Reflections on the death of my mother.
This year will mark the fifth year of my
mother's death and though time has passed, I remember the day I received the call at work as if it were yesterday. It was a Saturday, a little
before two in the afternoon. At the time, I was working as a pastry chef and was up to my elbows in cobbler dough. I recall the sense of foreboding
that crept up my spine as I made my way
to the phone, cleaning the sticky dough
off my fingers as I walked.
My sister had told me that mom was not
doing well and that I should get home as
soon as possible. By the time I completed the flight arrangements an
hour later, she was gone. The earliest I
could get to Baltimore from Orlando was
The call only confimed what I had already known from the last conversation
I ever had with my mother. I felt the
need to see her and had planned on making a surprise visit. I didn't realize how little time was left. As I
talked with her, I knew my mother was
terminally ill. Through the small talk
that was most of our chat on the Tuesday
before her passing, I could hear how
frail and weak she was. It was as though
the illness ate away at her traveled
through the connection of the phone to me and made its insidious presence
Cancer had spread throughout her body and she had hid it from everyone until it would remain hidden no longer. By then, she knew treatment was useless.
My words to her on that fateful Tuesday
were, "You do what's best for you and the way you want to." With that statement it seemed I was giving her my
permission to go the way she felt best;
as if I could tell my mother what to do.
Most of her last days were spent at home
with her family around her. She always hated hospitals. Even if I wasn't there
for her physically in the end, we
Five years later I'm still coming to terms and understanding it more than I
did when I spent that blurry week home
during her services. I recall there being snow on the ground most of my stay and I spent the majority of my time in her favorite room in the house,
the sunroom. My father found me out there one night and asked me what I was
doing. I told him that I was sitting her. Still, I wished I could have seen
her once more before she died.
In retorspect, I think I'm one of the
few of her many children who will
remember her as the whole, vibrant woman she was. I have the image of her
vital and spunky in my mind, not the
cancer-ravaged person she had become.
She had taught me many valuable things;
mainly to speak my mind and not to say
what I thought all the time. Impossible,
you ask? My mother was good at the impossible and that's what I will treasure her the most for.
There is a place I go to be with her,
a place deep in my soul where I can hear her laughter and see her smile;
where I can feel the warmth of her
embrace. There she tells me everything
will be okay and not to be sad. She is
with me every day and even though I have a few of her personal effects, those things don't provide me the connection I feel with her. It's her
spirit that binds us and each day I celebrate the life she lived and the
blessings she left behind. In the end,
it's what we can all hope for.