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16 years ago tonight I got the call that my mom had died.

She had a major stroke the previous late October, resulting in her going into a coma. After 2 weeks in the hospital she was taken home to rest in a hospice bed in her livingroom. My then wife and I were able to take time off from graduate school to help at home. But we had to be back in school in Cincinnati for the new quarter.

I do not know what it is like to have grandparents.

I do not know what it like to have a dad.

They all died when I was very young (my paternal grandfather died 5 years before I was born).

But I knew my mom. The woman I was named after, and who people think I look a lot like. I had friends who told me they wish they could have been their mom.

And I miss her a lot.

Every day I wish I could hug her again.

I wish she could meet her grandsons, and do all of the things grandparents and grandchildren do together. I wish they could go to her on place on Christmas and open presents.

But she died before either one was born.

My mom would have been happy to have more grandchildren but even happier they would be in the same town as her. All of the others lived in Derry, New Hampshire, and she didn't see them much.

Duncan has red hair, and Vaughn has auburn hair, which would have made my mom very happy.

She would have also been happy I was back in Pittsburgh. It broke her heart when I moved away.

I have a few things of hers. The afghan and pillows she crocheted after retiring for one. My sons have used the afghan on occasion, and I like to think it is their grandmother making sure they are warm.

Her good china set and good silverware. I use them on Thanksgiving and Christmas, or the rare times when friends come over for dinner.

These things are a connection.

So if she can not be here, at least there are ways to remember and connect.
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