Hello Mom? It’s me!

My mother as a schoolgirl

I always miss my mom. Some days I miss her more than others.

Sometimes I would love to share something with her. Other times I miss her views on life (always amusing but on target).

I miss her unconditional love. She supported me even when she was banging her head on the walls saying “What is she thinking?”

I’d love to have her advice on stuff. Not so much the living process but certainly the getting old process. I want her version of waking up one morning to find that your body parts have been replaced by that of a 100-year-old person. Overnight! A lot like those alien films of old.

She had a way with words and could be very funny even when she didn’t mean to be. Yesterday was one of those days when I needed my Mom (yes, even at my age!).

I went to the grocery store. There were three items on my list but on the way I remembered another three. Easy peasy right? I can remember three things.

Nope, not even close. I forgot ALL three. One was a piece of cake to soothe my ailing dental issues. (I think of it as a medication rather than a dessert. Yes I made another trip to pick it up! I need my meds!)

As I always do, I wondered if this was the first sign. You forget stuff. I thought it was your name or where you were but it could be what you need from the store.

Seriously how can you forget cake? That’s when I realized that it was my short-term memory failing temporarily (hopefully) and not a fatal disease. No one forgets cake.

Or how about the balance thing. One minute you are erect and the next you are on the ground looking at people’s scuffed shoes or toenail fungus. You have no idea what happened. (For the record I found that these instances are a good time to justify another mocha latte, hot fudge sundae or anything else you have been hankering for).

I don’t remember my mother falling often but then again, I never paid much attention. I knew what she was unhappy about (usually the antics of her wayward daughter). I knew the status of her asthma but I didn’t know how she felt about aging.

She gave up driving early. She always hated driving. She had a daughter she could guilt into driving her but she never abused that. She was content hitching a ride with lady friends or if she had to, the bus. She often took the bus to the mall and I picked her up after work and we went for dinner.

Dinner was always fun. Never any serious talks. She would have updates on her equally crazy friends. (She always thought they were crazier but…)

My mother was stoic (unlike her theatrical daughter). She minimized most illnesses. I am always sure I’m at death’s door. Undertaker on speed dial. EMS at the ready. I wonder if that’s how she truly felt or if she didn’t want to upset her theatrical daughter with bad news.

Until the very end when she was ill, I don’t remember her forgetting anything. Yesterday she would have had a good laugh at her daughter making two trips to the supermarket within a half hour. As long as I brought her a piece of cake, she would have been good with it.

91 thoughts on “Hello Mom? It’s me!

  1. Such love here in this post. I totally ‘get’ it. I used to call my mom every day until the past 1 1/2 years (now she can’t figure out how to talk on the phone). But until dementia hit hard, she refused to discuss aging- probably because she was sure she never would age. Cheers to our strong resilient loving moms. 💞

    Liked by 1 person

    • In a sense I was lucky. About the time my mother started to have memory issues (along with some odd behavior like telling us people came out of the TV) she was at the end from congestive heart failure. We only had maybe two months of that before she died. My heart goes out to you. I know how painful it was for me to see my mom like that. We (the family) were at a point where we worried about her living alone and had to make “arrangements.” She was hospitalized and died as a decision was getting formulated. I am glad we didn’t have to rip her out of her home as that would have been very upsetting to her.

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  2. I miss my Mom every day and wish I could hear her voice. I miss her multiple times a day. This was a sweet, endearing, funny post, Kate. I forget things a lot more than I would like to admit. I blame it on all the things I am thinking about and the fact that I am always way ahead of myself when thinking… think of something and I am on to something else.

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    • I am like that too. As people say we need to be “more in the minute.” I have to work hard on that. I used to call my mom every day at 4 and every once in a while, maybe a few times a year, at 4 p.m. I feel that urge.

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  3. A very tender reminiscence, Kate. I always enjoy hearing about your mother as your stories show that she really was a lovely person and a caring parent. My husband’s mom, a wonderful person and friend, has been gone for more than 20 years. My mom is still living, and I’m thankful, but my husband misses his mom very much and we talk about her as though we just saw her the other day. I think losing a parent, when they’ve been a happy part of our lives, is a very significant loss! I’m sure she would have been very comforting and consoling to you as you experienced some of your memory lapses. She’d also have encouraged you saying they were just minor annoyances! My mother-in-law used to say to me regularly, “Don’t get old!” And I used to remind her that the alternative wasn’t too pleasant. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Something that makes it harder to share is that my husband never met her so it’s not something we can share. He always tells me I’m a lot like his dad in my interests and reactions (I didn’t get to meet his dad either). Ironically both his dad and my mom died the same year.

