Ninety-two years ago tomorrow …

Tomorrow’s my mother’s birthday.  She loved celebrating her birthday.  Even when she got older.  Especially when she got older.  She delighted in telling people chocolateher age; and loved their reactions.

Because no one ever believed it.

She looked considerably younger, but I think the main reason everyone stared at her in disbelief was her ‘spirit’, which was probably about thirty years younger than she was.  At least.  Her zest for life, her curiosity, her willingness to try new things, her open mind, her determination, her sense of humour, her giggle, the twinkle in her eye, her energy, her positive attitude all kept her young.

One of her greatest pleasures was eating chocolate.  You could see the look of rapture on her face the minute she bit into one.  And to her, it didn’t matter — it could have been a handful of chocolate chips or a candy bar.  It didn’t have to be a box of expensive bonbons to satisfy her craving.  It only had to be chocolate –milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, whatever.  Cream centres, hard centres, plain.  With nuts or without.  As long as it was chocolate.

Of course, as a diabetic, the last thing she should have eaten was chocolate.  She tried to exercise some control and some times she succeeded.  But she did have some stashed all over her apartment for ’emergencies’.

So if I can’t have her here with me on her birthday, I’d like to imagine her celebrating, with a huge box of chocolates beside her, her eyes glazed over with pleasure, sporting an enormous grin, chewing contentedly on all her favourites.  Because let me tell you, if she was here right now, the assortment in this photo would have several empty spots, that is for sure!

It’s funny, because I inherited many of her traits, but her sweet tooth isn’t one of them.  I would be lying if I said I never got an urge for something sweet, but my preference is for spicy food.  Give me a bottle of hot sauce any time.

My mother was an identical twin and they were born prematurely.  So she was meant to be a Virgo, not a Leo.  It’s interesting because she had characteristics of both signs.  Her personality was definitely Leo.  She had the sunniest disposition.  Always optimistic, nothing ever got her down.  She was warm, had a big heart and was very kind.  She lavished attention on her friends and her family.  And she was extremely outgoing — which is why I wasn’t overly concerned when, at seventy-five years old, she announced she was going to move to Toronto — where I was the only person she knew, other than some of my friends.  I knew she’d make friends in no time and she did.

Where she was a typical Virgo, was when it came to ‘order’.  To call her neat is an understatement.  Her drawers, handbags, closets, pantries, cupboards, cosmetic bag were organized with military precision.  Never was anything out of place.  Never.  The absolute opposite of me.  And my father.  How she didn’t murder both of us is beyond me.  For the most part she suffered in silence, although I did elicit a loud, dramatic sigh from her on more than one occasion.  She was also frank and didn’t suffer fools gladly.  I definitely picked up that trait.

They say, when someone dies, that time heals.  Bullshit.  I still miss my mother, seven years later (and my father, after twenty-seven years).  I still reach for the phone time and time again to ask her for a recipe or to tell her I bumped into someone she knew or just to share some news.  The pain is gone, but the void remains.

But the memories live on.  The images of her are as vivid as they ever were.  I can still hear the sound of her laughter.  And I can definitely see her hand reaching for yet another chocolate.  A chocolate covered cherry.  They were definitely among her favourites.





24 thoughts on “Ninety-two years ago tomorrow …

  1. I’m of the “life after death” school mostly as they live on inside us and never go away. This makes me want to eat chocolate in her honor! Reading this and knowing you how I do I can only say you ARE your mother’s daughter.

    Well done.

    • Thank yiu Pete! I am of the same school, which is why I see her laughing and eating chocolate as I write this. And I do feel her with me all the time. And please do eat some chocolate and enjoy it — I’m probably going to eat some myself 🙂

  2. I remember when you wrote about your mom and her identical twin recently — her sister just passed away, correct? As a chocolate lover, let me say your mom certainly had good taste in indulgences 🙂 I find the zodiac calendar fascinating. My sister has studied it extensively and knows personality characteristics of all 12 signs off the top of her head. I’m a Virgo, so I understand her need for order, but my birthday falls on the cusp, so several Libra qualities bleed into my personality. You’re right, we never fully recover from the loss of a loved one. Cancer claimed my dad 15 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. Happy birthday to you mom.

    • Thanks so much, Gwen. Yes, you’re right. Her sister did just pass away. My dad was a Libra. You have a birthday coming up 🙂

  3. Time heals… but doesn’t stop the missing, not ever, even if we manage to go whole days at a time without the conscious thought… But they are there, not only becasue I too am of the afterlife ilk… but because those we love write themselves into the fabric of our being and in that way they are never ‘not’ with us.
    I shall eat chocolate tomorrow.

  4. Your mother sounds totally delightful! It’s no wonder you miss her still… I can relate to some of her qualities, especially the chocolate-loving part! And chocolate covered cherries are a favorite of mine too, though now I only like dark chocolate, and other kind is way too sweet…

    I send birthday greetings to her, wherever she is, and hope you have a peaceful day of rembering and honoring her.

  5. Fransi, it looks my original reply didn’t go through but apologies if I’m repeating myself in case it got hung up in “WP land”. I loved this post!
    Like you, I don’t have a sweet tooth so upon reading I was originally thinking I’d dive into that bag of leftover / stale chocolate from Halloweens and Xmases past but that just doesn’t seem appropriate in a way to honour your mother. Instead, I am going to try to find the most scrumptious delectable and gorgeous chocolate I can find tomorrow and thoroughly indulge in her honour!

  6. Your Mom sounds delightful! Today I celebrate the birth of my identical twin daughters and I will toast your Mom as well 🙂

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