This marks the eleventh Mother's Day without Mom.
In general, it feels less painful, on any day but Mother's Day. I'm still elated to find notes in her handwriting (most recently on the backs of those old photos of Cindy and I and the sugar cube house).
Immediately after she died I remember thinking, "Well, there must be an afterlife, because it is unthinkable I'll never see my Mom again."
A few days before she died Mom had a conversation with her dead family. About a year after Mom died I looked into global tales of near-death experiences, thinking that if everyone saw the loved ones and light and the tunnel, then that would be interesting, and I might see Mom someday as she saw her relatives.
You know what? Christians see the welcoming peaceful light and the tunnel. Hindus? See four men standing at the four corners of the bed who then take the deceased up to the Book of the Dead, where they all argue that "This is a case of mistaken identity! You want Abdul the Gardener! I am Abdul the Baker!" Then they are thrown back to Earth. God knows what happens to Abdul the Gardener.
I asked a Hindu friend if she was familiar with this lore and she said no, she was an atheist anyway.
"Your Mom isn't dead," I thought at the time, because that was back when it was unthinkable I'd never see Mom again.
Now? It's been eleven years since I've seen Mom. The unthinkable has been my day-to-day, every day, for all that time. Never seeing Mom again? Pretty believable since I've seen eleven years of it.