Today, my mom would have been 79 years old. Most, if not all, the major life choices I made for myself were unfathomable to her. Some of them were harder and took longer to accept but she raised me to be independent enough to make them, and she never quit trying to understand. All the ways she loved me, how hard she worked to love me, become clearer now, from a distance. Like my mom, I sit alone, drinking my coffee in a home as quiet and still in the early morning as hers used to be; as I think about her, it doesn’t seem possible she’s gone. Happy Birthday, Mom.