Sunday, January 30, 2011

Has It Really Been A Year Already

Since my mom died? Yes, indeed it has. Today, Sunday, is the one year anniversary of my mother dying. It is still hard for me to believe she is gone. Still hard to believe I cannot just pick up the phone and call her, to tell her about a book I read, or what is going on with the construction (or lack thereof). I still check the answering machine when I come in to see if she has left a message.

There is so much I learned from my mother (that's my younger brother and me with her), things that pop into my head completely unbidden. Like her voice telling me the best way to prepare a particular dish, for instance, as I am working in the kitchen. Or when I glance and see one of her treasured cookbooks on the shelf. Mom was a great cook - everyone loved her food, and she always made plenty for everyone. I remember, as a very small child, "helping" Mom make biscuits in the kitchen. She had a stool for me to stand on, and gave me a bottle cap so I could make child-size biscuits to her grown-up ones. Or how I helped her make fried okra (if you think you don't like okra, it's just because you haven't had it fried until it is crunchy - yum).

My love of animals no doubt came from my mother. From early on, she helped convince my dad to let us have a pony, then a horse, plus numerous cats and dogs. I remember walking home from junior high school with a kitten someone found at the school. Mom never turned away an animal, and somehow, smoothed it over with Dad. If I was sick, Mom would take care of my horse, not one of my four siblings, but Mom. She just loved animals, a love and interest we shared.

We have two of her pets with us, one we got when he was a kitten (Bug) because he was too crazy for my dad. (That's Bug in the photo above, whom we refer to as "Bugs Buddy." I cannot tell you the number of "dog" people who have fallen in love with this cat. He is something else, that's for sure - convinced we built our log home as his own private jungle gym.)

The other pet of Mom's we have is her beloved dog, Dorothy, on whom Mom doted. Mom was just crazy about this dog. One of the nicest things about the very nice facility in which Mom finished out her days after her stroke was that they allowed people to bring in pets. We were able to take Dorothy to see Mom a couple of weeks before Mom died.

We got our horse, Jordan, with Mom. Every time we talked about Jordan, or she saw him, she would always said, "He is SO big!" At 16.2 hh, he is a pretty big horse. Good thing he's such a sweetheart (um, Jordan is sticking his tongue out in response to my partner explaining to him I was not with her because I had just had surgery on my knee). Mom loved Jordan, as she did all horses, a love she definitely passed on to me.

There is so much I learned from Mom, so much I appreciated about Mom, and so much I miss about Mom. She was a lovely, gracious, funny, artistic woman with a heart of gold. She never met a stranger, and all were welcome in her home. The lessons she taught me will remain with me always. And I will always miss her. I love you, Mom.

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