L’shana tova–Happy New Year. Even if you’re not Jewish, fall is a reminder of the cycles of life and of milestones. Each new school year is, in fact, a “new” year. You look at your children or grandchildren with fresh eyes as they trot off to school. There’s no denying the passage of time.
For those of us whose mothers are no longer with us, the fall can bring sadness as well. In the last 37 years, I can’t count the times have I said to myself, I wish my mother were here to see…Jen walk down the aisle, Jen becoming a mother, my eldest grandson reading, his little brother going off to kindergarten, and the littlest one lurching across the floor like Frankenstein as he takes his first tentative steps and falls into my arms. I want to believe that she still “sees” us, but my heart aches nonetheless. Earlier today, as I sprinkled salt, garlic, onion power, pepper, and paprika on a five-pound slab of raw meat–brisket, vot den?–my mother was with me.
Directly after my mother’s funeral in February of 2009, a crowd of people filled my parents’ tiny Brooklyn living room. I made a beeline for the freezer. Heart pounding, I opened it, hoping to find some sambusak. I was obsessed with the idea of bringing home my mother’s Middle-Eastern delicacies to my children, Alexis and Jesse, then 13 and 16.
Moritz shares how she’s learned to sustain memories of her colorful mother, a woman of Latin American and Egyptian descent. We hear often enough that death is part of life, but most of us feel as cheated and alone nonetheless. I was only 29 when my mother died. Jen was four; Jeremy, only six months at the time, never knew her. Moritz was 48 and her children considerably older. But it’s always “too soon” to lose your mother.
When I hear a woman complain about her mother, I often say “At least you still have one!” So, ladies, whether you’re annoyed about the fact that Mom meddles in your business or that she insists you do things her way or perhaps that you now have to take care of her, take a deep breath. Try to find some moments to cherish and freeze them in your mind. I guarantee, you’ll want them one day.