Oh. No. Oh no.

About to get up from my sister’s kitchen table, I look with satisfaction at my selections from my mother’s jewelry: three family rings, a chain of purple crystals, and a necklace.

Nothing is worth much monetarily, but every piece will mean something to me or the other intended recipients: my daughter-in-law and granddaughter. As I look around the table and see my siblings happily packing up their own selections, I smile.  It’s been a good process, with good outcomes and good feelings.

“Mom will be so pleased,” I think.

Oh. No.

Glancing back before the funeral service starts, I catch sight of Mom a few pews back. “What’s she doing back there?” I wonder. I mean, her regular seat is on the other side of the church.

Oh. No.

“Did you see that?” At the uncharacteristic excitement in my brother’s voice, my head draws back from the camera viewfinder.

“Well, I saw a white mini-marshmallow being picked up by the parent barn swallow.”

Barm swallow adult removing fecal sac to protect mud-daubed nest from discovery.

No, my brother says that I saw a baby bird’s fecal sac being removed from the nest to be disposed of where it can’t alert predators to the nearby presence of defenceless young. As he explains it to me, I’m wondering how soon I can download and process my photo when we get back into town. Mom will be so interested.

Oh. No.

And so it goes. The email about the bear quintuplets that I almost forward. The photo magazine on oceans that I almost buy at the grocery checkout stand. The video of the ducks and ducklings at her seniors’ residence that I almost send. The chocolates I almost re-order, prompted by my monthly calendar reminder.

“Mom will like to get this.”

Oh. No.

Oh no.


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16 Responses to Oh. No. Oh no.

  1. Alison Uhrbach says:

    Been there, done that. Been there, STILL doing that.

  2. John Whitman says:

    Also been there, and done that. Also occasionally still wake up wondering how my mother is doing even after her passing almost 5 years ago – but that is happening less and less as more time passes.
    John W

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – Old habits die hard, eh? Or maybe the residue isn’t habit but relationship, and I’m not sure that ever dies.

  3. I just had one of these myself. I forwarded your post on me to my sister and thought, “I sure wish I could send one to mom…” and she’s been gone almost five years. She would have been so proud.
    You’ll have dreams about her, too…she’ll be happy in them I am sure and it will make you cry but be glad.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – I guess – after 65 years of contact with my mother – it’s a good thing that the connection doesn’t just fade away.

  4. Dorothy says:

    Eventually these “Oh no” moments become those “Roses in December” moments that your Mom referred to. They will bring smiles instead of an ache in your heart. I still think of things I’d like to share with my Mom and she’s been gone 11 years. One of those things is her joy in the fragments of puzzle you used to send her by mail. I have never forgotten how much pleasure it brought her and a couple of years ago I broke up a Christmas puzzle into 4 sections and sent fragments weekly to each of our children. It brought them as much pleasure as it brought my Mom. Somehow I think she knows and is smiling along with me.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Dorothy – Thanks for sharing that. I’m not a jigsaw puzzle whiz, but it gave me a lot of pleasure to find a way for her to continue to do them, so I”m delighted that she enjoyed them too.

  5. Tom Watson says:

    Isn’t it fascinating that everywhere we look there are reminders!

    On a different coin, I had no idea about the baby bird’s fecal sac and removing it so as not to attract predators.
    The parking garage at our condo building is under cover but not underground. In the spring, Robins come in and build a few nests in places where the nest will be protected from predators. Works except for a couple of human predators who take offence to bird droppings and, when nobody is looking, remove and destroy the nests and eggs. Funny thing that some humans have a hard time co-existing with other creatures of the natural order.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – That reaction baffles me, for sure. We had a robin nesting under our porch overhang several years ago and have waited in vain for an encore performance. I’d love to have my own bird cam.

  6. Jim Taylor says:

    Mine was, “I must ask Ma about that.” Some word usage, perhaps. A favourite recipe. Knitting socks in the right sizes. She died about 20 years before Dad did, so I got over asking her, just in time to find myself saying, about the garden, or a new book, “Dad would be so pleased….”
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – Yes. I talked to a neighbour a few days ago who called her father every day for several years to tell him about her day and ask about his. Now that he’s dead, she’s still telling him about her day.

  7. Ian Hepher says:

    My father died in November, 2015. I still ask myself on occasion, “What would Dad Do?” (WWDD). After a while, maybe…in your own time.

  8. Barry says:

    “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December,”

    Yes, and those roses are bittersweet. One cannot truly enjoy the beautiful flowers without the thorns. The thorns gradually get less sharp.

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