I Remember Mama

TODAY IN 2000 the lady who brought me into this life left it.

Pneumonia was listed as the cause of death, but she was really killed by Alzheimer’s, a disease that, to all intents and purposes, had already taken her life back in 1993. What died in 2000 was not my mother, although I mourned her again when her body finally passed, and I was shocked by the depth of pain I felt at her demise. I thought I had already grieved for her during the seven years of her mental and spiritual extinguishment.

My mother was a natural comedian. If you’ve seen Woody Allen in a movie—particularly the early, funny ones—you’ve met her, in a way. The comedy was a defense against a despair she could never shake—because of what happened to her father, because of what happened to the boy she loved when she was a teenager, because because.

My mother loved her children more than anything, which is a big reason I love myself and can love others.

If there is a heaven, she is in it, and if she is in it, she is surprised and pissed off and complaining.

My mother never met my daughter, but I am startled by the ways my daughter sometimes reminds me of the grandmother she never knew.

Hi, Mom.

By Jeffrey Zeldman

“King of Web Standards”—Bloomberg Businessweek.

Designer at Automattic, Inc. Co-Founder, An Event Apart. Publisher, A List Apart & A Book Apart. Author. Father. He/him.