Monday, September 5, 2016
Fall was just beginning to chill the air and crisp the leaves.
One morning, I woke up missing her so much. I ached with grief. Growing up, the month of October for me meant waking to the wonderful smell of baking. Specifically, her pumpkin bread. Mom baked loaves and loaves, and we’d eat some and freeze some.
Some would be given away as holiday gifts, others would make their way to the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas. That pumpkin bread was a comfort to many. Baked with love, it took her a lot of time. I can remember watching her bake all day, when she had a day off from work.
At one time, I had my mom’s recipe. I can still visualize the yellow paper she wrote it on and see her handwriting in my mind. It was two pages. Somehow, moving twice in a year’s time, I temporarily lost that recipe. (I hope its temporary anyway.)
I have gone through my cookbooks with a fine tooth comb, hoping to find it tucked in the pages where I kept it. I wanted desperately to bake that bread as if it would help me feel closer to her. It was another scent that smelled like love.
Instead, I went on with my day, working, doing laundry. Choking back the tears. Feeling blue. Trying not to bring down those around me.
I have no idea where she came up with her recipe but it was perfect to those of us who anxiously awaited this time of year. Moist, chock full of walnuts and raisins, it was a little taste of Heaven, brightening up chilly fall days. I lamented all day about not having that pumpkin bread, because that meant I didn’t have my mom either. It was like a fist in my gut all over again.
Working through grief is strange. It just crashes like a giant wave at the most unexpected times. I was down in the laundry area of our apartment building, still feeling pretty low, sorting whites and darks.
My mind was thinking of her, as I switched a load. I heard my neighbor coming down the hall and I noticed she had bags, but I didn’t really pay attention to where she had been. I was too wrapped up in feeling blue and sad, trying to put on a brave face.
My sweet neighbor greeted me and said, “Here! I got you something.”
When I turned around, she was holding out a loaf of pumpkin bread.
Realizing, it wasn’t the reaction she was expecting, I hugged her and quickly explained why I was shedding tears over such a lovely gift. She smiled and understood.
Though she’s several years older than me, she’s walked in my shoes. Her mom is in Heaven too. I later told her that I was pretty sure she had angel wings on for at least a moment. She had no idea what I was going through all day and that gift was like a little whisper from Heaven.
It wasn’t my Mom’s recipe of course, but just the fact that God took a moment to show me that He knew and He cared, somehow made the day pass a little easier. Ann Gabhart, (an author I read frequently), described one of her personal stories like this as “pennies from heaven.”
One day, we’ll be together again and tears won’t be an issue. Grief will be gone, replaced by unspeakable joy, knowing that death can no longer separate us from our loved ones.
I recently re-read 90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper. It brought me a sense of comfort to think about all that my Mom is experiencing. Time for her isn’t passing at all.
What was best for her, had to be best for me. Heaven is best. She’s busy with the others, I’m sure, preparing for us to arrive. If Heaven has a window, no doubt, my mom is watching faithfully, looking for me to come home.
*The Precious Memories posts you read here, are dedicated to my mother, who battled Alzheimer's. I share snippets of our story, and some things I learned along the way.
Precious Memories Part 1
Precious Memories Part 2
Precious Memories Part 3
Precious Memories Part 4
Precious Memories Part 5
Precious Memories Part 6
Precious Memories Part 7
Precious Memories Part 8