THOUGHTS ON HEARING MY MOM'S VOICE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ELEVEN YEARS, TODAY

My dad recently had a bunch of our home videos converted to digital files. For Mother's Day he sent my brother and I two videos of us with our Mom, about four years before she died. It was the fist time I've seen her on video or heard her voice since 2003.
  1. That's her! That's what her voice sounded like! Is that what she sounded like?
    My brother and I agreed that there was some distortion in the conversion process, so sometimes she sounded less like what I remembered. But I think her voice in my head is often combined with my own voice, and perhaps that's what I was expecting to hear. But it was her's alone and it took my breath away and felt like a punch to the gut and as though a thousand angels were singing, all at once.
  2. She's beautiful.
    It was so nice to see her before she was sick, especially as so many of my most recent memories are of the last year, when she was rapidly succumbing to breast cancer. Tall, blonde, amazing posture, confidence in her every move.
  3. She was badass.
    My mom sold our house and bought a new one after our parents divorced and the videos show her talking about the house whilst roaming about the backyard, our dog and cat following her every move. Our khaleesi, the queen of her domain. This strong independent woman walking around brandishing a garden tool, basically just running shit like a total boss.
  4. She was so positive!
    My brother and I were so blown away to see these little slices of our lives in which through every conversation we're having she's consistently optimistic about life. The divorce was hard on her, and moving was a part of that challenge, and yet here she is talking about how she loves her new house, how it's the perfect house for her and how we were so lucky to have our old house, the one we grew up in, and that we should save it to our "memory banks." Her positivity was, and still is, inspiring.
  5. I look like her.
    I already knew that, as people constantly remind me, and I love it, especially noticing how we even dress alike (denim on denim!!!) but it still hits me every time how a part of her lives on in me. Forever and always. I'm so lucky to be a near carbon copy of this amazing woman!
  6. She loved my brother and I so much.
    We were the sun and stars around which her universe orbited. This is evident in every conversation in these short video clips -- from her suggestion I wear blue nail polish to match my blue mascara (it's 1999, for reference) to her patience with my brother, home from college during spring break, acting a little too cool to be driving around his mom and kid sister.
  7. Palmer Wilson Craig Stamell
    1950-2003
  8. Josh and I took a crying selfie after we watched the videos. It was a cathartic experience.
    I love my brother. It's so comforting that as adults we live just a few blocks apart and hang out frequently. We are so lucky to have each other and these amazing memories of our amazing mom!!!!
  9. Happy Mothers Day, to moms and children everywhere. ❤️❤️❤️