Ninety-Seven Years and nineteen days. That was my mother’s age when she passed away last week.
There is no explaining the feelings of losing a mother unless you have experienced it. I keep trying to write this but choke on my words. A couple times I thought I could do it, but it still never expressed what I was truly feeling. The truth is, I am lost. I haven’t yet figured out how to live without her. I know she lived a long and loving life, and I knew the time would come when she would be gone, but it’s so different when it actually happens.
I am remembering all the times mom and I sat at the kitchen table planning menus, looking through cookbooks, chopping ingredients, and filling the kitchen with intoxicating aromas. She had been doing this most of her life with her own mother, and she passed the joy of cooking together onto me. Two of my favorite items passed down from mom are my grandmother’s pastry blender and my mom’s wooden spoon. She used that wooden spoon so much that the top flattened out and had burn marks. But nothing cooks food better than that crooked old spoon. It’s like a magic wand.
In my mom’s final weeks when we had our daily call, she started telling me every time I talked to her that she was looking out the window at the trees in her California backyard. She always commented with dismay that the air was so still and the branches never moved. I wish those branches would move in a gentle breeze, she would say. Mom always liked to see life in everything. For some reason, those still branches caught her attention and she couldn’t take her eyes off them in case one of them moved.
There is great joy knowing we saw mom just a few days before she died. We flew back home on a late Wednesday night and she died peacefully last Sunday. She got to see children and grandchildren, and feel the kicks of a new life growing with a new baby on the way, her great-grandchild. My brother Alan could not attend as he recently had a lung transplant and not allowed to fly, but he and mom had a wonderful talk on FaceTime.
I realize I must move on with life, and I will. For the past eight years, I have been writing this blog. Mom loved my blog. She said every morning she would wake up, have a cup of coffee, sit down and read my blog on her iPad. That’s how she started every single day until she died. If I didn’t have a new blog, she would ask me when we talked why I didn’t have a new post up. That makes my day you know, she said. So that is exactly what I plan to do to help me move on. Every blog I write from now on is for mom. I know she will be reading. And as I write, I will gaze out my window, looking at my beautiful Maple trees to see if a branch is moving. If it is, I know mom is with me. As long as the wind whispers through the trees, I guess that means mom will always be with me. I love you, mom. Forever.