It takes a while to say goodbye
A week before she died my mother mailed me a holiday card with a gift card to our favorite breakfast spot. I know lots of folks think gift cards are low effort presents, but for us every gift card carried with it an intension: “Let’s go there together”.
A dozen or more times per year Mom would come over on a Saturday morning and we would always go somewhere for breakfast or lunch. Every Spring we would get together even more often because of her birthday and Mother’s Day. In my memory, these meals have all blended together. We’d get some great food, maybe take a short walk around the park, or sit together on a bench. Nothing stands out about any particular morning, but all these mornings taken together represent a routine that I can’t get back.
I didn’t really realize it at the time, but these mornings together were our way of accepting each other. As much as we might disagree or bicker from time to time, that never stopped us from spending time together–time we both needed. Time I still need.
That time and that acceptance are gone now. I know I’ve become a person that she was proud of–she told me all the time–and I hope I never lose touch with that. I never want to stop trying to be and become someone she was proud of.
It’s been over a year since she died, and I finally got around to using that gift card. It’s been in the back of my mind for a while now that it represented the last meal with Mom. I tried several times over the past few months to go there alone and ended up turning back each time. A couple of weeks ago I asked a friend to go with me. We went to breakfast before work this morning. It was nice to have company, not to have to face that last meal alone.