Welcome back to Blogville my friends. No doubt I am drinking orange pekoe tea with milk as I try to organize my thoughts. I apologize in advance for any disorganization. I also offer Blogville visitors a trigger alert if they are grieving. It’s almost a year for me.
I cannot believe we are coming up on the first anniversary of losing you mom. For months after you passed away, each Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. I would pour a tea and reach for the phone to call you for our “weekly visit” and then I would remember. Your number is no longer in service. That lead me to remember your stories of when you worked for the Bell Telephone in Toronto as a young woman starting her new life in the big city.
On November 11th I tried to remember all of the stories of the men whom you worried about while the war was going on, and how you worked in a bomb factory. I recalled your description of how, when the war ended, people ran into the streets in celebration, and how that unknown man in uniform picked you up and kissed you in the street. Though you were mortified at his public display of affection, it was a day you would never forget. I will try to remember it for you.
The first Christmas without you was just so strange. We usually spoke on the phone of course, and you would ask how my grandchildren liked what Santa brought them and what I was cooking for dinner? Turkey of course mom, with dad’s secret rice dressing recipe that he once found to accommodate your Celiac Disease. Without our call mom, there was no Merry in Christmas.
You always found January so long. On our Saturday calls we would talk about the summers you worked at resorts in the Muskokas where you learned to make those fancy shapes, swans and things, out of the cloth dinner napkins. You never showed me how and suddenly I regret never asking you to show me. Speaking of folding, people always admired how you would trifold towels to save space (it works!) and how you folded bedsheets so perfectly.
February calls were trips back in time to the Cochrane Winter Carnival, chatting about the torch light parades, the talent shows and carnival Princess pageants. Oh how we would often laugh about how, as young children, my friend Sandra C. and I entered the ice fishing derby. We got up at the crack of dawn and went down to Lake Commando with sandwiches, thermoses of hot chocolate, and fishing gear, but without an auger to make a hole in the ice to fish through. I can hear the echo of your laughter. It was one of your favourite stories.
Our March calls were filled with excited planning for our Easter visit. You looked forward to your great grandchildren searching all the nooks and crannies of your house, (the house you had grown up in), for the chocolate and candy left for them by the Easter Bunny, just like your grandchildren once had. You would always ask for a taste of something from their basket to teach them about sharing.
April calls were often filled with stories about dad because this was his birthday month. When dad was still with us we would plan our visits around his birthday, a date eventually made even more special when his great-grandson was born only one day before his. Don’t worry mom, we still think of dad when we celebrate our son’s birthday.
The month of May this year brought a heaviness to my heart. My first Mother’s Day without my mother. I missed you so.
June phone calls had once been filled with questions first about grandchildren’s report cards, then great-grandchildren’s report cards. Education was very important to you. We would also be making plans for celebrating your upcoming July birthday. Sometimes you knew all of the plans, sometimes we conspired to add little surprises. Your 97th birthday was your last, and you still seemed too young to leave us.
No excitement in anticipation of a visit to Barry’s Bay this summer, but a dreaded one. The visit we made was to see your memorial plaque at the hospital and to make sure the etchings on your headstone had been completed. There was something about seeing your ‘end date’ that took my breath away. At the same time, seeing the Jack-O-Lantern in the O of October made me smile, like you smiled when I threatened to put one there if you dared to leave this life on October 31st.
August brought a flood of memories of you on my long ago wedding day. I could see you hanging your rosary on the clothesline to keep the rain away and hear your reassurance that the sun would shine brightly, which it did, but not as bright as your smile when you saw me, your daughter, as a bride.
September calls would be filled with questions about first days of school. There were many extra calls for all the September birthdays and you never forgot any of them, or the other birthdays throughout the year. We would answer the phone and you would say, “oh it’s just me. Can I speak to the birthday girl (or boy)?”
October has been the hardest. This time last year we spent a little longer with you following our annual Thanksgiving visit as we impatiently awaited the birth of our sixth grandchild, your eighth great-grandchild. He arrived just nine days before you left us. You were very excited at the news of his birth, you loved seeing the pictures of him. About five days after he arrived, you suddenly became so ill. Those seven hours of driving to get to you felt like an eternity! I am so grateful for the hours we had together at the hospital before you left us. We held hands, I read to you, I told you stories about the grandchildren, I helped you eat what you could. I cared for you like you had cared for me all my life with you, with all my heart. I suggested you hang on until All Saints Day or All Souls Day and begged you not to leave us on Halloween. The Jack-O-lantern on your headstone shows how well you listened.
Two days ago we celebrated your great-grandson’s first birthday. Soon we will be marking the one year anniversary of the day you left us. When you adopted me, you taught me a mother’s love while freely giving yours to me, and through your example I was able to give my love to my children. I will be forever grateful for the gift of a mother’s love. I miss you mom, but you are forever in my heart.
Thank you for reading my blog today. If you still have parents: birth; adoptive; kinship; foster; in-laws, please give them two hugs, one from you and one from me. 🤗 🤗 email@example.com