I knew I probably shouldn’t have cracked Meghan O’Rourke’s memoir titled The Long Goodbye. In it she chronicled the her mother’s fierce, but ultimately losing battle with colon cancer and then the year or so after her passing in which she stumbled through life, trying to come to grips with an earthly existence that didn’t include her mom anymore.
But I was unable to resist.
In the year and a half since my mom’s sudden and totally unexpected passing, there have been so many times when I wished I could string together enough quiet moments to reflect, really reflect, on her life, her death, what she meant to me, and articulate exactly how I wanted to carry her forward.
But two little boys and the blistering pace of our daily life relegated my desire to fantasy-land.
I knew Meghan’s book offered me a distilled version of the quiet retreat I desperately wanted but couldn’t afford to take.
I devoured it in one night. Unable to sleep until I completed the last haunting passage.
Although her mother’s death was so very different than my mother’s, many of the feelings and thoughts she so eloquently captured as she stumbled through “year one” mirrored my own journey.
One of my (many) favorite passages in the book involved baking an apple pie on the first Thanksgiving without her mom.
And so here I was on Thanksgiving, making the pie. With family around, cooking the same things we always cooked, creating the same smells we’d always created, my mother’s death no longer seemed a bleak marker of “Before” and “After.” I felt her absence around us but I also saw how, too, she was embedded in us.
I feel that way every night when I make dinner. Delicious, healthy, made-from-scratch dinners, no matter how busy she was with work, were the hallmark of my mom. And each night, to honor her, I force myself to drop whatever I am doing at work to get home by 5:30pm to cook for my boys. As I do, I feel her smiling at me from a picture I have taped to the back of the stove.
I wish I could call her sometimes to ask her advice about a recipe here or there. But then I know I probably wouldn’t be cooking from scratch if she were still here. It’s only something I started doing with regularity in the past 15 months as a way of honoring her.
Makes me wish I had thought differently about Mother’s Day in years past, when she was still here. Not that I didn’t celebrate her – I did love to spoil her with gifts that she never would have gotten for herself, like spa trips and pretty clothes.
But now, looking back, I see now how I could have used Mother’s Day to better shine a light on and celebrate all the little, daily things she did that made her mom. In part by doing them for her. And in part by codifying them and formally adopting some as my own while she was still here.
Thank you mom.
For all the errands, the carpooling, the cooking, the laundry. For sharing your love of medicine with us and bringing us to the hospital occasionally to cheer up your patients (and to show us what happens to people who smoke). For dragging us to church every Sunday morning. For waking us up with a cheery “Hi-HO, Hi-HO, it’s off to school you go!”each August. For keeping the chocolate chip cookie jar in stock with freshly baked cookies. For the endless supply of arms-wide-open hugs. For reading the entire Little House on the Prairie books to us, one chapter a night (or more if we begged). And for tucking us in with kisses and never shutting the door without saying, “I love you infinity.”
I am lucky to have such wonderful elements of motherhood to carry forward.
I love you infinity, mom. I miss you infinity too.
Happy Mother’s Day.
To all the moms or moms-to-be who are in this unfortunate “club,” in what ways do you see your mother embedded in you? If you were blessed with a good mom and are lucky enough to have her still here on Earth, what are the (big) little things you would like her to see you carry forward?
Read more from source:“babycenter-com-baby”