My stepmother died in Jan 2013 just short of her 96th birthday. In the late eighties she moved to Australia to live with her biological daughter, my step sister, Marsha. Being so far away, I saw her but a few times in the intervening years and the last time we spoke on the phone it was a contentious conversation about the dividing of my father estate. Years later with my sister as intermediary (my mother was in care facility at that point) I did my best to reconcile the estrangement of that conversation. But I’ll never know if Marsha ever told her what I said or conveyed my true wish of love and appreciation.
Perhaps the remarks I have made to friends and family and the long separation has undermined how they believe her death affects me. I called my brother after I got the email. I cried and said I felt sad. I wanted to reminisce about our life with her. I know he loves me a lot and wants always to console me the best he can. He remarked how she had not been that kind to me and how much it bothered him. These are the words he uses from his wish to ease my pain but I would rather not hear them. I don’t want to think I was marginally loved child.
She wasn’t the mother I would have liked her to be. I think I would have wanted a ‘Mrs Pots’ type – warm, effusive, cuddly. She was reserved in her feelings. I think this is in part generational and also a result of her life story. She had losses in her life that I’m sure gave her deep sorrow.
My father remarried when I was four. I believe right from the beginning I called her mommy, mom or referred to as my mother for that is who she was to me. In my experience we were a family and how my feelings changed as I grew doesn’t erase the relationship of parent and child.
We don’t always get the picture of parent we want, but in remembering her, I would like to recall the moments of happiness, the kindnesses, and the gifts I received from her presence in my life. I like to believe that in her own way she taught me how to be the best parent I can be. I’m happy she was in my life.
Postscript: I wrote this the week after her death. I think I thought I should say more and so I never published it. In reading it now, I think it is enough.
Glena Dawn Lannon Miller Logan 02 March 1917 – 28 January 2013