04/01/2015 02:16 pm ET Updated Jun 01, 2015

Remembering My Mother on Her 75th Birthday

by Meaghan Browning via Getty Images

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Birthdays, anniversaries and milestones all bring us to that sad place when we miss someone who's died. Today, my mom would have turned 75. The hours turn into weeks turn into months and years, and it's moments like missed birthdays and watching my daughters -- who were babies when she passed -- grow into accomplished, motivated, strong young women.

Seasons and years pass. Birthdays, holidays and the pages of a calendar. We're busy. Time goes on. But, something will bring up a memory; sometimes a smile, sometimes a tear. The emptiness and loss never leave us, but in time, our memories soothe us.

When life gets hard, I wish I could call my mom. Instead, I think of what she'd say. Some of her advice wasn't really up to par, but years later, I can appreciate where she was coming from. Of course, there are certain lessons imprinted in my mind, like always wear clean underwear because you never know when you'll be in an accident, or her advice to list the pros and cons of a situation on a balance sheet.

My mom was quietly elegant in her style and personality. She wasn't really the type to work the room as much as engage people with her charm. Yet, I will always cherish those boisterous laughs from her weekly bridge group that kept me up on school nights.

My mom was definitely a worrier. I am more of a free spirit. I'd always get lost in the stacks at the library. She'd worry something had happened to me. I get it now that I have kids.

My mom was also a talented artist. I remember we once took a painting class together. She also was the art lady in my elementary school class, introducing me to esthetic appreciation, which is something that has remained with me. When my daughter Emily spends hours at the MFA in Boston, I know my mom is with her in spirit, as with me when I wander through the Getty or LACMA on my own.

My mom and dad showed me what undying love looks like. (I'm still waiting.) My dad says it was love at first sight when he saw her at the beach. They were so young. Through their marriage, they complemented each other. They never stopped loving each other, a tough act to follow!

When my mom died, a close childhood friend shared she always envied our relationship. We were never adversarial but perhaps that was in part because we both shied away from conflict.

My mom was my rock, my "person." Even as an adult, I spoke with her several times a day. When I realized she wasn't going to be around for long, I felt hopeless. I wasn't really sure how I'd manage without her.

I guess I never realized how strong I am.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you always.