Pneumococcal Sepsis. She fell ill on Monday while teaching her third grade class. It was the first day back after spring break. On Friday (Good Friday) she died.

If she’d had a pneumonia shot within the correct timeframe, she wouldn’t have died. Plain and simple. That’s what they told us at the hospital. Pneumonia shots are necessary if you don’t have a spleen, and hers had ruptured in a car accident in 1975. We almost lost her then, but she managed to live another twenty-three years.

“Leave it to mom to die on the same day as Jesus Christ,” I tried to joke, because humor is often our family’s way of coping.

I’ve not been fond of Easter since. I hate it, actually. People don’t die and come back to life. If they did, my mom would be here because back then I had all the faith in the world. I believed that even though her extremities were black, her heart had stopped, her skin was blistered and rupturing, and her chest had not risen in breath for over a half hour, she could still stand up and walk out of that room with me. I only had to have enough faith to equal a grain of mustard seed, and God...god...knows I did.

I willed it to happen. I begged for it to happen. I watched for it to happen. Even when her twin sister sprawled across her dead body, sobbing, I knew God could make it happen.

And yet, there in the waiting area, my dad, my little sisters and I formed a group hug. Someone else wrapped their arms around all of us as we tried to comprehend that on Monday she was with us, and on Friday she was not. It was surreal.

I don’t think about it often anymore, but it was twenty-one years on April 10th. Twenty-one years seems more significant for some reason.

I have exceeded her age by two years now. I’ve forgotten her voice. I only remember how it felt to hug her when her sister Lisa hugs me.

We had a lot of unresolved issues. It took about nineteen years to resolve them without her.

I miss her.

I wish she could see my kids. Education was so incredibly important to her. I can’t even imagine the level of pride she would feel in her grandchildren. College degrees, graduate schools, and one in his third year of medical school.

Don’t tell me she sees them. I don’t believe that. Her brilliant energy has continued elsewhere. It flows through the universe, and is part of the beauty all around us.

I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from her forty-seven years. I’m grateful she chose to give birth to me, even though she was only eighteen, and in her first year of college, when she became pregnant. The first in her family to go to college. But she chose me. I guess for all the times I’ve lamented never having been chosen, I’ve overlooked the most significant time of mom chose me.

-Syndicated columnist Ginger Claremohr is an author, motivational speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web:, or contact