SWEET ENDINGS

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This is my first Mother’s Day without a mom.  I am one, but no longer have one.  Last September, Mom left me and my brothers and sister orphans;  Dad had passed away several years earlier.   She’d lived a long and full life, and in the end told me at 90 and half years old, “Nanner, I am tired and ready to move on.   You know, I am  never going to see you again, love.   I want to, but I won’t.”

As she spoke, she ran her cold, bony little  fingers up and down my arm a few last times.

Stiffening as if to hold myself together, I jokingly inquired,

“So you don’t think I will make it to heaven to join you later, Mama?”  She grinned and coughed a little chuckle.   A staunch Catholic her entire life, Mom  dumbfounded me with her blunt reply as she shrugged her  sagging shoulders.

“Oh…heaven is a very nice idea and all, but who knows if it really exists. “   She gazed out her window as if waiting for my response, but  I was speechless.

Although crushed that Mom was not convinced she was on her way to eternal bliss, I suppose even the most devout have their doubts.  After all, Mother Theresa herself admitted to confidantes that she was not always sure about religion and God.   So I guess my mom could question the afterlife as well, though I refuse to picture her anywhere now but heaven, surrounded by  angels, loved ones and her favorite desserts.

My mother was a petite woman, barely weighing ninety pounds in the end, having lost her appetite for good, or I should say healthy food.  She’d barely touch most of the square meals we tried to feed her as she drew more frail.  But sweets were her weakness and she’d never turn down  favorites like lemon meringue pie, carrot cake and chocolate sundaes.

In fact, Mom seemed to think the night before she died was cause for celebration.   As my niece sat watching her from the living room, Mom, unaware she was being observed, proceeded to build herself a Banana Split.  Sneaking around the kitchen like a mischievous child, she scooped herself a large dish of vanilla ice-cream, smothered it, and the counter, in chocolate syrup,  threw on some diced banana, then swirled a squirt of Ready Whip on top,  sprinkling  the  sweet mound with a handful of peanuts.  In her excitement, she blew off the  cherries.  Leaving the kitchen a sticky mess, she scurried back to her bedroom to devour the yummy concoction while catching one last Jeopardy episode.

But she wasn’t quite finished.  Tiptoeing back into the kitchen, she  dumped her walker and scrounged around in the pantry for a few minutes. .

“Ah”, she gushed upon discovering a king sized Butterfinger,  eagerly devouring the entire bar.

I figure it might very well have been a diabetic coma that did my mother off in the end.  But I am sure she died a happy woman, undoubtedly enjoying sweet dreams as she drifted off to her final rest…

“HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY,  MAMA!

I miss you.

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