Discover more from Bury Me in New Jersey
I’ve been posting a lot recently about my recent frustrations and navigations through life lessons learned, but I feel it fair to report that the past couple of weeks have also had their strange silver linings.
I recently reverted back to using my maiden name at my job, which is amusing, because this is the one place where the shift back to my old name seems strange. Everyone there knew me from my married name, whereas most other people in my life still referred to me by my “old” last name… At any rate, the past few weeks have been a challenge for my coworkers, who now have to deal with more syllables and a much more difficult spelling than before.
A few days after I made the change, I was corresponding with one of my project managers and a medical writer on our team about one of the pieces we were working on. There had been a few emails back and forth after hours, nothing terribly exciting… After the exchange concluded, I received another email from the medical writer.
“Your last name is not very common. Do you happen to know someone named Rene? I used to work with her in the hospital…” I stared at my phone in disbelief for a moment. I’ve now been at my job for more than 3 years, and work very closely with this woman on a regular basis, never knowing she knew my mother.
We exchanged a few emails back and forth, and I confirmed that Rene was my mom and told her I would love to hear anything she remembered. It turns out they worked very closely together at one of the hospitals and she had a ton of great stories and memories to share. “You’re mom was a force to be reckoned with,” she said in one of our correspondences.
I couldn’t wait to tell my dad about the encounter the next day, and I could tell from his voice when I called him he was just as excited by it as I was. Even my coworkers were thrilled to hear about the connection and seemed just as genuinely excited as I was about it.
The experience has also got me thinking a lot about a project that I’ve been considering for a while that I think I’m finally ready to pursue: I want to collect the stories that people have of my mother and record them so they are all available in one place. One of the things that brings the greatest comfort to me is hearing the memories that people have held on to of my mother. Especially since I lost her before I feel like I really knew who she was as a person, each tidbit people share is a way for me to discover who she was, who I come from. In a lot of ways that whole “it takes a village” mentality is true for preserving the memory of my mother: each person’s memory of her, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, helps me to better understand the person she was. In some ways, this is bittersweet, because I begin to understand even more what I’ve lost out on by not having her around, but it also makes me glad to know that so many others still carry her with them.
So… now, my dear friends, family, and readers, if you have any memory or memories of my mother–no matter how big or small–please share them with me. Whether it’s a story, a particular detail about her, etc–I would love to know it. I’d also love any photos you might have, too. You can contact me at sara @ burymeinnj . com (no spaces) with anything you might have. I look forward to reading/seeing them all!!