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  4. My Ma has been gone for more than 30 years and there are still times when I say to myself, “Wait until I tell Ma about this!” We are blessed to have had our mothers and the memories of them we have today.

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    • Thanks. My original intent was to whine about forgetfulness yet again but I wondered about my mom. I never noticed it with her and I wondered if she didn’t worry about or maybe was less forgetful than me.

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  5. Loved this one, Kate. I’m still not in a place to find what I miss about my mom, but this post of yours helps in that process. Like yours, my mother wasn’t really too interested in driving. In fact, she stopped completely when she retired which probably wasn’t the best plan. But she too was awfully good at being resourceful at finding rides, I’ll give her that much. 🙂 Great post! – Marty

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    • Thanks. My mother had her cadre of lady friends. They traveled together and went to bingo. Fortunately there were some who didn’t mind driving although as they got older, they didn’t like to drive at night.

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  6. My mother and I didn’t have a good relationship overall but when she passed I decided to make a point of remembering some of the happier times. Yesterday I went to the camera repair shop to get a broken lens repaired. Guess what item I forgot to put in my bag? Oh well, another trip!

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  7. I understand – both missing your mother and your short-term memory (and the need for cake, though for me it’s biscuits/cookies). My mum’s been gone for nearly 3 decades now and I still miss her so much.

    Only forgot three things? I forget things just by turning round – whatever was in my mind, has gone. (It usually comes back but takes its own sweet time.)

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  8. your mom sounds amazing, and definitely a wise woman. she’d be proud to know the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as they say – second helping of cake for each! lol.

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  9. Yeah – I get it. I don’t think the missing part ever goes away. Sometimes I feel really lonely and I realize it’s just my mom I’m missing – being able to pick up the phone and say hi.

    … and yes, I’d go back for cake too. Priorities.

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  10. I miss my mom, too, though less and less as the years go by. It’s sad and strange to realize I’ve now spent more years without her than with her. More like you and your dad, I guess.

    Which reminds me that I should probably call my dad. 🙂

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  11. From my book “Just Thinking” …. “Mom with the Laughing Eyes” (a tribute to my Mom).

    Born so many years ago,
    And a sickly child (apparently),
    She was called the runt of the litter.
    Her father worked in farming you see.
    ***
    She did not do too well in school.
    Started working for a large retail store,
    And there she met my Dad,
    And then there were rumors of war.
    ***
    They decided to get married
    And enjoy life come what may,
    But they both received their call-up papers,
    Right on their wedding day!
    ***
    Dad went into the Royal Navy,
    While Mom chose to work at home
    On Birmingham Corporation buses.
    She was a “clippie”… so she was never alone!
    ***
    The buses ran constantly,
    Throughout those troubled times.
    Often racing for a shelter
    As the air-raid sirens whined
    ***
    Mom was always ready with a laugh.
    She always had tales to tell.
    She carried that trait throughout her life.
    I remember her giggles so well.
    ***
    After the war, they went to work
    For a theater company of note.
    Dad designed and painted scenery,
    While Mom took care of the clothes.
    ***
    They traveled around the country
    Working wherever they had to be,
    But now they had two children,
    First Valerie… and then me.
    ***
    Rather than always renting rooms,
    They bought a caravan.
    It was our home for many, many years.
    We loved it; We had so much fun.
    ***
    Mom was the peacemaker in our family.
    Dad had a really bad temper.
    She seemed always able to calm him down
    And care for us… I so remember.
    ***
    Mom was also a good cook.
    Creative as well… we could tell.
    Even with post-war rationing,
    We always ate quite well.
    ***
    And so the years went by,
    And us kids (now three) went our separate ways.
    Mom and Dad got older,
    And faster went our days.
    ***
    I was now in Canada,
    And suddenly Dad passed away.
    Mom was on her own!
    Where was she going to stay?
    ***
    She got herself an apartment
    With immediate help on call.
    Her humor remained throughout this time,
    And she giggled her way through it all.
    ***
    From being the runt of the litter,
    She outlived her two sisters by far.
    She was very proud of her life.
    To me… well my Mom was a star.
    ***
    She always had time for people,
    And shared whatever she had.
    She would always help wherever she could.
    She was my Mom, and I was so glad.
    ***
    Eventually her mind started failing,
    And she needed continual care.
    She moved into a nursing facility.
    I was sorry that I could not be there.
    ***
    To support her as she supported us.
    To care for her would have been nice,
    But emigrating across the Atlantic
    Came with a very high price.
    ***
    Soon she too passed away.
    To be once again with Dad,
    And probably still trying to keep him calm.
    Giggling her way through the good and the bad!
    ***
    I know that I never told you Mom,
    Just how important you were to me.
    Your self-sacrifice; your giggles;
    Your contagious energy for all to see.
    ***
    How you loved your wine;
    A glass just once in a while;
    Just thinking about the bottle
    Made your eyes twinkle and smile
    ***
    You were a real person.
    No pretense. Just you… and motherly wise.
    I shall always remember you.
    My Mom with the laughing eyes
    ***
    When reflecting on your life;
    When all is said and done;
    You were a very special person.
    I am so proud that you were my Mom

