now. Sometimes I feel her presence, and it’s comforting to think that it might be possible. Miss you, Mom. Miss you too, Charlie. You were loved.