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The Power of a Mother

She's gone.
Not her love for me.
Not her love for her family.
Not her love for her friends.
Not her love for life.

It lives on in me.
The watered-down version.
I'm not down on myself.
I'm happy to have known her.
To pass along what she gave me.
And I have other things.

I'm clear that while I am not her.
A little piece of her lives in me.
That's enough.
And that's more than most.

My job is to pass along the best of her.
The best of me.
To this one here.
Her initials.
Her namesake.

They teach you about unconditional love in Catholic school.
You hear it over and over again.
No strings attached.
No tradebacks.
No limits.

And while many hear it, learn it, think they give it, think they have it.
It's rare.
It's hard.
It's fleeting.

We love with conditions.
Except the love of a mother for her child.
The purest example I have is mine.
As I hope you have with yours.

The greatest gift I can give her is to let her live on.
In me.
In my child.

If yours is alive, I'm jealous.
If yours is not perfect, none are.
If yours is not here, remember the good parts.
And if you can't do that, I'm sorry.

Because it's so easy for me to remember how I felt when she was in the room.
So much that I cry thinking about it.
A painful cry from the pit of my stomach, lodged deep in my throat.
The best things hurt when they're gone.
A price I'd pay again.

She filled the room with smiles.
Even in the hard times.
You heard her listen.
You felt her warmth.
You knew her love.

It never ends.
If I do my job.
And she does hers.
And that's the power of my mom.