Life changes in both radical and subtle ways when someone dies.
Here is what I wrote after my mother died:
"Today, I am thinking about the subtle ways that life changes... these alterations seem somewhat vexing... they creep in and make stark contrasts with the noisy life that we all seem to lead.
When my mother was younger, she was very active and busy. She was occupied and pre-occupied with her projects and interests. She always had said that she wanted her grandchildren to ask "Where is Grandma now?".... she was never the mother that stayed home and baked and set up space for you to visit.
But when she had turned - I will guess - around 80+ some things shifted for the woman who was always on the move. She slowed. Her legs were less reliable through accident and unsuccessful surgeries. Her heart was less robust. So the woman who had little time to be a mother when young was more available for phone calls, texts and emails.
It is our phone calls - in the senior years of her life - that I am missing beyond measure.
These calls were when I was commuting. They consisted of me calling and - for the large part- listening to her. Peppered in there where questions of how I was, what was going on. The talk became less about her and more about be in small increments, increasing over the years, like a slow tectonic plate shift toward a more generous conversation style. With ample time she became more interested in things - and me - beyond the scope of her projects.
Mom died on Good Friday - March 29, 2013.
On Tuesday I took, for the first time, one of those drives - a drive when I typically called her.
And I could hardly breathe.
There will be nothing to replace this for me. These phone calls filled in some of the gaps and fissures of my relationship with her. My childhood longing for her attention.
It is such a gift and I had it for about 6 years or so.... I am so sad to let it go. I plan to keep speaking with her, though, it will not be the same."