On February 6, 2010, I learned my mom was going to die—not in an abstract, non-immediate way, but in the very near future.

Whether I mark the date consciously or not, my mood shifts yearly in early February, as I remember what it was like to discover I would be saying goodbye soon. Too soon.

sexy mama fiancee

Today I had Valentine’s Day lunch with my fiancee and his mom. The restaurant’s playlist was one my mom could have chosen herself.

I felt her near, but not in a mournful way. Rather, I felt her near in all the love:

  • For my fiancee: Mom only met him once, but she loved him immediately. My last voicemails are ones in which she urged me to marry him. Preferably in 2009.
  • For my fiancee’s mom: Her ways were strange to me, as I have mentioned before, but her love is unwavering. My son would rather be with his grandma than just about anywhere else on this planet.
  • For my fiancee’s grandmom: I love her so much. I can’t even tell you why I love her, especially when she’s watching her 17th consecutive hour of Fox News, but I do. Completely.
  • For my siblings, including Nick: Did I harass them endlessly when I was younger? Yes, yes, I did. And yet it was their love, more even than my mom’s, that filled me with the certainty I was loved no matter where I went or what I did. It was their love that made me feel unstoppable, and their love that gave me the strength to pass through my life’s hardest trial’s.
  • DSC00344For my sisters-of-heart Darth, who introduced me to the goodness of girlfriends and whose presence—or even the thought thereof—calms when I am so overwrought I can barely think, and Amelia, who started out as my little sister, but who has taught me more than I could possibly ever have taught her.
  • For my friends El and Mackenzie, who talk me through anything and everything without judgment or scorn, but rather with love and reason. I spoke with one of them today, but both of them are forever in my heart. Unceasingly.
  • DSC00035For my ex, Nathan: He remembers my mom before she was not-Mom. Every time I think of him, I remember her asking, “Are you sitting on my daughter’s lap?!” and him shifting seats immediately before saying, “Uh, no. No, ma’am.” He flew down to Los Angeles to drive me and my son up to visit my mom for what I knew would likely be my son’s and my mom’s only meeting, ever. Before we drove, he hugged my not-then-fiancee goodbye and swore to him that he would take me and my son safely to Oregon to meet my mama. When my mom died 2.5 months later, he stood with my siblings and me as we watched my mom’s casket be laid to rest in the cold, hard earth. He hummed Kenny Rogers with us as we sang our final farewell, and I was comforted to know he was there. Always.
  • HomeFor, again, my fiancee: He knew I didn’t want to take home any of my mom’s funny knick-knacks, but overrode my protests by telling my mom, “Yes, yes, we can make room for this. Absolutely.” His compassion and gentleness with my mom combine in memory two of the people I love most, so that I look at him and remember him with her, and know her love as if she were with me now.

I’ve never been the sort for Valentine’s Day. Romantic love? Pchah, who cares? But I am always, always, the sort for love, and today, though I am tearful, I am a million times over grateful that my life is so full of love that I can dismiss at will a day that’s meant to be dedicated to it . . .

. . . because my life is full of it, every day.

Every single day.


  1. February 14, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Deborah,

    This was so sad and so beautiful. I could almost feel the love that you have all around you, as you sweetly listed the root of the emotion for each of the people who you hold dear. The interaction of your ex and your fiance with you and your mom placed a lump in my throat. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad to have read your writing.

  2. February 14, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Well, I feel like a zombie today, exausted and completely drained from Maycee fighting the flu and waking up in the middle of the night for days. But, even as a zombie, I have had the best and most special Valentine’s Day of my life with quiet unique moments-not commercially driven ones. And, this post, it just provides the most complete satisfaction to a day already blessed with hearts and butterflies in and all around me. Thanks for sharing, Deb. Love you and love your inner beauty and soul. ♥♥-SWM

  3. February 14, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    This post leaves me breathless (and teary-eyed). My mom died on March 14 and this time of year always gives me a little feeling of dread. You’re lucky, and so am I, to have so many people in our lives to love and that love us. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, dear!

  4. February 14, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I had a hard time liking this, I searched and searched I couldn’t find the love, the hugs the hold my arms around all the people you love for just one minute so I can breath it in.

    So when I couldn’t find any of those buttons, I liked it and thought all those things instead. I thought them and hoped all my best thoughts flew through the air to you, touched your heart and rested on the edge of your thoughts for just one minute. Just one brief minute where you could feel what I felt reading this.

    The depth of you compassion, empathy and your ability to express your marvelous heart leaves me wondering when the rest of us will be touched as you have been. What a world we would live in. I am not envious, because you share instead I am grateful; thank you.

  5. February 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Your positive energy is really impressive and motivating. I go through February and March with an underlying sadness and frustration because my dad died March 1, 1988 and my mom died Feb. 10, 1994. So, February and March just stink and in the northeast, we have cold, damp and stormy weather to match my mood. In fact, each of my parents’ funerals was delayed because of bad weather. Yet, in contrast I do like the romance and colors of today, Feb. 14. I always wear pink or red, share candy and sweet thoughts and cook red food (lobster, steak and shrimp tonight!!!). I find myself compelled to celebrate the love I share with my family and friends and that does lift my February/March blues.

    Reading your blog also makes me feel good. You do have so much to appreciate and be thankful for and I just love that you live life to the fullest and open your heart to so many other loves! xoxo

  6. Running from Hell with El
    February 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Love you so much. I’m honored and blessed by your friendship.

  7. February 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    A good day for love and memories. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Miranda Gargasz
    February 15, 2013 at 4:26 am


  9. February 15, 2013 at 7:10 am

    To be filled with it every day is the best one could ever hope for 🙂 . ‘Love’ly.

  10. February 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

    This is so beautiful, you’ve had me in tears throughout the entire reading. Your appreciation of love is so infectious! Thank you for sharing. Thank you for reminding me to have, and keep, this perspective. I heart you!

  11. February 15, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Lovely. It’s wonderful to have a life so full of loving people, isn’t it? That’s the greatest blessing in life. (P.S. I’m impressed by the description of your very amicable relationship with your ex! That’s special.)

  12. February 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I have no words because my heart is too full to speak.

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