It's my past. My childhood. The memory of my birth, the way I was as an infant. The way I was before my sister or my brother came into being.
It's a calm voice to soothe my fears that I would lose. The temperate and peaceful way of listening that she gives with her whole being. The intelligence she brings to any issue and the genuine and careful striving after advice and answers that SUIT.
It's the human Google that is my mother that I would lose: knowing that I can ask her just about anything and she will know the answer. It's the knowledge that no matter how good I am (or was) at Trivial Pursuit or card games, my mother ALWAYS WINS. I would lose my access to the most amazing memory database on the planet.
It's the stories from my past and my mother's past and my father's and our family's that I would lose, that would recede into frayed and dimming dreams. I would lose my status as a daughter, with my father already gone, and be forced into adult full time. Good lord, I'd be orphaned!
I would lose one of the very, very few people that I know I could tell anything to, and know myself safe in the telling of. Not that I HAVE told my mom everything I have to tell, but I know I COULD if I needed to, without being judged.
It's her patience I would lose, when I need all I can get. Her daily example of how to live well, how to be a better person, how to give back to the world and the community and the family.
It's the personal long-distance shopper that I would lose. Knowing that I can ask my mom to pick up chocolate chips or clothes from my favorite Stateside store has made my life abroad that much easier because she has always been willing to help stave off my homesickness or cravings with care packages and envelopes of books.
It's her sense of humor that I would lose, knowing just how to tell a story that will crack her up, knowing what will make her smile or grimace or roll her eyes right back at me.
It's the smiles on the faces of my children when they see their grandmother that would be only a glowing memory. It's their sense of belonging as well as mine; their place in this tree of relatives and family. It's a virtual umbilical cord that keeps me, keeps us, connected to my place of birth, my family, my siblings, my past and present and future selves all rolled up into one complicated package.
It's the unconditional love that I would lose.
Some day, I know that I will have to face this loss and deal with it. But right now, I am so grateful and thankful and relieved that it is NOT YET. It is NOT NOW.