There are moments in life when you don’t have to ask where your priorities lie. You know — without a single doubt; with your heart, your soul, your gut, your entire being. If you have not heard from The Rambling Epicure team for the last week, it is because that is what the editor is experiencing.
I spend most of my life writing about how to nourish the body through healthy, sustainable food. The nourishing and nurturing I’ve been doing this week fall into a much less concrete realm.
I had news of my mother’s health, and I knew unquestionably that I should drop everything, go to the airport and go straight to her.
So that is where I am, in the green rolling fields of Kentucky, sitting with my mother, holding her hand, covering her with kisses, telling her what a wonderful mother she is; telling her, as I did as a child, “I love you bigger than the world; you’re the best mother in the whole wide world.” Listening to the birds and crickets, taking in the chlorophyll, while listening to her tell me stories of her life. Reading poetry, reciting Tennyson, her favorite poet. Repeating nursery rhymes. She’s even been writing a few new poems from her bed. The last couple of days she has told me about her boyfriends, which almost sounded juicy for the proper Southern lady she is.
Sometimes I go out on the front porch and try to rock the pain away and stop the tears, with a complete-surround concerto of crickets and birds, nostalgic and comforting because they represent some of the fondest memories of my Southern childhood. Or watch the sunset as I read Wendell Berry or the Dalai Lama to put life and all its events into proper perspective.
These are treasured moments no one should miss, no matter how distanced they may be from a relative and no matter how much work they have on their agenda. Stop the world and turn your back on all its topsy-turviness; slam the door. It’s time to close the distance, drop all the bitterness, quit wallowing in the pain and hurt; it’s time to resurrect the exquisite beauty and tenderness of the pure love that exists only between a parent and child, to remember every possible detail of the life you shared, to bring memories back to life so that they become like photos engraved in your brain forever. It’s the time to forgive, forget, ask for atonement, or whatever it takes to heal all the wounds, leaving none of them open. It is the beginning of closure.
There will be moments of pain and joy, tears and dreadful hurt, but doing this is worth all the pots of gold at the end of all the rainbows the earth has ever known.
You are what your mother has made you. You are her creation, her work of art, both physically and in terms of emotional and intellectual education. Mama Ruth taught me to love music, reading, writing, theater, art; the very rhythm and music of words and the world long before I set foot in a schoolroom, and now as she lies land-locked to her bed, we are still sharing those loves, as we will to the end and far beyond. She taught me good Southern manners and how to speak properly. She will continue living through her children every time tears come to our eyes as we look at a da Vinci, every time we hear Tennyson. That is the inner wealth she has passed on to us.
Beauty is what gets me through the day, as I always say on Facebook. Thanks, Mama Ruth, for giving me so many ways to appreciate the beauty in this world, to be capable of loving the world and everyone in it. Inner wealth is better than any pot of gold I might ever have seized.
The nourishment is mutual; she gives me back so much, even as she lies here helpless in her bed.
Thank you, loyal readers, for being patient with us. We will be back very soon, ready to “nurture” you with our hopefully wise words and food information.
Jonell Galloway, Editor