Someone once told me that it takes roughly 10 years after losing a parent when you will finally notice a change in your grief. It was only a few months after my mom had passed away from a stroke and I could not imagine feeling this heartache and pulsating sadness getting any better not in 10 years not in my lifetime. But here I am approaching this milestone 10-year mark since my cherished mom passed away in 2010 and admittedly that person who said those words to me was right. My grief over losing my mom is still with me, but it has transitioned to a more tangible entity. My grief is now buried deep within my soul and what you see on the surface is a person who has done her best to move on and evolve. Where I once felt weighed down by the grief, I am now more buoyed in the stories and memories I can share about my beloved mom and know by doing so she is still with me.
This September 16th my mom’s passing coincides with the upcoming Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) known for being a subdued time of well wishes, pensive reflections, introspection and repentance. It’s also associated with lots of good food of course and where traditions are observed and passed down to generations. This time of year I will not only be celebrating the holiday but honoring my parents in memory, recalling all the laughter and good times we shared and a few strange rituals left behind by my mom, that simply put won’t wash away.
You know how people say that over the years we start to resemble our pets, or our spouses? Well you can definitely add something else over that same span of time; grown daughters start to become their… mothers! I didn’t want to believe it either. For years my husband would mention that I have similar quirky mannerisms and things in common with my mom. He would reference silly things, from my obsession with buying purses to my Eastern European mentality and forceful insistence that family and friends have something to eat as soon as they step foot in the house, to in general being too menacingly over protective and sensitive. Was it true? Was I becoming my mother? I stanchly denied it. After all I did not even physically resemble my mom, not to mention display any of her talents for cooking, crocheting, knitting and painting landscapes and portraits.
It started innocently enough with laundry. I emptied the swollen hamper of miscellaneous colorful clothing into my washing machine. I added some vinegar (ok like my mother used to do) vinegar is known to help preserve color vitality. A half hour later I heard the machine stop, I opened the lid and saw a zillion tiny nasty pieces of shredded Kleenex adhering to every inch of clothing. As I painstakingly tried to pull off each stubborn Kleenex remnant off of each wet item…I spotted the culprit – my dark navy top had the remaining tissue still tucked deep in the cuff of the sleeve. This was one of those weird practices I observed my mom do when a pocket was not available, the good old tuck under the sleeve routine would work just fine, unless you absentmindedly forgot to remove it and then well, it all comes out in the wash.
I have to concede that I owe my husband an apology perhaps he was and is right – maybe we eventually do all morph into our moms. My mom would have laughed to hear how I have picked up some of her unique habits. My only hope is that she is somewhere out there smiling and already knows.