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It’s been a while since I’ve had anything of substance to say. In fact, it has been exactly one year. Not that I’m counting or anything. And if I were counting, I would have to wait until after midnight for it to be official, but … for me, my mom was gone on Veteran’s Day. That was possibly the longest day of my life.

MoC’s cousin Jo AnnE married Magic Mike on 11/11/11. MoC, David and I had planned to drive to Hell for the wedding. MoC really wanted to go. I didn’t want to go because I was worried about the oxygen and the wheelchair and the drive and the logistics and … just everything. But I promised her we would go. And then we couldn’t.

I’ve told you about MoC’s last day and I don’t want to relive it here. But clearly, she was racing downhill that evening but hung on until 3am, officially the next morning. Officially the 12th. Officially not on Jo AnnE’s wedding day.

I think sometimes people wait for family or friends to show up. By the same token, I think they sometimes wait for people to leave. And strangely, I think my mother held on for a year … for me. Those first two strokes should have ended it right there. We had grown very close over the last 10 or 12 years, but that last year? It was truly something special. I learned more about myself than I had in 44 years my entire life. I have always known I am a strong woman, strong willed certainly, but there is steel in me that has saved me many times. That steel, that hard spot, was tested, stressed, tortured and shaped over that year. She gave me a year to show me how much I’ve changed and to see what I am capable of. She gave me a year to let her go. It didn’t make it any easier, but it did make it a tiny bit better.

People change, given the inclination and enough time. Relationships heal and grow. I’ve seen that time after time. I am seeing it now with my own sisters. So maybe more than anything else, that last year with MoC showed me that while there is breath, there is hope. And maybe I won’t need that steel so much anymore.

When I left “the home” (as MoC called it) for the last time at 4:30 in the morning, this is the song I heard on the radio.

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