A year ago, my mom passed away. I still can’t believe it. I think I have been in a state of shock ever since. A life without my mom in it, just does not feel possible. But I want to share some of what I learned from this amazing woman who inspired me my whole life.
For Mother’s Day last year we rebuilt her outdoor balcony to have a lush comfortable garden for her to enjoy. My mom loves plants and colour more than just about anything. She taught me to love and honour nature.
I learned to love food and honour the classics and thoroughly eat life with every bite. I learned that there is nothing more special than eating together as a family, no matter who cooks.
Mom taught me the joy of colour. I had bought her a lot of clothing the last winter and she insisted I wear it since the weather was getting warmer the longer I was there. I ended up inheriting those clothes and started wearing bright colours, since that is what Mom loves. I went from living in black and grey to wearing pink and orange.
While going through old photograph albums together we discovered so many photos we had never seen before, including this one of our parents together before they were married. They both love music and yes, my mom played the guitar. A skill my brother Jason and sister Jamie have now.
At our last meal out Mom was very disappointed in the soup she got. This photo makes me smile because like my mom, I can not hide my displeasure when a meal lets me down. The next day I went and made her an awesome homemade soup that made her very happy.
I learned again just how much I love our family. Jason came up to visit a couple of times and I had not seen him for years. We live on opposite sides of the continent and again Mom taught us there is nothing better than having family together.
Ever since we were kids, Mom encouraged us with art. We made a ton of collages together and this time we wanted to make a healing dream board for Mom. We went out into her apartment hallway, stuck up paper and I drew around her.
Later we filled the silhouette with healing and spiritual images and hung it up in Mom’s apartment. She loved showing it to people who came to visit her and once said, “They turned me into a monster.” Which made me laugh although I wonder if that was a critique of our work?
When I saw this cookie jar, I was compelled to buy it. It looked so Latvian and it really just called me. I shared this photo of it with my mom. It was the last time we had a real conversation before she shut down. She lifted up her glasses and looked it and shut her eyes with a big grin and said, “I love the palette!” I got this jar home which was quite the odyssey. I refused to pack it away so it is hidden in my kitchen. I look at it now and then as a touchstone to my mom.
There have been many signs from mom since her passing. One was finding this painting which my mom also owned for many years at the funeral home. It is like she was there with us.
Since I got back from Toronto, I have not had a second to really grieve. It was official right after I got back. Reg lost his job, we were going to have to move and I have been working on making that happen ever since. But today is different. Today I remember Mom. I look back at all the wonderful and hard times we went through together last year and grieve for the loss of her in my life. I have not been the same she died. I have a black hole in my heart that sometimes makes me heave at night with the loss.
But I will try and remember her lessons. That last year she brought my black and white world to life. Her unconditional love is still with me. She visits in my dreams but doesn’t speak. But she is there, with me. With all of us. We will always be a family.