“Sweet Caroline! Dun dun dun. Good times never seemed so good!”. At that point my mom would shout “so good! So good!” as she threw her arms in the air, imitating what happened when the song played live in concert. She did the same thing every.single.time. it came on (Which I might add, was about four times a week thanks to the mix cd that she insisted I make her). To this day, I can’t help but to think of her each time I hear it. The first few years after her death, the song was a trigger for instant tears. However, with the 6 year anniversary of her death upon us, the song finally brings me the same amount of nostalgic joy that it once brought her.
My mom was a beautiful person. She was a hopeful romantic and she was a dreamer. She once wrote on a very official debate tournament semi finals ballot that her reason for voting the way she did was because the winning team ‘had more spunk’ than the opposing team. She would drive 10 laps around a parking lot if that’s what it took to get a prime parking spot, and her broccoli cheddar soup would put Panera bread to shame. She was not perfect, but she found so much joy in the silliest things, and I know she would have been the most loving grandma to my son.
She was never able to meet the love of my life, and she was never able to meet my baby boy. For that, there will always be some sadness. But I can feel her in our lives each and every day. When my son points to her photos, and when I turn the car radio on to one of her favorite songs, she is there. When I am scared or nervous or lost, I remember the silly pieces of advice she would give me, and she is there. When I snuggle up with one of her throw blankets or a family member shares (an always hilariously ridiculous) story about her, she is there. The fact that my mom will never have the chance to hold my son or to hug my husband is a fact I had to face long ago. But she is there in spirit and memory each and every time that I need her to be, and that is enough.
So on this sad day, I am going to choose to be thankful for the precious years I had with her. I am going to be thankful for the love that she put in my heart and the lessons that she taught me both before and after her death. I am thankful for the fond memories that I can share with my husband and son, and I am thankful for the truly amazing family members that have been there for me in the moments that she couldn’t be.
Six years ago today, the party in heaven got a little bit crazier. With terrible dance moves, rum/diet coke in hand, and surely wearing a hot pink sparkly dress, my mom made her heaven debut, and the world lost a special woman too soon. Flip flops in paradise, rest in peace mama.