after my Mom died in 2010, I didn't allow myself to think about the could have/should haves. I tried not to think about the whole "if only we had gotten her to stop smoking all those years ago." I tried not to dwell on "if only we'd forced her to go to the doctor a lot sooner."
The past has happened. There is nothing I can do to change it. I couldn't have stopped my mother from smoking. Only she could have done that. Nobody could have forced her to go to the doctor any sooner. She was very strong-willed. Similarly, we couldn't have tried to get a better doctor for her. How were we to know at the time that the specialist she saw was a complete, shameful sham, and that even in the end he never admitted she had stage four lung cancer.
I didn't dwell on these things. There's no point, really.
I love(d) my mother, and I was simply thankful to have had her in my life. Of course, I'm deeply saddened that I couldn't have her around for another thirty years. After all, I see old ladies leading their very old mother's around in this city all the time.
Is that different than regret? I'm not sure. I just kind of thought of it as envy.
Well, anyway, recently I had been lamenting to my father that we haven't had a good cherry pie in three years. There were no pies at all in that summer of 2010. The official pie maker was gone. And I'm talking about a good cherry pie. No, not those pieces of garbage you can pick up at the grocery store. Not those sub-par substitutes you can buy at a "farmer's" market.
No. A good pie. A pie that is not so thick with cornstarch that it's basically cherries suspended in some sickly sweet sludge, suspended in a cardboard crust. I'm talking about a pie that is actually reminiscent of the fruit that came from the tree. It has a crisp, flakey, delicious crust (never ever made with shortening and oil), and a tangy/sweet filling with actual juices that run free as soon as you slice it.
Sour cherries, after all, aren't easy to find. So, I'd put my dad to the task: find me the cherries, I'll make you the pie. I can make a damn good pie (incidentally, I often substitute butter for lard these days, thanks to inspiration from a fellow blogger).
Well, Dad outdid himself. He somehow found the strength to go through that large time capsule in the basement: the chest freezer. We haven't been able to go through that freezer. It's full of well-labeled meats, bread and frozen fruit. I took one look at all those foil-wrapped packages one day, with my Mom's handwriting, and I shut that lid. Uh-uh. Nothing doing. Sorry Dad, but I can't go there. But surely, there were cherries in there. After all, the world's most organized housekeeper had everything else.
So, recently Dad came with many freezer bags stuffed with frozen fruit, and The Man used his masterful organization skills and stuffed them into our small fridge freezer. Last night I made the pie crust, wrapped it up and put it in the fridge for today, and was ready to make that damn pie.
And there were no cherries. There were three great big bags of frozen blueberries, one of which had turned cherry red, and there was a very large bag of "5 1/2 cups" of rhubarb. They're all garbage now; full of snow, and freezer-burnt. I didn't realise this the day they were being stuffed into my own freezer. And the dates on them: 2008, 2009.
Now this--this bothered me. I hadn't felt a lot of regret about things we could have done, until now. I wish I had gone into that freezer a lot sooner and used all that fruit my mother had painstakingly flash-frozen and transferred into labelled bags. All of that fruit. All of those good, jumbo blueberries. And then I could have had a pie that was special--made with the last of what my mother was able to leave for us. But it's all been poured into my backyard compost bin.
And yeah, I feel regret.
A lot of it.
|sometimes regret is shaped like a pie.|