    I still love you Mom
    At peace – Olive Doreen Chappell (nee Fisher) 1919-2012

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  12. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I think we always long for that nurturing, comfort and advice from parents. Your mom sounds very different from mine, with the exception of one thing you mentioned. I’m like you in that EMS is on speed dial. I freak out about the simplest of ailments, where my mom is suffering from COPD and nary a complaint (among many other illnesses, too).

    My heart goes out to you in longing for one of those dinners with your mom. My husband lost his parents within a year in 2016. He says it’s very strange not to have that “safety net” to turn to. Even though my parents are still here, I understand exactly what he means. You can always go home to your parents and know you’ll be welcome and loved. My mom is not well, so I cherish the moments we have left.

    I really love what you wrote here. I felt like I could see the two of you together interacting.

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  13. What a grand person your mother must have been. I wish mine were here too for Q&A. Mostly I miss her contageous laughter which I hope I inherited. It does seem to surface at odd times and says “Life is a hoot. Don’t take things so seriously.”

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  14. I miss my mother too. I have been thinking lately that I wish I had talked to her about the aging process. I saw her getting older but I never asked her – nor did she volunteer – anything about the physical as well as mental changes she experienced. Every once in a while she appears in my dreams and I get to hug her again. Maybe next time I’ll remember to ask her my latest age-related question.

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    • I too wish I had asked her some age-related questions. From a health standpoint, I didn’t inherit her asthma but I did get the rest of her healthy genes. No arthritis or joint issues but there are a few questions I have for her.

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  15. Some mother daughter relationships transcend time. Yours sounds like one of those special ones. Lucky you, even if you’re going to the store often, it gives you time to remember your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mom’s are special. Glad you had a great relationship with yours, Kate.

    On the memory thing ~ the more mindful we are (present, in the moment, not “lost in thought”), the better we remember where we are, what we’re doing, where we parked the car, where we left the keys, what we need to pick up at the store, who we need to call, etc.

    And since happiness resides in the present moment, it’s not a bad place to be. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I can tell you miss your mom. It sounds like she was super cool. With 5 siblings in my dad’s family suffering or having had suffered with dementia, I figure I’m doomed. I can totally relate to people who forget something and have that niggling thought, “Is this the beginning of the end of my brain?”

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    • My Dad’s sister had it full blown but she’s the only one in the family. I worry about it because I have to make my own decisions. Most people are in denial about it until it’s too late to make the necessary decisions.

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  18. My Mom had a Birmingham (UK) accent which was very strong. Us kids (3 of us) were obviously used to it, but it was very noticeable throughout her life. She also had a very practical approach to life. She “crossed bridges” when she came to them … and no sooner. She acknowledged how little control she had over life, and therefore appreciated whatever circumstances she found herself in. She was a very giving person. Growing up in an industrial environment and living through WWII would seem to have given her an appreciation for just being alive, and having food and shelter. I miss her trying to explain things to me in that “brummie” accent!

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  19. Beautiful tribute to your mother, Kate. I miss mine too, but in a different way. Living with dementia has changed our relationship. Although she’s still my best friend, she doesn’t really know much about me anymore….it’s heartbreaking.

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  20. that was very touching… I will call my mom tonight just to hear her voice ;o) I drove to a store today to buy a bottle with Raid… came home with donuts, chewing sticks and a salad but without Raid … oh my….

    Liked by 1 person

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