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Nancy Evans Kelly

I woke up feeling wretched from too little sleep and too much beer. When I was riding the 57 down to Brookside I looked up at the red flashing marquee on a passing bank, and noticed the date: July 24th. It occurred to me right then that my mother would be sixty years old today, if she was still alive. I got a little choked up right there on the bus at the realization. An incurable cancer killed her ten years ago in April.

When I think about her face, it feels like yesterday that she was telling me as I stood on the running board of the van in the winter of 1990 on the paper route that it was 23 degrees below zero. Only yesterday that she hugged my tears away when I was convinced that there was nothing about me that anybody would ever like, and reassured me that I was lovable, interesting, and funny.

But it's been ten years. It's difficult to know how to feel. Even now it seems amazing that I really never will see her again in my life. It's also amazing to me that I've now been without my mother for fully one third of my life. She was a remarkable woman. She touched so many lives in her forty-nine years that there were people standing in the aisles at St. Thomas Church in Peoria Heights for her funeral. I was only nineteen years old when she died, and I wasn't damned well ready to lose her yet. I still had a lot of growing up to do, and no mother to see to it that I didn't go astray.

I was forced to carry on alone, as there was nobody else in my family- immediate or extended -with whom I had that connection, and there never would be again. I've made a lot of mistakes since then, but I've tried hard to be the man she was trying to raise. I like to think that she'd be proud of me, but I suppose I'll never know. I guess that's the nature of death. All I can do is keep trying, and use the feedback of those that I love and that love me back to set the bar.

I get like this every couple of years. I suppose I just really miss my mom.

2:19 PM, Jul 24, 2008

6 comments

Renae cut in with:

I can't believe 10 years have passed. I will never forget her funeral because it was so very obvious how much she was loved, how much she loved her family and what an extraordinary woman she was! It was also obvious how many people cared about your dad, Julia, Brian, and you and always will. I know she is proud of you!

2:29 PM, Jul 24, 2008

rachel replied:

way to make me tear up in the middle of the day, jerk

8:08 PM, Jul 24, 2008

Renae offered:

I am so sorry. I left Rachel out and I am so sorry about that!!!!

9:31 PM, Jul 24, 2008

chris brooked no delay in saying:

great post.

12:13 PM, Jul 25, 2008

ck responded:

Kelly's, I can remember that funeral mass and the celebration afterwards like it was yesterday. Your mother was a great woman and she lives on in each of you.

2:25 PM, Jul 25, 2008

Nick interrupted with:

Indeed, a great post.

5:29 PM, Jul 26, 2008

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