Remembering Milly



“Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart.  

I can tell you that the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is-“Jim Carrey

Hollyhocks. My mom loved them.

They grew on the sunny side of her house, so tall and beautiful.

My mom was born today on October 18th, in 1922.

She lived a long time. She made a big difference in this world. She had 9 children, a solid marriage, and a big career. She would have been 90 years old today.

And she loved her hollyhocks.

When she died the day after my son’s 16th birthday, 3 years ago, I remember thinking about those flowers in a whimsical way, a fond way to remember my mom.

But moments later, it sunk in. My mom was dead. My grief was not whimsical at all. It was ugly. I was afraid. I can’t describe the blackness I felt.  Milly,  my one and only mom,  was lost.

I mean, who would care about those hollyhocks? Who would notice that she walked her black lab around the lake every single day? Who would ever know or care that she said “this is the happiest day of my life” more times than I could count? Who would say, “I hope someone is extremely nice to you today’” to the store clerk? How could I ever tell someone who she was? How do you describe someone like your mom? How do you live without her on the planet?

My mom worked miracles with mentally ill people. They couldn’t remember her properly, that’s for sure. Who would ever know about her being a little girl in the hospital with scarlet fever, worried about her dog? Who would share her stories about growing up before cars were common? Of course, my 8 siblings and their families and her friends would remember her, but I wanted the whole world to mourn this loss-it seemed so big to me.

She planted small tomato soup cans in the ground and then surprised her children with a big can of tomato juice buried in the same spot.

“You see? If you plant something properly, look what happens! It grows!”

My mom was walking, talking, sleeping, crazy, BIG unconditional love. She inspired people to be kinder, funnier, smarter and better.

I’ll write more about her for sure, but I just want to say this:

I remember you, beautiful. And I remember your hollyhocks. I will try, each and every day, to be as kind and beautiful, as you.

Thank you for my life.

“If you plant something properly, it grows!”- Mildred G



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