Mom and the Simple Things

I haven’t written as much about my mom here as I had originally hoped. Probably mostly because when I write about my mom, I want to take a lot of time, effort and deliberation, so as to make my writing worthy of her. To do her justice; to make her proud. Maybe also because part of me still subconsciously blocks out her memory so as to avoid the pain. A defense mechanism. I’m kind of an expert on blocking out pain, actually.

But a woman as special as her deserves to be remembered. I took some time over the past few weeks to jot down things I remember about her. Just everyday, simple little tidbits. Character traits, mannerisms, habits of hers.

Mommy always wanted to take family pictures. It used to get on my dad’s nerves a lot (maybe he felt like we were drawing too much attention to ourselves). The constant asking friends (or strangers) to take our picture embarrassed me once in a while, too, but I normally just humored her. And now, each picture I have of the three of us together is infinitely precious to me. I appreciate them all. In fact, sometimes I wish she had pestered us to take even more. She is glowing in each of them, obviously thrilled to be (wherever, whenever) with my dad and I. She was very photogenic. Her sweet, childlike smile came completely naturally.

Mom loved chocolate (THAT’S where I got it! Mystery solved!). She could hardly ever pass this one particular ice cream shop near her house without buying a chocolate cone. She was always eager to share, though, especially with me. She would hand the whole thing over if I so much as half glanced at it. Sometimes, she would offer to buy me a second. She was like that with many things.

Mama always wanted me to eat. She was worried about me being so skinny (I just have a fast metabolism. It’s in my genes!). She would ask me about twelve times a day if I was hungry. She wasn’t really an adventurous cook, but she had a few staple dishes she liked to make: meatloaf, baked potatoes and corn, tuna sandwiches, deviled eggs, chicken soup, beef stew, beef stroganoff, Asian style fish and steak, chili, salads. And we always had rice in the rice cooker of course (no Asian – or half Asian – house is complete without it!)

Grandma loved her grandbabies. She spent a lot of time over at our place watching T during the first year or so. Taking walks, reading stories, singing songs, laughing, hugging, rocking him to sleep. When Y was born, Grandma was essentially bedridden, and she couldn’t get up and play with her. At least she got to smile at her, touch her cheeks, tell her she loved her, lay next to her, take a nap with her.

I still regret not spending just a few more days per week with Grandma. Maybe even every day. If I had known exactly when the end would be, I would have packed my bags and stayed by her side until then. I remember one night thinking about the future and what would be the best arrangement for her. I considered asking my husband if she could move in with us. We barely had time to give that a second thought. Too little, too late, as they say. Sometimes, I wonder if she felt like she was a burden to us. That maybe we would just breathe easier if we didn’t have to worry about her. I wonder if she felt that maybe the most considerate thing she could do was to let go. I tried to encourage her, support her, love her up as much as I could, but I could always have done more.

I believe in an afterlife. I always have. It just doesn’t make sense to me that people would go for so long learning, growing, loving, and bonding; building these beautiful relationships over time, just to have them ultimately disappear into nothingness; blown to smithereens for eternity. If God is our loving and intelligent Parent and Creator, which I believe that He is, he would never intend for things to just end.

So, this is my redemption. This is why I have hope. I’ll see my mother again. And when I do, I’ll tell her all the things I wish I had said, do all the things with her I wish I had done, and make a million new memories. Pure, powerful, blissful, fearless memories.

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