2 years 11 days of our new reality

I miss my mom. 2 years and 11 days of not being able to talk to her, to visit her or even to argue with her. Yesterday was the worst day yet. She was on my mind at every turn. I guess it took me totally by surprise.

fairy lights in jar on shore at sunset
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yesterday I was doing a “values”exercise. I was trying to determine what is important to me and why. Two of the questions that I needed to ask myself was: “What do I surround myself with in my personal space” and “What do I spend my energy on?”. My room is filled with books and puzzles and stationary and that is what I spend a lot of my time doing. Reading, writing and doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc. I started thinking of how a love of puzzles was something that we shared. I can picture her sitting in her room with the Natal Witness puzzle page. She had her favourite puzzle. I can’t remember what it was called but it required you to make as many words as possible out of the 9 or so letters provided. My sister, her son and I definitely share a love of puzzles with her. In my sister and her son, it manifests as a love for picture puzzles while my mum and I enjoyed word and number puzzles.

I also got my affinity for accounting from her. She worked as a bookkeeper most of her life. I will never forget how she beamed with pride after our school awards ceremony. I received the 1st place award for accounting and it was mentioned that I had broken the school’s record for accounting in grade 8 (called std 6 back then). My mother was a very modest person and expected the same of us but that day, that day she threw caution to the wind and told everyone how “I got it from her”. I was so shocked and happy. I don’t think I have ever heard her take credit for anything since. On the weekend before she passed, it was the first time in a very long time that all the sisters were together with her. She was so thrilled to have us all together. I was saying to her that Alex most definitely got his love for soccer from her. You may never have seen her at a match but she always watched it on TV. When Alex was a baby and as he got older, he had no choice but to watch soccer and soapies whenever she looked after him. She refused to take the credit and insisted he was more interested in 7de Laan (a South African soapie).

What I definitely did not get from her was her organisational ability. She made sure that the house ran like clockwork. We never wanted for the basics, no matter how much or little money there was at any point in time. She was very intentional about how she used money. A skill I am desperately trying to teach myself now. She always made sure my car license was paid on time as my car was still registered in PMB and I live in Durban. We had a system. I had one of her debit orders come off my account and she stashed that cash for me in an envelope next to her TV. It was my Royal Show spending money every May and my Car license money in September. it was just one of the little ways that we connected. Let me tell you, my car license has not been paid on time since she has left us, much to my bank account’s distress. Being disorganised is a costly exercise I tell you. I might not have inherited that ability but my sister Carolyn, definitely inherited it from her.

The parking spot I plotting yesterday turned out to be taken by an Atos just like the one that she used to drive. I was so surprised that I almost said to Alex: “Look! Granny’s here”. I guess I have being feeling very disconnected from her of late. I would like to believe that all the little reminders of her that were placed before me in various ways yesterday, was her way of letting me know that she is still near even when it doesn’t feel like it.

When it comes right down to it, she will always be a part of each of us. When we look in the mirror, we see some element of her. My sisters and I, and I think all her grandchildren, have her chin and neck. We realised that night we were all together in the hospital that we all wear glasses like she did. 😁 Almost all her grandchildren inherited her talent for baking. We are all blessed with some element of her skills and personality that allowed each of us to connect with her in our own way while she was here and that we can use to connect with her now that she has passed on. I will take comfort in that.

I hope that you and your families continue to take precautions against the coronavirus. It’s a such a stealthy little bugger. Wash and sanitise your hands, wear your mask correctly, keep a safe following distance, and avoid going out as much as you can. Prevention is better than cure after all.

#Staysafe

Day 5 of my new reality… a world without my mum in it.

My Mum

It is day 5 of my new reality. 5 days of life without my mum. My quiet, fiercely independent and loving mum. My heart is broken that she is no longer with us but I know that she is now at peace. She suffers no more and that gives me great comfort. She taught me much in the 45 years I was blessed to call her my mum. These are just a few of the valuable lessons I learned from her:

1. You are responsible for your life

Like I have mentioned above and in a previous post, my mum was a fiercely independent woman. She didn’t sit around waiting for anyone, she just quietly went about doing what needed to be done. She was dedicated to her family, to her job and to her God. Through her example, my sisters and I have learnt responsibility and diligence and have each become independent woman ourselves.

2. Being a mother means loving and accepting your children and being there for them always

I remember calling my mum to tell her that I was pregnant. I was 34 and single and felt like I had let my parents down terribly. She quietly listened and then said to me “It is what it is my child. It’s ok. Let me know what I can do for you”. She did not judge me. She didn’t make me feel guilty, she just accepted me and loved me anyway. She was a woman of few words and seldom voiced her emotions to me but she showed me her love by her actions. True to her words, she was there for me in every way that I allowed her to be and even in ways that I never expected. She loved her grandson dearly and he lived for that one week every holiday that he would spend with her. Thank you Mummy.

Alex and his Beloved Granny

3. Actions speak louder than words

Like I said, my mum was a woman of few words. What she didn’t say, she showed. One of the ways she showed her love was through her baking. She loved to bake and she was an excellent baker. She set the standard very high and it is very seldom that I taste someone else’s cakes and find them up to the standard of my mum’s. My mum never said “welcome to my home” or “happy to be here” with words. She said it with a her baking. She knew everyone in and outside of the family’s favourites and made a point of baking it when she knew they were coming or if she was going to visit them. She took great pleasure in delighting everyone in this way. In our home, Sunday night’s were treasured because she would bake 2-3 different delights every Sunday afternoon and that was how we spent our Sunday evenings, savouring my mum’s delicious baking as a family before we started a new week.

4. Your smile lights up the world

Some of the comments that I have often gotten from people over the past few days is “I am going to miss her smile”, “whenever you met her she would always give you a big smile”, “she was always smiling”, “she had a lovely smile”. My mum delighted everyone she met with her smile. She used it to make them feel welcome in her presence. She used it brighten their day. Her smile lit up the world of everyone around her. It was a simple yet effective and gracious tool that she used to make this world a better place everyday. Even while she was in the hospital. No matter how terrible she was feeling, whenever her grandchildren came to see her, she would find the energy to sit up straight and put on her brightest smile when she saw them. It blew me away to see her do that every time.

There is of course so much more that I could share about my mum and I know that as I continue to reflect on her life and my experience of her in the coming weeks and years, there will be a lot more valuable lessons that will come to mind. Even though my son only got to spend 10 years with her, he was blessed to have lots of quality time with her and she instilled in him lots of values and of course, a love for baking.

Baking in memory of Granny this week

Thank you for being you Mummy. You were authentic and an inspiration. I am blessed to call you my mum.

Rest In Peace Mummy.

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