We're coming up on the first-year anniversary of Mother Mary's passing.
But this isn't going to be a sad column.
Nobody hated sob stories more than Mother Mary.
You know her well enough to agree, if you've read the stories that Francesca and I have been writing about her for the last six years, in the newspaper and our books.
You may even have met her, if you came to one of our signings, where she was happy to monopolize the microphone.
I was delighted to have her at signings, because she did a hell of a job.
Also, the price was right.
She told every family secret there was to tell, and when she ran out, she made them up.
In other words, it's in my DNA to write fiction.
She also dressed better than Francesca and me, standing out in her lab coat like a geriatric Doogie Howser.
She often brought her back-scratcher to the signings and hit me with it, for effect. Otherwise, she used it to scratch her back in front of the crowd.
We Scottolines don't always confine our personal grooming to the house.
I could go on and on, saying things I remember about her, and those of you who have lost family members could do the same, about your loved ones who are no longer with us, in a physical sense.
You don't need me to tell you that they are always with us, in spirit.
And in fact, what's great to remember about Mother Mary is her spirit.
I always loved the story about the time I made her fly north to avoid a major hurricane heading for Florida. When she got off the plane, she was approached by a reporter who was interviewing people about the hurricane. The reporter came up to her, asking, "Did you come north because you're afraid of the hurricane?"
Mother Mary replied, "I'm not afraid of a hurricane. I am a hurricane."
This story is especially relevant because of something I've noticed, in the year since she's been gone.
Because I think she sent me a sign.
Have you seen a sign?
I've talked to my friends who have lost family members, and many of them think that their family member has sent them a sign from beyond, or wherever we go when we're not hanging around the kitchen anymore, standing in front of the refrigerator looking for something to eat.
One of my friends says that when she sees a monarch butterfly, she knows it's a sign from her late mother, who loved monarch butterflies. Another friend of mine thinks that a double rainbow is a sign from her late father, who loved double rainbows.
Even famous people see signs.
I heard Paul McCartney give an interview, wherein he said that after he lost his beloved wife Linda, he sat on a hill at night and asked for a sign from her about whether he should remarry. An owl hooted, and Paul decided that it was the go-ahead, so he married Heather Mills.
Whom he later divorced at a cost of $48 million.
After the Paul McCartney story, I started to be skeptical about signs from the departed.
I mean, come on, Paul.
Owls hoot at night.
But here's the sign I think I got from Mother Mary, and you tell me if I'm crazy.
Because it's a sign that only she could send.
Let's go back for a moment, to the day of her memorial service, which was very sad. It was a small and tasteful ceremony, but everybody was predictably teary, and that day, it was raining.
In fact, it was raining very hard.
It was raining almost hurricane-hard.
And after the service, we came home to my house, and it had rained so hard that my entrance hall was flooded.
I'm not talking about one or two inches of water.
I'm talking about four inches of water, so much that wet rugs had to be removed and you had to wade through it to get to the front door.
The water had evidently come in under the front door of the entrance hall, but that had never happened before.
And, dear reader, it never happened again.
In fact, it hasn't happened in the entire year, since the day of her funeral.
Recall that since we've experienced very hard rains, very hard snows, and sometimes a little of both.
At the same time.
In other words, there's been major weather.
But my entrance hall never flooded again.
Not even a drop.
And so I think it's a sign.
Mother Mary wasn't the type to send butterflies, rainbows, or hoot owls.
Hurricane Mary sent a hurricane.
And, so we wouldn't miss it, she put it in front of the front door.
That was Mother Mary.
She was a force of nature.
And she still is, eternally.
Now I'm a believer.
Love you, Mom.
You owe me a rug.