I was raised on packaged foods-canned, frozen and boxed. I never had fresh peaches, pineapple or pears, only canned. Chinese and Italian food came from a can as well. When we were growing up, my mother made us eat food that I considered inedible (and still do): creamed chip beef on toast, oyster stew and brussel sprouts. I would lock myself in my room rather than face some of these meals.
In spite of the cringe factor, food binds us together as families. Both good food and bad contribute to the memories we share. My mother would eat most anything, but she particularly despised green peas. As adults, we had an understanding. Whenever she came to visit I would serve her peas, which I love, in repayment for all the disgusting food she served me as a child. She understood and always ate every last pea in penance for the food of my childhood.
My mother died six years ago. Her departure leaves a hole in my life that can never be filled. Today, on Mother's Day, I would give anything to be serving her another plate of peas.
A good friend recently sat with her mother for most of two months as she slipped away, dying of cancer. Her mother was only 63. My mother died suddenly with no opportunity for me to say goodbye. I’m not sure which is harder. At least my mother was much older. As a 12-year hospice volunteer, I have seen many variations of loss. But today I think of all of us who have lost our mothers and reflect on their lives and how they made us who we are. And if you are fortunate enough to still have a loving mother, cherish your time together.
(Adapted from an earlier post)