What might have been

Forty years ago today my Mom died. Some of it feels like a long time ago, and some of it as if it happened yesterday. I remember being at the hospital that day, and breaking down and sobbing at a pay phone in the hall. Maybe it was just a public phone, and I don’t remember who I had called. My family never really got over her being taken away from us so soon; the echoes of her departure are apparent to anyone who is close to us.

To everyone who has ever lost a parent, I get it. I think of her often and think of what might have been, what should have been, these last forty years.

Helen Susan Bates Nichols, who was taken from us in 1982 at the age of 46. She would have enjoyed and enriched the time between then and now.

I don’t know where my brother Don was, but here she is with the rest of us, circa 1976.

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