I didn’t watch the Olympic finals of women’s figure skating. It was 4 years ago, during the women’s long program, that my mother’s journey through pain towards death began. When she passed eight weeks later, it was with relief we said good-bye. Her spirit had died the day my father did in 1991; now she could truly join him.
I’ve had my dark chocolate covered marshmallow egg in her honour. Travelling past the Easter candy aisle in the grocery store this afternoon, I staggered. Black licorice jelly beans. I’d forgotten about her love of black licorice jelly beans. Like chocolate marshmallow what-evers, I would head to the post office with parcels of jelly beans.
I didn’t buy a bag – I’m not a black licorice fan. I used to eat the coloured sections off the black licorice allsorts. (Never liked the ones studded with nonpareil sprinkles.) But, I sniffled a bit on my way to the cash register. No matter how fractious our relationship, with her need to be miserable (after the personality-altering stroke and her descent into dementia) bumping against my desire to make her as comfortable as possible in her own home, there are still things that make my heart skip a beat; make me think of my “other mother;” bring back the better remembories.