Ninety-Seven Years at the Table

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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.




37 Responses to Ninety-Seven Years at the Table

  1. September 17, 2018 at 8:20 pm #

    I’m so sorry you lost your mom….. I know you’ll carry her love with you forever. It’s not the same, but I’m happy that you got to visit and see each other. I’m sending you so much love.

  2. September 17, 2018 at 8:35 pm #

    Your words moved me to tears; your mom would be so proud of them. Correction: she is so proud of them. She will always be with you; she is in your heart and you are in hers. Forever. Hugs to you as you carry on ❤️

  3. September 17, 2018 at 10:46 pm #

    Your mother was your inspiration & her spirit and beauty will move you forward as you continue your blog. She will always be at your side. May you find comfort in knowing how much she loved & admired you.

  4. September 18, 2018 at 1:48 am #

    I am so sorry for your loss!

  5. September 18, 2018 at 2:42 am #

    So sorry for you. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. There was always so much love in everything you ever wrote about her. Hoping that all the loving memories you have if of her help you through this difficult time and as time goes by these memories bring a smile to your face rather than tears.

  6. September 18, 2018 at 3:21 am #

    What a beautiful testimony of love for your Mom! You are correct when you say that “you cannot understand unless you’ve experienced the loss of a Mother,” we lost our Mom April 1st, 2011 very unexpectedly and I’ve found that you really never “get over” it, you just “get through” it. Although the tears have slowed for the most part, I miss her more and more each day! God Bless and know for sure that she is but a whisper away!

  7. September 18, 2018 at 3:23 am #

    I’m so sad to hear of your enormous loss. What a beautiful tribute you have written about you Mom. I am keeping you close in thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

  8. September 18, 2018 at 4:46 am #

    My sincere condolences to you and your family, Debbie. I can relate. I lost my mom 15 years ago but more recently, my husband, Paul, 2 years ago. Memories are now part of our lives but difficult to replace having them here but happy that those memories comfort us in sad times. May she now rest in peace and all of those good times comfort you.

  9. September 18, 2018 at 4:57 am #

    Oh Debbie, I am so, so sorry. The special bond between the two of you will always be there. My heart breaks for you and your family.

  10. September 18, 2018 at 5:01 am #

    How wonderful you had that daily connection with your Mom. She’ll always be with you in your heart.

  11. September 18, 2018 at 5:40 am #

    Love ❤️ and many whoosh moments with your mom

  12. September 18, 2018 at 5:55 am #

    Debbie I am so sad for you . Just know, she is always with you. I see my mom all the time. When a butterfly floats past my face, a sandollar on the beach, a rainbow in the sky. You were so blessed to have her as long as you did. I love you dear friend

  13. September 18, 2018 at 5:55 am #

    I’m SO sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts & prayers. God bless mom!

  14. September 18, 2018 at 8:01 am #

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I remember losing my mom and felt the same loss you do. Yes, time will heal but there will be those triggers that will tug at your heart letting you know she is thinking of you and you of her. You are so lucky to have had her so long, this does not help at the moment but soon you will realize it will. Your memories of cooking together and your chat are so wonderful. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  15. September 18, 2018 at 9:01 am #

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom and her legacy. I have a feeling those maple trees will be rustling all the time.

  16. September 18, 2018 at 9:04 am #

    What a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your mother. She reminds me of the Proverbs 31:10-31 woman who looked out for the needs of her family and others with grace, diligence, love and kindness. Your loving mother was truly a woman to be praised by her family The special bond between a mother and daughter is such a gift from God and is never broken. Hold every sweet memory with her close to your heart and continue to share her legacy of love, faith, kindness, hope and joy with your dear family and others, as you already so generously do. Lots of Love, hugs and prayers to you and your family

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:28 pm #

      Kim, you described my mother perfectly. She was always giving to her family and others. Grace and kindness describe her perfectly. I miss her so much and am still struggling. But I know she is happy and that is comforting. Thank you for your words. You always know what to say.

  17. September 18, 2018 at 2:46 pm #

    What a beautiful relationship you had and what a beautiful tribute to your sweet Mom. I was so impressed that she had an iPad too, keeping young. May your memories sustain you and continue to warm your heart

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm #

      Lynne, my mom used her iPad up until her last hours, playing Words with Friends with my daughter Kara. She used to call it her lifeline, because sometimes it was just too hard for her to get out of bed and it gave her hours of enjoyment. Thank you for your kind words.

  18. September 18, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother Debbie. I was very touched by your poetic words of tribute to her and her mother before her.

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:22 pm #

      Thank you, my sweet friend. I’ll talk to you soon.

  19. September 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I’d lost my mother on 1/22/2018. It sounds like you had a very special relationship.

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:22 pm #

      Thank you, Dawn. Mom and I had a very special relationship. I was her only daughter. So sorry to hear of your mother’s passing too.

  20. September 18, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

    I am deeply sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family.

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:20 pm #

      Thank you so much, Cathy. I appreciate your prayers.

  21. September 19, 2018 at 4:34 am #

    Love you Dear Sister. EJ

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

      Love you too.

  22. September 19, 2018 at 6:45 pm #

    So sorry for your loss Debbie. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

      Thank you so much, Amy. Keep in touch.

  23. September 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

    Debbie, your tribute to you mom is beautiful. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi, Tim. It’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words. Hope to hear from you again.

  24. September 21, 2018 at 4:59 am #

    I read your post with a box of tissues! Such a wonderful story of family. I feel your mom is also in the books and recipes that you shared over the years.

    I absolutely love “97 years at the table” that would be a great title for cookbook of family memories/recipes

    “Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing but wind braces us up”

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:14 pm #

      Hi Lynn- Thank you so much for your comforting words. I appreciate it so much. You are right – that title would be a great recipe book to write as a gift for everyone in my family. Thanks for the idea! Thank you for the beautiful quote too. I love it.

  25. September 21, 2018 at 7:11 am #

    Since receiving the news of your mother’s passing, I have had to take time to reflect on my memories and the feeling of loss. Your mother was my other mother. Being inseparable as young girls and neighbors, we were more like sisters. At times we would dress alike so as to feel like twins. Your mother accepted me as part of the family and included me in most of your family activities. She shared her heart, her home, her creativity and most important, her life lessons. My memories include her laughter, her wonderful kitchen creations, her generosity and her love. She was an example of a strong woman who persevered through difficult times and continued to share her wisdom and her love. I am sad I did not see her in a long time but I have always had her in my heart and thoughts. I treasure all of the wonderful memories of my childhood that were enhanced by having her in my life. Ours has been a special bond and your mother was a beautiful part of it. My heart breaks for you and your family with your loss. What a wonderful journey you have all had with her in your lives. ❤️

    • September 24, 2018 at 7:09 pm #

      Linda, there are no words how much I love your memories. It makes me feel so close to you even though we are far apart. I miss you all the time, and wish we could transport ourselves back to those days and re-live them. Although, I actually do that in my head when I want to go to a “happy place,” and you are always there.

  26. September 29, 2018 at 9:25 am #

    Amy called us a week after your Mom passed, Debbie, and we were so sorry to hear of it. She lived a long life but I know how hurt you are feeling. When my Mom passed, a month later Steve died and I thought my world had come to an end. Time helps but there is always a sad feeling when you think of them. We must connect and catch up.

    • September 30, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

      Hi Johnnie- Thank you so much for writing. I miss mom more than I can say. I’m sure time will help, but I’m definitely not there yet. Yes, we should catch up. Love and hugs to you and Leland.

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