My mother bought me coffee yesterday morning.
You’re probably wondering how that’s even possible, given the fact that my mom has been gone two and a half years now, so I’ll have to start a little farther back.
When my mom passed I kept nearly everything.
The last time she sat in my car was when I took her to a doctor’s appointment a day before she was admitted into the hospital. She had a pink sweater that she used to wear and when she got out of my car that day, she left it hanging over the back of my passenger seat. It’s still there. I haven’t had the heart to remove it.
Her china hutch is sitting in our house, looking nearly identical to how it was in hers. Eventually we will take out my Grandparent’s old things that she had in it and add our own. We’re just taking our time.
I have old cards and old notes she wrote me.
I have a “gift card holder” that she gave Ken and I one year on my dresser (yup, that’s right, a gift card holder:).
Her old bible.
A bacon pan (which actually is NOT a bacon pan, but I convinced Ken it was. It’s actually a grill pan that my mom used exclusively for cooking bacon. Who would have known it was actually a grill pan?)
Glass corn on the cob holders….we’ve never used these. In all honesty, who uses fancy glass corn on the cob holders?
A fur coat.
A really old/ugly, white and gold ice chest used to place your bottle of wine in. In fact, I’m pretty sure we have two of these.
We could decorate our house and our neighbors in Christmas decor from my mother’s house.
Grace has clothes of my mother’s in her closet, and then we have a tub in the garage.
Her old hairbrush. (I couldn’t bring myself to toss it or ANYTHING the day we left the hospital. If I could’t bring her with me, I was certainly going to bring all of her belongings, and boy did I.)
We cannot park in our garage. We are lucky if we can walk through it. Each time I make it from one end to the other I feel like a survivor of some sort. I’m afraid to let our cat out there out of fear he will get squished by a falling box, or random weird appliance that my mother had.
You probably get the point by now.
After losing my mother, I had a hard time getting rid of ANYTHING. I think this is probably pretty normal for anyone going through the process of grief. Somehow those items (gift card holder and fur coat included) were a part of my mom, and I couldn’t let that go quite yet.
One of the many things I kept was a small brown purse my mom would take with her when she didn’t want to take something bigger.
She had brought this purse with her to the hospital and in it had packed lipstick, her insurance card, her driver’s license, and then a little cash. (P.S. I love my mother for packing lipstick to the hospital.) When we left the hospital after she passed, I took her purse with me. It sits in a drawer in my dresser, and I haven’t so much as touched it since I brought it home. It had three dollars in it, and those dollars have sat untouched for the last two and a half years.
I knew they were there, but I could not touch them. They were my mother’s. It felt weird to use them, like I was stealing almost.
This last week was kind of rough. Remember my blog post about New Year’s Resolutions?
One of my resolutions was to stress less. Well, this last week I failed miserably on that one, and by Friday I was ready for the week to be done, ready to get some perspective and change my attitude, and ready for a nice, sugar filled, calorie laden, cup of coffee.
Unfortunately for me, one of my other resolutions was to budget better (we are doing better in this department, but not as good as I’d like), so I refused to put a cup of coffee on our debit card (we take out spending money in cash each week so it’s easier to keep track of, and in addition, things were tight last week, and I didn’t want to start out this week on the wrong foot.)
So, I dug my mom’s purse out. I felt the lipstick, and looked at my mom’s driver’s license, and I spent the three dollars that were in it on a much needed cup of coffee.
I felt bad. Like I said, it almost felt like stealing. To be honest, I feel kind of bad blogging about it. I’m a little afraid I’ll be judged for using that three dollars on a cup of a coffee, but had my mother been here, I’m pretty sure she would have been the one to buy me that cup of coffee after a bad week…or even after a good week, or for no real reason at all; because mom’s do that. Here I go sounding incredibly selfish again, but sometimes I miss that. I miss my mom buying me a cup of coffee or buying my breakfast at work (remember we worked together for years). I miss going shopping with her and splitting a treat with her on the car ride home. I miss that feeling of being taken care of. Now of course that’s not the only thing I miss. I miss her MY MOM bottom line, but I also have moments where I miss being a child, who is still being taken care of, even just in small ways, by her mom.
Spending that three dollars did help me gain a little perspective though.
Those three dollars are not my mom.
The fur coat and the glass corn on the cob holders are not my mom.
The boxes upon boxes in our garage are not my mom.
My mom is in my heart.
My mom is in my memory.
In my relationship with my daughter.
She is not in a box or an article of clothing.
Those things may remind me of her, but they are not her.
I do not have to keep every shred of her existence.
My mother most definitely existed.
I am living proof of her impact on this world.
I hold her in my memory and in my heart.
I love her now just as much as I did when she was here.
Our relationship still exists.
She is still a part of my life.
I don’t need a garage full of boxes to prove that or to remind me of that.
All I need is to look in the mirror,
to remember her,
to talk about her.
This summer I will clean out my garage. It will be hard and I will still keep some articles of clothing. I will still keep the gift card holder (because it still makes me laugh.) I will still keep a lot of things.
But, I won’t keep it all.
I don’t need to, to keep my mother.
My mother will always be a part of me.