Fifteen March Twenty-Seconds ago, upon punching my timecard’s final out slot, I found myself navigating through the mercifully short, 15 minute, p.m. commute. I was feeling all tuckered out…my exhaustion caused not so much by my paid labors but, instead, due to my having taken on responsibilities as a caregiver… my teaming up with paid, home care professionals… our mutual goal being to assist in my nearly nonagenarian Mom’s recovery from a recent heart attack… to nurse her through an ever-growing, myriad of other age related complications, as well.
As was customary during that (now) bygone era, upon greeting Mom, I was once again sitting at her sickbed, our telling one another all about our days… as well as reminiscing about the good old days. It was while chatting, attempting to cheer her up that I started experiencing… well… it was sort of a feeling of deja vu. I say, ‘sort of” because a role reversal of sorts was involved.
You see, it had been my caregiver Mom who, decades earlier, used to sit bedside… chatting to cheer me up as I weathered the countless childhood storms… i.e., the emotional turmoil of being relentlessly, verbally and physically assaulted by elementary, junior high and high school bullies… i.e., the physical illnesses, which ran the full gamut from colds/flu, measles, mumps, chickenpox to my more serious, post-op convalescence following my tonsillectomy.
Of course, no recollections of those times would ever be complete without mention of my Mom’s favorite, surefire home-remedy / cure all… i.e., her made from scratch pancakes saturated with maple syrup.
Fortunately, I had never succumbed to that “macho” notion that “real men” don’t cook… so I not only knew our “secret” family recipe but, thanks to Mom’s OJT, I also had plenty of work experience in preparing them.
So, the more we talked… the more I realized Mom had always selflessly and tirelessly stood in my corner throughout my life… the less fatigue I was feeling. And the more I wanted to repay her for all of her past moral support. Oh, you should’ve seen the smile on her face when, clear out of the blue, I said, “Mom, I’m heading for the kitchen to prepare a pancake supper for the two of us.” Within an hour, we were sitting down at our dining room table and savoring the delectable, finished product.
I am so glad that Mom and I had shared our special meal together, for a mere two days later, she wound up breaking her leg. Nine days after that, after being admitted to a nursing home, a post surgical complication… pneumonia… set in with a vengeance and after that?
Well, exactly one month after our pancake supper, I was delivering Mom’s eulogy.
Mere hours ago, on this very night, I headed to the exact same kitchen to prepare a new batch of pancakes. Later, as I sat down at the exact same dining room table I raised my coffee cup and sent my words to the heavens…
“Mom, this fifteenth anniversary memorial pancake supper is to honor you and keep your memory alive. I shall love you forever, with all my heart.”
I should also mention that, set before me (us?) was the exact same, saved syrup bottle that both Mom and I had poured from on this very night, 15 years ago. A bottle once filled with sweet maple syrup,
but now empty… no strike that. It is still filled with the bittersweet memories of the last pancake supper Mom and I had ever enjoyed together in this Earthly realm.
About all I could possibly add, here, is that since we can never really know if the last time we see one another will be the last time, we need to always act accordingly.