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Some days I miss my mother with an intense ache that just will not abate.

Our adult lives could not have more different. She was mostly a single mother who worked from the age of fourteen, barely stopping to bear her two children. I have mostly been a stay at home mom, with a deeply committed and providing husband by my side.

As we both aged, we moved beyond daughter/mother to deep abiding friendship. A deep abiding friendship. I did not realize how unique this was until listening to other women reflect on their mother. What an exceptional gift I had with a woman who had such a zest for life, despite all the pain she suffered. Her greatest gift was her wide-open heart for she loved and cared for everyone she met. She personified the phrase that “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it( said by Atticus Finch in the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird ).

I miss her even more now because the things she said to me when she was MY age make so much more sense. I long to ask her about this stage of life, how she remained so open to loving others and how she allowed herself to grow and change.

So, today, I breathe in deeply and immerse myself in memories. Now that a sufficient time of eight years has past, I can linger in a memory of her with less pain. Instead, I focus on how gratifying it is that I still miss her now, as much as I cherished her when she was still here.

And really, isn’t that what we all want in life?

To live with intensity, to experience deep emotions in life and to be remembered with intense emotion?