Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom--Wish you Were Here

Today would have been my mother's 60th birthday. A Milestone birthday. She died exactly one month ago, on April 18th. She died not long after my own birthday, a day before my little niece's 2nd birthday, on the birthday of my late paternal grandfather. She died 11 months after my grandmother, her own mother, died. She left not long before Mother's Day, and she left before the big Six-O.

Every year I tend to buy the same kind of stuff for my mom on her birthday, because it's stuff she loved better than anything: a new lipstick, a large economy-sized bottle of bubble bath, some magazines and perhaps some chocolates. She never wanted expensive jewelry. She was practical to the core (a trait I seem to have inherited, as I shun knicknacks and jewelry myself--and if I get the latter, it has to be ridiculously plain), and loved kitchen gadgets and innovative things to clean the house. But this year I didn't get to buy any of that stuff. I also didn't get to bake a cake for her, as I did for the past many years.

My mother was amazing at her job: being a housewife. This may sound silly, but she was extremely organised, almost never ran out of anything, and always had something on hand to make a really good dinner. I know this because there is still a chest freezer filled with foil-wrapped meats, labelled and dated. Her house was always very, very clean. She did the laundry every Monday without fail, and groceries were bought every Thursday.

She loved, loved, loved her grandchildren--all babies in fact, but especially her own grandchildren. She was always my best advocate for my son, and she was the one who realised he had a developmental disorder. She always empathised with him, and with me.

She was extremely intelligent and almost better than any doctor. She could diagnose you before you even had your appointment. I would call her often when Jack was sick--and let me tell you, that little boy had a ton of colds and other antibiotic-requiring illnesses when he was little.

I called my mom nearly every day as I made lunch for my kids, and then did the dishes. She was my favourite person to talk to on the phone, and we could talk about nearly anything.

In the grocery store recently, it came into my head that when my Grandmother died, my mother was on a quest to reproduce Grandma's pierogi--a recipe Grandma had concocted herself. Mom was worried that we may never eat them again at special occasions if she didn't figure out how to make them. Last Christmas my Mom and Aunt collaborated and came quite close. And now Mom's gone too.

It is unthinkable that the woman who held my hand while I gave birth to both my children is gone. It is unthinkable that sometimes her kitchen floor is a little dirty now. It is unthinkable that we thought she had a lung infection, and a doctor informed her that she was full of cancer, and 11 days later she was gone. My mother, my confidante, my advocate, my shopping buddy, my friend.

We live our lives expecting everything to continue just the same, day after day. It's amazing really, how quickly things can change.


  1. Even though you only had 37yrs with your mom is it not better than none at all.
    You are very fortunate to have had a mom who put you above herself. A mom who didn't give you endless guilt even into adulthood. A mom who did not raise you with constant critisim. A mom who saw greatness in her children not other peoples children.
    Your lucky Karen my own mom still won't even compliment or acknowledge my own blog. I always fall short Rob as well in her eyes.
    She was at your moms funeral and she said to me oh they said such beautiful things...and i know she was jealous. I felt like saying well that was a mom who was a friend to her kids...who supported them...who put them first...who when they walked away from her did not feel bad about themselves.
    I know it is awful she is gone but at least you had 37yrs of a great that not better than 44yrs of constant battles?
    Your dad was the last born and finally got it right out of all the brothers...

    Its funny today is also my moms birthday...they were both Taurus and born in the year of the Tiger.
    But two very very different moms.

  2. sure, I know I was lucky, that's what makes it all the more sad. I can't just say; "I had 38 great years with my mom, therefore I'm not sad she died." I appreciated her every day she was here, and knew time would be precious because she took such terrible drugs for her arthritis. But that doesn't mean I didn't hope for another ten years, at least, of spending more time with her.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. We're selfish... Ideally, we would have ALL grown super old together. To lose my Mom at only 31 years of age... ugh.

  5. karen discard my last comment..shouldn't have said that about my mom.
    Anyways I'm sorry for what your going through.
    xo hugs to you

  6. well no, it makes a good point of appreciating good people in our lives, and not taking them for granted.
    Actually, what's interesting Pam, is that with all of this happening, I have come to realise just how many people have difficult relationships with either one, or both parents. There seems to especially be a lot of tension between mother and daughter. It's not just you who feel this way about your mother, Diane does too. From talking with other women I know, and from reading blogs, lots of people have fallout with their moms! My mom was not perfect--she was a real person, and we clashed a lot when I was a kid and then a teenager. I probably didn't develop a really great relationship with my mom until I was in my 20's, and then even better after I moved out. The father/son relationship can be a complicated one too. It's thought-provoking, really...

  7. Do you really want me to get rid of your last comment? I appreciated it for its honesty, but if it makes you uncomfortable seeing it there, just let me know :)

  8. Yes delete it just in case someone sees it and passes it on...

    I have to say though your mom used to blow me away completely with her vocabulary! Wow the words she would use ...I'd think wow i have never heard that before. She was so intelligent!
    I also have a great memory of her making me pop tarts...the one and only time i had them as a kid.
    And every single time i saw your mom she always always told me how cute i looked. She was such a nice lady even my husband said that.

  9. You brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful post!
    I'm very lucky to still have my parents. Even though they live overseas, I talk to them almost every day. I can't imagine how painful it is to lose a mother and how much you are missing her presence, her voice and her touch. I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you are coping well.
    I was reading your blog and the tittle of this post caught my attention. I 'm glad I read it.
    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a meaningful comment. I'm your new follower!

  10. thank you Ms. Mama. I saw you up there on my friends section, but didn't get the chance to say hello yet with all the back-to-school commotion.

    I appreciate your kind words; I miss my mother every day, as most women would if they're lucky enough to have had a good relationship with their moms.


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