I wasn’t really thinking about Mothers day this year. I got my mom a present, of course, and wished Happy Mothers day to all the people who are Mother’s and I have contact info for. But I haven’t taken it seriously since my Nana(grandmother) died. I used to always buy her flowers and a stuffed animal. She kept all of them on her bed. And that’s quite alot of stuffed animals when you count Mothers day, her birthday and Christmas.
I smelled the faintest whiff of hot fresh made tortillas. Imaginary, of course. She made the best tortillas. They were thin and buttery but not too buttery and we used to have a ton of them. She cooked until the last month of her life. She was amazing.
She raised five kids on her own. Kids who went out into the world and made something for themselves. Firefighters, city construction crew, Chip assembly managers, Social workers, and accountants. Some holding multiple hats. All with families of their own.
She held us together. Not just her sons and daughters but also her grandchildren. The cousins as I refer to us.
We had Thanksgiving and Christmas; Mother’s Day and Easter. When the cousins were younger we had summer camping trips. We were tight knit. Close.
But that’s mostly gone now. The cousins all have their own families. And the tight knit bonds our parents share never quite translated down to us. For us, it was Nana that tied us together. She babysat many of us. We would play games in her halls.
She always wanted to feed us. She didn’t have much but there was always food. And it was delicious. Those recipes are mostly gone. Our parents have one or two, here or there, but it’s all gone.
At her funeral, I couldn’t attend the wake. It was too much. I was sitting outside on a stone bench. I could hear the music and people talking. But inside, it felt like I was drowning in their sorrow and I couldn’t deal.
I thought that I had a handle on her death. She didn’t go quick. I was letting her go for literally years. Knowing that the inevitable was coming.
She died surrounded by her family. She died protected by her faith. And I know, not with faith, but with certainty that she made it into her heaven. She died as well as any of us can.
And still, walking to her grave. To have her be buried. I cried. I almost had to lean on my older brother because I couldn’t see through the tears.
I had to hang back from the burial. That wasn’t her. What made her, her was gone.
But still I remember. Days like this, when my brain betrays me. When I remember her singing in Spanish. When I can smell tortillas, which I’ll never taste again. Nothing is quite right.
Still, I remember. She’d always take one of my bears with her when she was in the hospital. I wonder if they gave her one to keep her safe. I wonder a lot of things.
But that’s life. We get very few answers to match up against our pain.
Just one more spin on the wheel. Who knows for how long.