Saturday, May 13, 2017
I have some letters I wrote to her through the years that she had saved, and almost invariably they begin with an apology for not writing more, not visiting more, not calling more. There were times when she called me so often that I dreaded hearing her say, "Haven't heard from you lately." because of the guilt it stirred up. But through the years, late in the afternoon, after five when the rates went down, and I'd put one of my ubiquitous casseroles in to cook and had a little time on my hands, I'd pick up the phone and call her. I knew she'd be thrilled....she always seemed to be. I know I am when one of my girls call and the rates are cheap all the time!
She never scolded me particularly for not being more attentive, and after a few days visit from our rather large brood of children, I have a feeling she was pretty happy to settle back into peace and quiet and a couple of phone calls a week. What I think she really would have treasured was some of my undivided attention, something I seldom found time to give her. I found that time in the last weeks of her life. At the end, I made her custard she had no taste for and did her laundry and took her to the oncologist who admitted her to the hospital, never to return to the little patio home she was so proud of. I went back there and climbed up in the ugly blue velour recliner and rocked myself and cried because I realized that the time to give her what she wanted was over.
Today I went out to see if I had gardenias from her...it's just about time and Mama seldom disappointed me...and sure enough, there were exactly three blooms. One each for me, my brother and my sister. There will be many more later on, but for Mother's Day, she sent me three. If she were still here, she would get dressed up in a nice suit and pantyhose and low heeled shoes and pin a white rose on her bosom in remembrance of her mother, our Mamo, and go to church. She would expect us to wear a red or pink one on our shoulder in honor of her. I'm certain no suits or pantyhose will be involved for me or my siblings or my children tomorrow, and church may or not be, and my rose will be white if I wear one, but all of us will remember Mama if we get a whiff of a gardenia in the next few weeks.