Today is the anniversary of Margery Naomi Brown’s passing, on June 28th in 2000 at the age of 78. I spoke with her on the last Sunday in June, and found out the following Wednesday that she was gone. And although it’s been 13 years, I remember that day as vividly as though it happened a mere week ago.
A year after I moved to British Columbia (1998), my boss sent me to a school in Victoria to do an installation (at the time I worked for a software company). I was on a ferry going to Vancouver Island, in the cafeteria having a bite to eat, when an older couple at a table about two over stood up and left. It took me a minute to realize that the woman had left her purse behind. When I reported it, the gentleman I spoke to asked me to describe the person. I did. Just then, the woman walked back into the cafeteria. I pointed and told him that the purse belonged to her. He gave me a funny look. It wasn’t until then that I realized I hadn’t described the woman correctly at all. Instead, I had described my mother.
I didn’t need a PhD in Psychology to know that I missed having conversations over lunch with Mum; going to The Tea Cozy in Osborne Village; or window shopping the more expensive stores in Polo Park (we called it breathing the air – because that’s all we could afford). She had a sense of humour that manifested itself in surprising ways. She gave me gifts – a well-rounded education, a love of the Arts, a passion for writing, a strong sense of right and wrong and many other intangibles too numerous to mention – that I never really thanked her for.
And then there was the matter of electricity. I’ve been afraid of plugging in anything, especially new appliances, for as long as I can remember. On that Sunday, the last time I spoke to her, I was going to ask her if I had ever did the bobby-pin-in-the-socket thing as a toddler, but it slipped my mind. Next conversation, I told myself. After all, my grandmother lived until she was 94. I was thinking that we had plenty of time for her to answer those questions only she could answer.
As is the story of many mother-daughter relationships, we were best friends one day and mortal enemies the next. Yes, while I would like the little mystery of my history with electricity cleared up, most of all I regret not telling my mother often enough how much I loved her.