Last year's Mother's Day was a little too soon to talk about this, but it's been well over a year since my mom's death. In that period there has been a number of developments. I've concluded the disposition of her estate, the family has had time to absorb the extent of her loss, and we are pulling together even closer than we were before.
One nice thing about Facebook is that it allows a glimpse into the lives of the younger generation of family members. I'm enjoying watching them and occasionally participating in their fun. This year they were the ones who started a virtual toast to their grandmother's memory. One of those who participated in this toast was my niece Kim, who just graduated from law school today, one of the many high achievers in my family. I'm very proud of her and I know Mom would have been too.
Part of the legacy in the title of this post is that at least two people in the family have dedicated work to my mom in the last year. My daughter, Liz Shannon Miller, wrote a lovely play about a romance writing mom and her would-be writer daughter, naming both characters after my mom. I think she used some of the loss she felt over her grandmother's death in the play, although she had that deft humorous touch that I love in her writing.
I've dedicated my next Gaian book, Beloved Stranger, to my mom, partially because she enjoyed my not-quite-so-sexy material best and the Gaian series is more sensual than erotic. That book isn't out until August, although I did have an erotic vampire/werewolf story, Shanghaied come out last Friday.
Mom enjoyed the fact I wrote novels, even if they weren't always to her taste.
I think her favorite book of mine was Christmas With Sarah, a straight contemporary book about a man who'd dropped out of life after his wife's death, but then fell in love with an artist working as a waitress. The original title of this book was "A Man With A Purpose" because the plot revolved around the heroine encouraging the hero to get back to the work he was so good at, reorganizing small software companies so that they survive hard economic times.
One of the things I learned from my mom was that people should have purpose in this life, that it wasn't enough to drift along like a jellyfish. We need goals and accomplishments, regardless of who we are. She raised four daughters, and was involved in the lives of the nine grandchildren and the one great-grandchild that followed.
What my family accomplishes is part of Mom's legacy. And that's a good thing.
Janet Miller/Cricket Starr