I don’t mean to keep a morbid time line of my mother’s passing. Really I don’t. But the fact that two months have passed by seems incredibly insane both in the “has it really been that long??” realm and the “no, it was ages ago” realm at the same time.
I miss her. Oh, how I miss her. I am fine most days and then there are the days where all I can do is cry.
But much of my crying is brought on by sweet memories. Here is one that was brought on by my sister-in-law Crista:
When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I got strep throat for the first time. I remember having a sore throat and feeling soooo cold even though it was a hot day outside. Mom walked to school to pick me up from class and when she went in to talk to my teacher she wrapped me up in her own sweater and had me stand outside in the sun shivering until she could come back out so we could walk the few blocks home. It was so sunny and bright outside and I remember her telling me I had to have a fever if I was cold on a hot day like that.
When we got home she took me into the shower and got me all warmed up and into a clean pair of pajamas and bundled me into her bed where she served me a drink that, to this day, makes me smile and that I crave when I’m sick: Raspberry tea with milk and sugar. It was delicious. And while I sipped my tea-milk (that’s what I called it), she got out a book she had been saving for me. That was the day my mom first started to read The Secret Garden to me. It was a hardback, clothbound red copy with gold lettering on the spine. For three days we lay in bed and when I wasn’t sleeping, Mom read to me.
I was positively entranced. I knew that I loved books by that time, anyway, but that was one of the first times I lost myself in a book that I can recall. Even now, one of my standards by which I judge a book is whether or not it loses me. I can lose myself so deeply in a story that, when I put it down for a moment, I find the reality of my life jarring for a moment. That is the first time I remember that happening. When Dad would come home or Mom would have to get up to do something, I would be shocked to find myself at home in bed with a sore throat still, and not tucked away in Misslethwaite Manner with the “other” Mary and her cousin.
I asked Crista if she would mind my reading the story to Ella, as she found the original copy of the book my mom had used to read to me.
How appropriate, these days, that one of the ways I can carry on one of my Mom’s special memories with me is through a book named “The Secret Garden.”