EDITOR'S NOTE: Forum Editor Matthew Von Pinnon wrote the following column four years ago this weekend. Today marks five years since his mother's death.
Mother's Day will always mean something more for me.
Last year, after spending the entire Mother's Day with her children, grandchildren and husband, my mom had an unexpected heart attack and died. She was 70.
I got the call from Dad late that night. I could hear the uncertainty in his voice. An ambulance had taken her to the hospital. I came quickly, but not quickly enough to say goodbye. By the time I was able to see her body, I kept recounting in my mind how we parted earlier that day.
I'm sure we told each other "I love you" and hugged.
The reason I remember it is because it was out of the ordinary. I rarely told my mom that I loved her or gave her hugs. We had sort of an understanding - or at least I thought we did. She probably would have preferred more affection from me, but I was always a little aloof. After all, I always had somewhere else to go, something to do. I didn't always make time for such gestures when we were together.
But it was Mother's Day, so I made an exception. Our hug lasted a while. I always let go first, and this time was no different. She seemed to know that time was precious and short, so she would always hold on a little longer.
Now, of course, I wish I'd held on longer.
There is no tighter bond on Earth than the bond between a mother and her child. Fathers do play an important role in their children's lives, but even we know that the intuitive relationships created between mothers and their children start during pregnancy and are everlasting.
My mother's love of reading, writing, music and travel were passed along to me and my sister with no extra encouragement whatsoever. We saw what made her happy, and we learned to appreciate the same things, which now make us happy.
But life gets busy. We get wrapped up in our own lives, our children's lives, all the sometimes-unnecessary obligations of life. If we're lucky, our mothers get to take part in some of that. But we rarely make it a priority to tell our mothers "thank you" for everything they sacrificed for us. Mother's Day, if no other day, allows us an opportunity to tell our moms just how much we love them and how special they are to us.
Those lucky enough to see their moms in person today can do something else: Give her a hug. And let go last.