Today is the fourteenth anniversary of my mother’s death. I have thought about her more since I moved here to my new home than in all the years since she died. Sometimes the memories come from nowhere, just the odd thought that I haven’t talked to her for a while and should call to see how she is doing.
Sometimes the memory comes from something of hers I have and use. She used to have a cupboard full of unmatched stemware. I kept those goblets when I cleaned out the house after my father died, and so now I, too, have a cupboard of unmatched stemware.
Sometimes an old memory arises, and I’d like to ask her what that was about. For example, decades ago she told me that when I was a baby, I had casts on my legs. I was under the impression that the casts were to correct leg or hip alignment, though why casts, I don’t know, since my siblings all had braces (a curved metal piece connected to shoes). I read that the current research shows that babies’ legs adjust on their own, so I don’t even know if they use such devices anymore. But I never heard of using casts for that problem, and now I will never know what they were for. It never really mattered, but now my feet seem to be turning in more than they used to, and I wonder if age and use is undoing what the casts did. I’ll never know that now, either.
When I got my first apartment, I asked her for the recipes that I especially liked — things like pierogis, tuna roll with cheese sauce, and hamburger rolls (known to others as Runzas or bierocks). I found it interesting that I was the only one of my siblings who had those recipes, so several years ago, I made each of my siblings a recipe book, which included those recipes as well as a Friday staple of our youth: creamed tuna and peas on toast. (Sounds disgusting but was actually quite tasty.)
I didn’t copy all of her cookie recipes. Neither cherry winks nor date nut pinwheels were favorites of mine when I was young, but a couple of years ago when I suddenly got a taste for those cookies, I thought of calling her and asking for the recipes. Luckily, my sister kept them, thinking that mother’s treat recipes shouldn’t be thrown away so now I’ve collected some of the recipes I didn’t back then. Also, I imagine that at the time I got that first bunch of recipes, I wasn’t considering the distant future when she’d be gone.
Well now, she is.
She wasn’t much of a drinker, though she did love Bailey’s Irish Cream, so in honor of her this day, I offer a toast — Baileys in a Baileys glass that once belonged to her!
Here’s to you, Mom. I hope your new life is what you’ve prayed it would be.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.