My mother died on July 3 of this year.
I knew that July 6 would be difficult; and it was. We had planned to celebrate that date, my 67th birthday, at the same lovely cake shop where we had celebrated her 67th birthday twenty-five years before.
I knew that going through her things would bring tears to my eyes; and it did. I remembered what each of them represented to her.
I knew that October 12 would be particularly sad; and it was. We should have been celebrating her 93rd birthday instead of reflecting on birthday celebrations past.
What I didn’t know was that every post office in France would trigger the response “Oh, I’d better pop in and buy some stamps to send postcards to mom.” She loved getting postcards and displayed them on a little stand in her living room. One of the most poignant things that happened after mom died was when two of the postcards I had sent from Portugal arrived at my address having been forwarded from her vacant apartment.
I also didn’t know that, when perusing the sweet offerings in markets and shops, my first thought would be, “Nougat!! I’d better buy some for mom; it’s her favorite.” One of the things that brought a big smile to my face after my mother died was the realization that, in the week between my return from Portugal and her death, she had eaten all three pieces of the nougat that I had brought back for her.
I miss my mother in many ways both expected and unexpected but I am relishing my memories of her even more than the nougat I have been forced to consume in her honor.