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“Mama, just for a moment we’re happy. Let’s really look at one another.”
–Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Tonight, on the way to Bridgy’s baton twirling class, I stopped and got a frozen iced coffee from McDonald’s. I guess I forgot you’re not supposed to drink caffeine after 3 p.m., which is why I’m awake at 3 a.m. bla, bla, blogging.

Tonight, when I got home from work, I decided to rearrange some things in my kitchen cabinets. Unexpectedly, I came across a box that belonged to my mother. It was labeled Cake Decor – Color – Tips. I opened it for the first time since bringing it home from her apartment after she died. Inside were bottles of sprinkles she often used in making cookies. She loved to give them away at Christmastime.

I picked up a bottle of snowflake sprinkles and wrapped my hand around it and rolled it. And, then, like a scene from a dreadfully predictable movie, I hugged the box and cried from that place inside me where all the love for my mother still lives. These cries aren’t gulping sobs or tender mewls, but keen sorrows I set free. Sorrows I have sucked up hour by hour and day by day since the day she died, December 24, because, this is what the schedule has required.

Occasionally, I say to my sister, “Christmas Eve? Are you kidding me?” Other times, while laying on the couch and watching the latest bad news from the talking heads, I say, “My mother never saw 2018.” Like it’s still sinking in that she is gone and not here to enjoy all the madness with me.

She was an amazing mother.

I take the sprinkles out of the box one by one and set them on the counter. One of the bottles is an old pill bottle filled with flat, pastel sprinkles. I laugh remembering how utilitarian Mom was. Never let a perfectly good pill bottle go to waste.

There were so many prescriptions over the years. She had to take so many pills just to stay alive. I’m so glad she doesn’t have to do that anymore. But, I still wish she wasn’t gone. I wish that a lot. Especially now that something wonderful is on the horizon. I know she would have wanted to be here for it.

Juliette called me the other day with something important to say. “All the things she wanted to happen are happening,” she said. And she listed off the restorations and miracles.

It’s good to know that even after we die, our prayers still go on being answered and faith really is eternal.


Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Sue Salazar

    I lost my mom in January 2017. Although the grief remains, it slowly turns to the dull ache that Toni mentioned. And my mom, like yours, took many medicines and her quality of life was really diminished. I try to remember all the good times – baking and giving Christmas cookies was big in our family as well. Hugs. Be kind to your self.

  2. toni

    After 8 years, my grief over my mother’s death has turned into a dull ache that is always in the background and wells up whenever I’m doing something that reminds me of her–browsing in the grocery store, going to the nursery to pick out plants, listening to a particular song on the radio. I’m with my sisters and their families this week on a much-needed vacation in New England. I’m sad she isn’t here to enjoy the beach and the cool weather (well, much cooler than Texas right now). I know she would have loved just being her with everyone, watching the kids play in the surf, taking them out for ice cream, and just enjoying life. Like the tides, the sadness comes and goes and sometimes washes over you like a wave and then you remember to come up for air.

    Peace in your journey ahead.

    • Jennifer

      You said it so beautifully, Toni. The waves do cover me up from time to time. There is so much she is missing. And, seems strange to grow old without her. To know, that if I am lucky-blessed, I will grow older with each passing year, and she will always be just 83. Maybe I’ll get to 83, and even then, she will still be 83. We’ll be the same age then, and I’ll still be without her. I’ll know we would have been such great friends. Thanks for stopping by and being part of this very difficult journey.

  3. Marie at the Lazy W

    Oh man. This is just so much. The mundane task after work, the tiny moment that blooms into releasing grief, the prescription bottles and pastel sprinkles, Juliette’s phone call. All of it. The way life delivers what we deeply need at such unexpected times, wow. I’m always stunned by this. Yes I believe prayers continue to live on after our death. I believe they can be answered long after, too. Giving thanks ahead of time for more and more, for you. Thank you for sharing this. xoxo


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