My mother died 3 days after her 75th birthday. As I look at my calendar, I realize she died a month ago today. My relationship with her was difficult, fraught with emotional landmines and potholes. In more ways than she would acknowledge, we were strangers. Tomorrow, I will find myself flying to California to attend her memorial service, to be among strangers who are related to me by blood, many I have not seen nor spoken to for more than 30 years, strangers who call themselves family but have had very little to do with me my entire life. I go with very low expectations. I go with one mission: to finish saying goodbye to the stranger who was my mother, among a group of other strangers.