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Funny thing, anniversaries. They matter to us only because we decide they do. Dates, after all, are essentially artificial constructs. Even so, they do matter. They help provide a sense of focus, and allow for reflection. Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and there is little really that I can add to the reams of reflection and reminiscences.

But today is a personal anniversary, too. It's hard to believe that it has been a year since my mother passed away, and yet it has. My last conversation with her was on the telephone, as I stood on the deck of a ship in the Gulf of Mexico. I don't remember the substance, but that's of less import than the fact we talked. More clearly, I can easily picture my last time at home with her, when I was able to spend a week or two sitting with her in the living room, working quietly on the galley proofs of my book as the sun streamed in while she alternated between reading, chatting, watching television and napping.

As time passes, the significance of anniversaries often recedes a little. I find myself having to remind myself that Dad's anniversary is October 7. But I will no more forget that date or September 10 than I will ever forget my parents, who - anniversary or no anniversary - appear almost daily, unannounced but always welcome, in my thoughts.
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