My world stopped when I got the call from my broken-hearted brother that I should get home as soon as I possibly could. It was the call I was dreading for days, but somehow suspected was coming. I got a flight that night (thanks to the most amazing WestJet employee who, after 1.5 hours, managed to find me a way out of Calgary) and got to my Mom’s side as quick as I could. I held her hand. I introduced her to Oliver and he held her fingers. And I talked, or rather mumbled and blubbered, and sat in silence with my brothers waiting on a miracle that never came. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
On November 11th, 2014 I joined a club I never wanted a join. The club no one wants to join. Children living in the world without their Mothers. There are many, many other people who have joined this club. Heck, my own Mother joined it twice. Twice she had to say goodbye to the woman she called Mom. So as hard as it is, and no matter how much my heart and soul were breaking I kept putting one foot in front of the other because that’s what my Mom taught me. She had the strength so I know I will eventually find it too.
I wish I was strong enough to have done a Eulogy for her at the funeral but there was no way I could stand up in front of people and talk with the needed strength about the woman who gave me life and taught me what life, love, and loyalty is. I couldn’t get my thoughts together in those days following. I was in the biggest fog in my life. I still am.
So I will write for her now. She always loved my blog and was always wanting me to write more so I will try.
I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t been able to put fingers to the keys to get it out. The hardest part wasn’t losing my Mom, it’s learning to live in the world without her in it. There’s so much I want the world to know about my Mom. So much I could say. Some called her KitKat. Others called her Kat, or Kath, Peanut, or all of the above. We called her Mom (& Nanny/Granny).
She was a warrior. A fighter. A kind soul. A listening ear. A giggly, patient, soft spoken woman who had a love for all things that glittered and shone. She was almost unbeatable in Scrabble. I shouldn’t have even bothered playing her in Boggle either because she always had more words than I could even write/type in the same amount of time. She loved music, but
hated disliked most of our musical choices (as many parents do). She loved head tickles as much as I loved back scratches. She was just wee, but was larger than life and capable of carrying so many burdens and battles and she kept on keepin’ on. “Though she be but little, she is fierce” (Shakespeare). And was was fierce in many ways but in her own way. It wasn’t often “Mama Bear” came out but she would find her voice and she would never back down when it came to protecting her family. Lord help the person who hurt one of us. You always knew you could count on Mom to have our back or to give us support, no matter what happened or even when it was our own fault. Don’t get me wrong, she would still give us a swift kick to the butt and let us know what she thought of the situation but she was always remained in our corner regardless. You were never alone when you had my Mom.
Over the days of visitations and phone calls, so many people told me that ever since my Mom was little she dreamed of the day she would become a Mother. She struggled to get there, but eventually she was blessed three times over. She was a great Mom. The best. She did the best she could and she raised 3 strong, happy, independent children. We may not have had a lot, but we had everything. A Mom who loved us and made sure we never felt “less”. I know she struggled with not being able to provide us (materially) with everything she wanted, but we had the things we needed and those aren’t the important things in life any way. She gave us many happy memories and days of love and laughter. That’s my “everything” any way.
No matter where I went or what I did, Mom was the first person I’d message. She was the first to know about my engagement to John. The first to know I was going to be a Mom (x3). The first person to hear the heartbreak in my voice when relationships ended or things didn’t go as planned. The first person to hear all my successes and defeats. She talked me through recipes, how to get stains out of laundry, and how to do hospital corners on a bed. Sorry Mom, I still can’t do those like you can.
But now, I’m left wondering who am I going to call when I need help with her recipes? Who am I going to call when one of my boys are sick and I’m not sure what to do? Who am I going to call with secrets or good news? Who am I going to call that knows what I need to hear without having to say it? All I had to do was breathe a big sigh and she knew exactly what to say next. She somehow she figured me out (no easy task I’m sure) and made it better. Or at least helped me get through until it was better again. After Noah was born she just knew what I needed. She knew stressed out, broken me without me having to say it. I didn’t have to be anyone else. She held it together when I fell apart and she gave me the space I needed but at the same time, made me feel like she was always right there. She just had that way. Now I need to figure out the way to live in a world without her. That she couldn’t teach me and I’m lost.
I’ll never forget her laughing fits. Something would strike her as funny and she couldn’t stop. She’d end up curled up in a ball with a sore stomach and tears streaming down her face but I couldn’t help but laugh along with her. Sometimes I didn’t even know why we were laughing, we just were. It was the best feeling. I’ll miss it.
Christmas was my Mom’s favourite time of year. She loved it. It was hard this year. I just kept reminding myself this was her most favourite time and she would want us to try and enjoy every minute. I tried. Some days I succeeded, others I just made it through. Every little bite of minced meat pie or chocolate chip cookies–her favourites–took me back to Christmas in Stellarton with her, Gram, and my brothers. It reminded me of her.
You know, one of her pet peeves in life was over those chocolate chip cookies. We refer to them as “Gram’s cookies” but in actuality, it was her recipe. It drove her a little nuts but whenever I pull out the recipe card, I’ll always smile and remember “Gram’s cookies” were Mom’s too.
I’ll never forget our dates to Mings. Our vacations to Moncton. Her dream trip to Maui. Her smile. Our surprise getaway Friday nights in Truro so we could go to a place with a pool. The times she had us play hairdresser so we would brush her hair. The back tickles/rubs she gave me. The hours she spent decorating birthday cakes. Getting up and seeing the un-decorated tree almost decorated because she was so excited that she couldn’t wait for us to get up (she’d leave “our” ornaments to put on though). The time she spent picking out the perfect birthday/Christmas/Congratulations/I miss you card/etc. Then the time she spent underlining the words and phrases she deemed most important. You can’t forget the stickers or the glitter. I’ll never be able to look at Tinkerbell without thinking of her.
I have her crooked pinkies. Her bony wrist bones. Her nose. Her hands. Her middle name. I have her strength, determination, and sensitivity. I wish I had her petite size but I wasn’t blessed with those genes (HA!). I love the heat. She hated it. I’m loud and quick tempered. She was quiet and more controlled. I am tall. She was short. I have green eyes. Hers were blue. I love my long hair. She loved her short hair. But for all the things we didn’t have in common, we had the important things and those other things just made life more interesting between us.
Family is the most important thing in life. Honesty is key. Laughter is the best medicine. Love your brothers. Never forget. Give thanks. Love. Laugh. “Shut up” & “Stupid” are words that didn’t belong in a house. You’ll catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Don’t give up. It’s ok to be afraid. Listen. Be present.
Those are just some of the things I think of when I think of the things she taught me. There’s so much. I learned so much from her. I don’t think she realized what we took in and learned from her, but I hope she did.
I do know Mighty oaks grow from little nuts.
She loved us like no other.
We were her world and now we are her legacy.
“The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
— Elisabeth Kubler-Ross