Marisette Edwards-van Linden van den Heuvell

A toast

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September 20, 2015

Tonight I caught a beautiful sunset over the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh. I do that every chance I get. I didn’t seek out and buy a house on the East bank of the Allegheny River to squander the chance to see the sun set over the water any time it happens, even if it’s a bunch of days in a row. I’d like more chances, and less distractions.

I wish my mother were here with me tonight. She loved water and sunsets and instilled the love in me. I have a memory of her taking me to what I’m pretty sure is this very location when we first moved to Pittsburgh decades ago. It may be why it felt so special immediately.

I sat rocking on the floating dock, listening to the river lapping, basking in the setting sun and raising my glass of wine to my parents. Mom would have loved sitting on the dock with me, toasting the end of a wonderful day on the water, and listening to the ducks paddling around sharing their mysterious chatter. People say she’s still with me and I agree to a certain extent, but sometimes it just makes the ache that much more painful that she is not here in the flesh.

I’m so very close to reaching the age that Mom was when she was told her cancer was terminal and she had only about six months to live. 55 doesn’t seem all that young, unless it’s you, or it’s your incredibly beautiful, vibrant, and loving mother who has always grabbed life by the tail and you’re only 34 with two young kids who may not even remember her. Then it seems pitifully young. Mom helped me survive my cancer when I was just 25. And then it took her away from me when I still needed her very much. Now I’m getting close to surpassing her in age. I’m trying to get my mind around how I would feel right now hearing that I only had six more months. There is so much I still want to do! And I know she felt that too. She loved her grandsons and my Dad, and all of her children, and she wanted to be with us. And the hole she left behind in our lives is still far from closing.

Every day I strive to honor her memory by finding the joy in life. Yes there is work to be done, yes there are details needing attention, and yes, time is passing while goals are not being met. But today is sunny and beautiful, the sun is sparkling on the water, winter is just around the corner, and what is actually more important than just sitting and enjoying the bounty nature provided at this moment? I think Mom would probably agree. A toast. To you, Mom.

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