Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Today is my mom's 61st birthday.  

Last year we decided to plan a surprise trip to Galena, but I'm no good with secrets.  Having fun is fun, but looking forward to fun adds so much enjoyment.  Plus, then she could get a haircut if she wanted.

Mom hadn't been home in seven years, since she left our home home in a hurry after she and my dad split up.  I was worried she wouldn't want to go.  I felt like it was so long overdue.  I'd been talking to her a lot about potentially moving home again.  But she was excited and up for it. 

Walker and I drove from Champaign to Sleepy Hollow, picked up Mom, and headed to Galena.  We checked in to a hotel that didn't exist when we lived there, by girls we didn't know.  

But then we went downtown, joined my mom's friend. Had a beer at the Gold Room, running in to people I went to high school with and the mom of a girl I was in theater productions with, while we waited for a table at Cannova's, our table request taken by someone I worked with there 12 years ago.

Went spent the rest of the evening with my mom's adopted daught/best friend.

Saturday morning, Annie arrived and we headed toward the Wisconsin border to visit another of my mom's favorite people.  It was there we took the photos that would end up being used in her funeral announcements and cards. 

Dinner at Vinnie Vannuchi's with three awesome Galena women.  Then a bar crawl, all over town.  

 A few days later, Mom spent her actual birthday with Amy.

The weekend was amazing, and seemed to invigorate my mom.  She reconnected with a friend active promoting the rights and independence of the disabled, who pointed my mom in the direction of Speak Up, Speak Out, a conference we all attended in November.

There was so much momentum and excitement at this time last year, coming off the wedding and Make-A-Wish trip, charged by reconnecting with old friends, and looking forward to helping Amy take charge of her life.

And then, that momentum started to run dry, and months later, my mom was gone forever.  I am so disappointed and so sad.

I want to toast my mom today, but what I really feel is burning anger.  WHAT HAPPENED?  Where did the momentum go?  How did it turn into THIS?  How could we have gone so far in the opposite direction we predicted?

Mom, I miss you.  Every. Single. Day. 

Happy 61st birthday.  


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