I miss my mother so much.
When I was young she encouraged me as I embraced the Habs, and she helped me write early fan letters to the Rocket and others. She took a genuine interest in the team, and I remember how amazed she was when she learned that Marcel Bonin wrestled bears in the off-season, how she thought it was funny that Henri Richard was a leap year baby, loved that Boom Boom Geoffrion would sometimes sing on TV, and was absolutely delighted that Jacques Plante liked to knit.
As I grew older she’d listen politely when I played my Bob Dylan records for her, even though she must have chuckled later when I wasn’t looking. She’d nod and applaud when I sang the Hollies’ “Bus Stop” as I banged drum sticks on a foot stool. She cut up an old fur coat and made me a vest after we’d seen Sonny Bono on TV wearing one. She watched with me as bands would play on the Ed Sullivan Show, and she never criticized or said they looked or sounded ridiculous. She liked my long hair, loved my crazy friends, and seemed happy for me when a buddy and I sailed to England on an ocean liner when I turned 18.
But I know she worried about me when I lived on the edge, and it eats at me now that I put her through all that. She had never stopped loving me, even though I had become someone she couldn’t have been all that proud of.
Along with those letters from the Montreal Canadiens that I found recently and put on these pages, were also letters from my mom when I was hitchhiking around the country, sleeping in ditches, living dirt poor on the coast, and sowing some serious oats. She knew drugs had become a big part of my life, but she never lectured me when I’d see her, or in the letters she’d send. She worried if I was eating enough, if I was safe and happy, and that she’d recently sent money orders for five or ten dollars to help me buy food, which was a lot of money for her, and she hoped that I had gotten them.
I must have disappointed her to no end, and if only I could go back and change some things. I should’ve been a better son, there’s no denying. Another letter I found recently, from my sister, mentions that mom lived for my letters and was worried sick. So I smiled when I read my old Habs letters, and ached and welled up when I read letters from home.
I miss my mom so much, and when I’m in Orillia, I can’t visit her at the cemetery. It’s too hard. I can barely just drive by the place.
Below was my mom’s favourite Habs photo. She’d always laugh and mention how no one was paying any attention to the adults in the background because the Rocket was there. I think she saw a lot of me in those boys.
Below that is a picture of me when I was 19, which I’ve shown here before. Those were the days when my lifestyle must have kept her awake on far too many nights. I was all about a selfish me back then, and she would die a decade later, never knowing my kids or seeing that I didn’t become the bum she thought I might become. (I’m the punk in white, with the stubby beer bottle).
I just want to see her again, and if I could, I’d like to say sorry. Then I’d pull out some drum sticks and a foot stool and sing her another song. I loved my mom so much, and I know she’d smile and applaud.