Today is the one-year anniversary of my mother’s passing. I suppose there is a better choice of words to describe this, but I honestly didn’t know what else to say. I miss her, very much.
I tear up quite a bit when I think of her, her last few months, and of course the almost 39 years I spent with her on this earth. I said my good byes, felt like we communicated our love for each other and did my part to let her go to her dream of being in heaven.
One year later, the emotions are still there and as the earth keeps spinning, and the sun keeps coming up, bills need to be paid, kids to school and activities, and food to cook, I pause today to jot down a few things I miss. Some are funny and quirky and others are a little more personal and emotional. I thought I would share.
20 Things I Miss about my Mom
- Pancakes – I know I poked fun at them but now that she is no longer here, I think I miss them. Hard, burnt, and loaded with oats, wheat bran, germ, and who knows what else, she was making “hippy pancakes” before it was cool.
- Dollar Store Gifts – Mom loved to shop at the dollar stores. She grabbed little toys, gifts, decorations, and of course…candy. She loved brining Mike and Ike’s, Hot Tamales and other movie-theater style candy when she came to visit. It was cheap, bad for you, but fun.
- Dramatic Gestures – Accidentally brush up against her? She would pretend to go flailing. Drive a little too fast or take a corner in the car a little quick? She would throw herself around in such a dramatic way that it was part funny and part annoying. I miss that.
- English Aristocrat – We have often thought that mom was born in the wrong country and in the wrong time period. She would often talk and act like a wealthy English woman, even royalty. VERY sophisticated. It was always dramatic, exaggerated, and funny. I miss that too.
- Dentures – If I had ever been a rascal (almost never), instead of sticking her tongue out at me, she would push her dentures out! We accepted it (uncles and aunts have been playing with their teeth for years) and it even grossed out my boys a little, until they got used to it. Part gross, part funny, part attitude.
- Church and Bible Study – Mom LOVED going to church and over the years hosting and participating in various bible studies. Almost without fail, even when she wasn’t feeling great, she would push through and make it. She was always game for more prayer.
- Playing Cards/Games – Mom loved playing cards, Scrabbble and other games. I couldn’t convince her to play Monopoly or RISK, but if you wanted to play King’s Corner, she was in. Some of my favorite memories in later years was of her teaching and playing some of these games with the boys. Loved it.
- Dad – The way she rolled her eyes at my dad when he said or did something that she disagreed with or found off-putting. In a weird way, I will miss that too.
- Gardening – Mom always found great joy in her front-yard garden. Every spring she would spend hours outside weeding, removing old and dead leaves, and planting new flowers. Even though my folks lived in the hood, she wanted her front yard to look remarkable. She worked hard at it and every year it may have turned out a little different, but it always looked good in the hot Spokane summers.
- Beach – Mom loved teaming up with some of her siblings, who also had kids near our age, and take us to Liberty Lake, Post Falls, or Coeur d’Alene Lake (I wish those docks were still there at CDA Lake) to go swimming. Cheap chips, knock-off brand soda, and if we were lucky, grocery store fried chicken. If I got sunburned, because I am a white kid, she would put REAL ALOE from a plant she grew all over my back. Excruciating but I somehow will miss that too.
- Cooking – I thought she was a great cook as a kid, and she always made sure we ate and ate well, even on a tight budget. As I got older, and began to cook myself, I always knew I had at least one fan when I cooked for her. She loved my cooking! I guess the roles reversed a little bit, and I think that is cool.
- White Table – My folks had an old farmhouse style white table that was in their kitchen near a big window. You could count on my mom spending a fair amount of time there. She could have been reading her Bible, doing the crossword or Jumble from the newspaper, doodling, or even counting out her meds. Regardless of what she was doing, there was peace when you looked over and saw her sitting there. I think she felt a lot of peace there too.
- BIG Family – My mom was one of 12 brothers and sisters. She was a BIG part of her BIG family. Guessing that not everyone got along with everyone, but everyone seemed to be able to get along with my mom. She was a peacemaker, and loved her family unconditionally. I loved that I came from a big family.
- Nieces and Nephews – My mom loved and supported each of her nieces and nephews. She loved them like they were her own and did her best to attend their plays, music events, sporting events, and remembered their birthdays. I think they miss that.
- Sports – Although she never understood sports, individually or probably even collectively, she always showed up to our games and supported us. The play-by-play, what the positions were and so forth didn’t matter, she just wanted to show us she loved us, and later her grandsons, by being there in the gyms, on the hot and cold fields, and around the state. Having parents and granparents at a kids games is a big deal and I loved her for it.
- Hard Work – My mom was a stay-at-home mom in the classic sense but when we got older, junior high age, she started working part-time and then later full-time. In fact, there was a time when pretty much her ENTIRE paycheck just went to cover our tuition at Gonzaga Prep! I am SO THANKFUL for this investment in my education. It instilled in me the value of hard work, and education, and that it is important to make sacrifices for your kids and their future.
- Daily Calls – I was a good boy and called my mother almost every day for most of my adult life. The converstations could be brief and simple, and later was mostly about how she was feeling on that particular day, but I could always count on a “Hi Mikee, how are ya?” in a slightly goofy, always positive tone.
- Consistency – One of my former mentors said of my mom that she “was like Jesus – the same yesterday, today and forever,” in other words, consistent. She was a woman of habit and routine and I am sure that she lived a little longer than expected partly because of it. She loved God, loved her family, and found joy in little things.
- Courage – I shared this in the eulogy too but it is worth repeating. My mom was SO courageous! Especially the last couple of years, and even the last couple of months. Sure, there were times when I felt she had given up, but I don’t really believe that, I know she fought til she just couldn’t fight any longer. I admire that courage, and hope I can be that way too.
- Never-ending, Never-failing Love and Support – What else can I say…