Drug testing

And You Always Will

I opened the dishtowel drawer for about the sixth time, hoping the towels had somehow magically appeared.

The brand new towels still weren't there, of course.

"What did Mom DO with them?" I wondered aloud.

I knew they had to be around somewhere because I had given them to her for Christmas only a few months ago. Not that the towels were so terribly important. It's just that when you're expecting guests, you'd kind of like everything to look nice.

Okay, so maybe I wasn't going to find them. Then again, the guests wouldn't arrive until tomorrow. Plenty of time to worry about dishtowels later.

On second thought, maybe I ought to forget about the towels all together. My father's niece and her husband didn't seem like the kind of people who would leave in a huff because their host hadn't put out new dishtowels.

What next?

Perhaps I'd better see if I could lay my hands on Mom's best tablecloth. A tablecloth had always been one of the things my mother insisted upon when we had company.

I went to the drawer where Mom kept her tablecloths, and sure enough, there it was.

But when I pulled out the hand-embroidered tablecloth, the one that it had taken her months to complete, I gasped in dismay. Right in the middle was a big stain. Now how in the world did Mom's best tablecloth end up with a stain?

Oh yes, that's right. We'd all been here for Christmas, and one of the kids had accidentally knocked over a glass of soda pop. The sight of her grandchild sobbing with remorse had been more important than the tablecloth, and Mom had said she was sure the pop would come out when she washed it.

All right, so it looked like I'd have to forget the tablecloth, too. Maybe I'd be better off attending to the big things right now, anyway, like vacuuming.

Satisfied that I was finally going to make some progress, I got out the vacuum cleaner.

Except. . .why did it sound so funny? And why wasn't it picking up those bits of paper on the living room carpeting?

I pulled out the attachments hose and flipped the switch again. Ah-ha. That's why. No suction. The hose was plugged.

Well, of COURSE the hose was plugged. I couldn't find the new dishtowels. Mom's best tablecloth had a big stain. Why wouldn't the vacuum cleaner hose be plugged?

And right then and there, I started to cry. Now what was I going to do? Would a wire hanger work? Thirty minutes later, however, the vacuum cleaner was still plugged.

Where was Dad? I knew he'd gone outside and was probably puttering around in his garden, seeing as it was the middle of April, but why wasn't he in here when I needed him? After being a farmer for 50 years, he could fix absolutely anything.

Just at that moment, my father came into the house.

"What's wrong?" he asked, noticing that I had been crying.

Although it had been years since I called him "Daddy," it just sort of slipped out, and along with it came more tears.

"Oh, Daddy - I can't find the new dishtowels. The tablecloth has a big stain. The vacuum cleaner is plugged. And-"

I stopped and swallowed hard.

"I miss my mother."

There. I'd said it.

And in that instant, the whole world seemed to stop while Dad drew a deep breath and let it out slowly.

"I know you do," he said. "So do I."

You see, only three weeks earlier, my mother had been diagnosed with advanced gallbladder cancer. Mom died Saturday night, and this was Monday. My father's niece and her husband were driving 275 miles to attend the funeral, and they would be staying at the house.

As Dad gazed at me, I noticed how much he seemed to have aged in the last few weeks. And his face was covered with silvery stubble. It was a rare morning when my father didn't shave, but then, the past couple of days had been far from ordinary.

"And you know what?" Dad continued. "You always WILL miss your mother. In fact, it won't ever go away completely. Not even when you're as old as me."

Dad was 70. I was 26. I never knew Dad's mother. She had died before I was born.

Mom had been stricken with polio in 1942 when she was 26 and paralyzed in both legs. At the time, the doctors had told her she would never have more children. I was born 16 years later.

After the funeral was over and my father's relatives had gone home, I found the dishtowels. Mom had put them in her dresser drawer. And with several washings, the stain finally came out of the tablecloth. Dad had been able to fix the vacuum cleaner too.

But nothing could fix the fact that my mother was gone.

Mom died in 1985, and all these years later, I realize that Dad was right - I AM always going to miss her.

But I've also figured out what else he was trying to tell me on that April day so long ago - that missing my mother keeps her alive in my heart.

**********************

About The Author

LeAnn R. Ralph is the editor of the Wisconsin Regional Writer (the quarterly publication of the Wisconsin Regional Writers' Assoc.) and is the author of the book, Christmas in Dairyland (True Stories from a Wisconsin Farm). She is working on her next book, Give Me a Home Where the Dairy Cows Roam. See what readers are saying about Christmas in Dairyland - http://ruralroute2.com

bigpines@ruralroute2.com

limousine chicago service
In The News:

Grief

I didn't know a heart could die before it stopped... Read More

When Change Comes (Dealing With Grief and Loss)

Needless to say, the time after loss is volatile and... Read More

Grief Support: The Dos

Helpers often ask questions such as: "What should I do?... Read More

How to Deal with Suicide and Euthenasia

The following is a report that indicates how you might... Read More

Scared to Death of Dying and Denying Grief

When I invited Martha to the gathering at my house,... Read More

Grief Support: The Don?ts

1) Don't try to make the grieving person feel better.... Read More

The Walking Wounded

When my phone rang the other day, it was a... Read More

Who has the Worst Pain

During the 28 years I have been interacting with bereaved... Read More

How To Heal Your Heart

We all experience severe heart break at some time in... Read More

Online Memorial ? A Dedication of Love for Your Departed Loved Ones

Life has always been a journey, a journey of finding... Read More

We are the Reflection of our Lives: How to Survive Loss & Humility

Everyday, I look in the mirror to see the face... Read More

Dying? Not Me! Why You Should Plan for Transition

Remember the Eulogy projects we had to write back in... Read More

How Long Does It Take to Mend a Broken Heart?

Julian Austin, Canadian country singer, released a song called Should... Read More

Angel of Comfort... The Story

I am an Angel artist and several weeks ago while... Read More

When The Spirit Leaves The Body

Do you spend most of your time inside or outside... Read More

The Lesson of a Mothers Death

Dedicated to my mother, FlorenceNovember 11, 1920 ? May 25,... Read More

How to Cope with Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief is the name given to the mix of... Read More

How to Deal with Suffering

Reflect upon the following questions, and answer those you feel... Read More

Tenderizing

Recently, the magazine I own and edit got a hate... Read More

Suicide - An Eternal Pain

Suicide is the one form of death that has quite... Read More

Do You Know Someone Whos Dying?

Too many people are dying alone?The dying are one of... Read More

After Suicide: Returning to Life, Thanks to an Owl

Have you ever lost the ability to laugh? I did.When... Read More

Handicapped From Suicide

I am 23 years old. I come from a large... Read More

Made in Heaven

Consumed by my loss, I didn't notice the hardness of... Read More

Physiological Consequences of Carrying Emotional Trauma

Although many of us carry some form of emotional trauma... Read More