Sunday, May 12, 2013
I am pretty sure almost everyone has seen/read the above "Hallmark type saying". I know I have - and I know I have read it - thought 'sappy' and moved on.
My mom died about 17 years ago (give or take a year) from cancer. For the last 3 months of her life I drove to Kingston every Friday when work finished and drove back on Sunday night. For the 2 days I was with her - I made her meals - sat with her - watched tv with her - let the nurses in - and sat some more. Notice I didn't say talk - we didn't talk much - not because of the cancer but because she was angry with me. I had left my husband and filed for divorce. HELL if I had known she was gonna die so quickly from the cancer (less than a year) I wouldn't have told her.
At the end (the last weekend she was alive) she had me put her wedding rings back on and tell the family who came with a minister - that she would NOT take communion. I always got the tough jobs - even as a kid growing up.
The rings didn't want to go on her hand - she was so swollen from the cancer eating her and the drugs they had her on - I had to use vaseline to get them to finally slide on. The doctor when he popped in to see her asked "who put Ruth's rings on?" I thought he was gonna yell at me. Her ring finger was turning blue. But no - He smiled at me and said "She wants to be ready to meet your dad again".
Later when the family arrived with the minister - she allowed them to sit around her bed... she allowed them to pray and to talk to her - BUT when the minister said he thought it was a good idea to do communion - she turned her head and gave me that look. THAT LOOK....... I knew it - I bet almost every kid knows the "Mom look" the one that says 'this had better stop NOW' I spoke up - I said "I don't think communion is a good idea - I don't think Mom wants it". Everyone looked at me like I had grown two heads. Then they all looked at Mom - she had closed her eyes. I will never know if she did it on purpose or not - but shortly after, she went into a comma. So the communion was never served. I have often wondered why she didn't want communion..... she was a religious person ...... I just knew that I would do what she wanted ........ because she was MOM.
Things were done in those last few months of her life that hurt me deeply. I swore I would never forgive her - or forget.
Well it's been 17 years or so....... I haven't forgotten - and I guess in some ways I haven't forgiven her either.
Over these past few weeks that I have been sorting my house - doling out bits of family history to my girls - my mom has been in my ear again - retelling me the stories of the wine glasses - the bell - the desk - everything. I have heard her as clear as if she was standing beside me. And it made it all the more important to pass on the stories of our family history.
And last night as I sat in a house devoid of most of what has made it my lil home - I remembered my mom........ and how she cried every time she had to pack up a house and move on. To her, her house was a part of her...... she couldn't bear to leave it...... even though a bigger /nicer house was calling to her. I thought how different she and I were/are. I feel nothing for the four walls that I have called home for the last 12 years. It is truthfully just a building - not even mine anymore. A new house calls me - and I will make that my lil home for the next however many years.
Last night Mom came to visit me.......... and I couldn't deny the memories that were streaming back. Mom with her love of hats - always stuffed with tissue paper cause no matter how hard she tried - she could never find one to fit her head. Mom who was OCD and washed her kitchen floor nearly every day. Mom who lost a lens from her sunglasses and didn't even notice - and got mad at my brother and I when we fell over in gales of laughter every time we looked at her (one unprotected eye peering out at us from the frame of the glasses) Mom who went bike riding with my Dad on a nature trail in Toronto - faithfully following just behind him. When he hit a bad pot hole and went over the handle bars of his bike - she rode on (I can see her doing it - straight back - eyes forward - stiff as a board) and rode over him as he lay in the path. Mom who just HAD to have the pine cones from a tree in South Carolina - a souvenir for me if memory serves me right - and she (unbelievable as it sounds) hoisted my dad up to grab the branch and knock the cones down. She got so flustered when the cones rained down on top of her - she let go of my dad and he fell to the ground. (we used to joke that she had a plan to "off" him ) Oh there are so many stories of Mom - how we used to laugh over her antics - all innocent - all a bit mom-ish.
It seems after all these years she still holds my heart. And on this Mother's Day Sunday I realize I miss her more than I ever thought possible.