Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Keep the Faith

I have lost both my parents. This time of the year I am always reminded of my mom's death.

I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with them on a lake outside of Stillwater, MN where I was house sitting. My other siblings were with their families, brother in SC, MNMom in NYC, and Cheesecake Maven in Alabama.

I took my parents to a big new grocery store in Stillwater to shop for the holiday. Dad had never seen anything like it! The two of them were like kids in a candy store. Dad held up brussel sprouts still on the stalk and yelled for my mom to come and "take a look at this." I was laughing so hard at them-loving every minute of it. By the time we got out of the expensive gourmet section, I had to make them each put a few things back. We had picked up enough food to feed God's army.

Back at the lake house, Mom and I got ready to go to the midnight service at the local Methodist Church. She came in to the bathroom and looked at me in the mirror and told me how beautiful I am. I am crying as I write this because if you knew my mom, you know she was not one for handing out "pretty compliments." Then she asked me for some lipstick and proceeded to primp with me. I had no idea how special this memory would be.

We were getting on our coats and it felt like she was my shadow. I turned to ask her what was wrong and she only said that she hopes I am happy and then asked me if I thought all my siblings were happy. I assured her we were. Did she know on some unconscious level that her time was near?

The service was a beautiful candle ceremony with no sermon, just hymn singing. DELIGHTFUL. It snowed over night and on Christmas day. Mom and I walked the lake - it was frozen solid. She made instant friends with the kids next door playing hockey and commented on how much my nephews would be enjoying the ice and snow.

Dad and I played Mastermind (tricky for my dad since he is almost blind), snacked on smoked herring and crackers, and talked about the lake and the history of Stillwater. We had a nice Christmas Dinner at the Lumber Baron Hotel in Stillwater.

Mom and Dad left on December 26. That is the last time I hugged my mom. She died from an acute asthma attack, January 2, 1999 after being taken off life support.

I will always cherish that Christmas.
And Mom? I will always keep the faith.


Mnmom said...

Oh Ruthie, now you got ME crying. I think of them every single day. Everytime I find a penny or some other small change laying around, I say "thanks" to them for sending me a message of love and support. I found one today at the bottom of the clean laundry basket. Mom always leaves them in places only a mother would find.

themom said...

That is beautiful. I am a strong believer in holding our memories close and sharing them...to keep them alive.

Cheesecake Maven said...

Damn, now I'm crying too! Why is it we miss them so much more this year?? Maybe because for the first time since they died, none of the three of us will see each other for the holiday. It stinks. Period. I MISS YOU BOTH VERY MUCH!

Mike said...

Thanks Ruth! I am crying too but I AM AT WORK!

michaelg said...

What a marvelous tribute to your folks. Priceless memories. Your parents were remarkable people. Missing them is a great form of respect.

FranIAm said...

What a beautiful and evocative post you have written. I come here via your sister.

I laughed out loud at the brussel sprouts part of the story, I also cried.

Thank you for your generosity in sharing this with us.

Amy said...

Hey Ruth... What??? Chicago? Good for you. I was just asking mom about you the other day - I don't think she knows you are gone. Your post made me cry... I miss my dad and sister as well... 11 years in Jan. since my dad died and 2 years since Paula is gone. The holidays are hard but the memories make it better. I would love to keep in touch with you... send me an email... mine is akromke@gmail.com