I lost my mom yesterday. It was unexpected -- sort of.
She was actually diagnosed with cancer about a year after I started Love Letters. The cancer wasn't what ended things. It was some weird, acute infection. Very random, very rare. Everyone at the hospital looked shocked because they thought she had many years ahead of her.
I'm over-sharing a bit today because you letter writers are always so exposed in this column, and I get to be nice and private for the most part.
Four years ago, when my mom was diagnosed, we decided that she'd move to Boston. She loved it here, and we tried to forget that cancer was one of her reasons for relocating.
During these years, I've had many Love Letters questions of my own. How can I be fun on a date when I'm anxious about my mom's health? Or yesterday, shortly after she died, was it safe to let ex-boyfriends show up to comfort me? Will their attention confuse me? Because my instinct was to want to stand next to them, remembering a different time, when things were easier.
Maybe you have some advice for me. I don't know.
What I do know is that Jewish people sit shiva, which is basically a mourning period after death where you sit around. It's probably more complicated than that, but my immediate family isn't very observant. Yesterday, when the doctors asked me if my mom was religious, I explained that she was a musician. She went to Juilliard, and concert halls were churches to her. (I know you all hate that I love the movie "Twilight," but one of the reasons is that it got my mom's piano students excited about Debussy. Robert Pattinson listens to Clair de Lune in that movie, and all of a sudden my mom's young students were desperate to learn the piece. Mom called the film "piano teacher porn.")
My version of shiva involves sweatpants, food, and taking a day off from Love Letters, which entertained her so much, especially during boring cancer treatments. We'll be back to regular letters on Monday, but for today, I'd like you to do me a favor. My mom was a ridiculous romantic. She was weirdly incapable of cynicism when it comes to love, which earned her more than a few eye-rolls from me. I'd love you to use today's comments space to tell me a romantic story, post a link to a romantic song, or give me some advice about the questions I mentioned earlier.
Thank you for helping with shiva and all of this. And as I mentioned yesterday, she was the best lurker.
Now, if you don't mind, help.