Matka has been on my mind this past week, and then issues came up on Thursday that made her be up front in my brain and center stage in my heart.
Yesterday I made a silly supper, and in the past, she and I would laugh at the concoction that came together as a meal. She liked talking about food, what she ate, what others ate, what someone made on TV, what she used to make to eat, etc. Her grocery list was often as if we 5 kids were still living at home-she had great plans to always make a dinner for big crowds, but that really was not possible for her the last few months, she always overdid the preparation and then she was extremely exhausted for days after that.
The last grocery trip she made 4 days before her death was with the van of seniors to TOPS Market, where she bought pasta, sauce, and a frozen pizza-just in case some one came over. Her stove top burners were not powered in her new kitchen because there was some concern about leaving things unattended....
She was provided with her meals and snacks in her assisted living facility.
We put that sauce and pasta in a basket and brought it up as part of the gifts to the alter during her funeral mass. It so represented her dedication to her family, and, she was a woman of hope, and hoped to be cooking for her family if they came to visit.
So, food was important to her, and I missed sharing this conversation with her last night. After supper dishes were finished, I dried the kitchen table with her dish towel.I almost did not take it when we were packing things up, it was not my color scheme-as if I don't have a ton of mismatched things in my home. But, I was resistant, it was something she used all the time, but my SSister#1 said I should take it and another one home. I so love using the two dish towels from Matka once I got them home. I smiled every time I saw one or used one. They reminded me of Matka, and also that SS#1 is so smart about everything. She is such a gift to our entire family.
After the table was dry, SHusband and I decided to play a card game called "Kings in the Corner", we played it a lot with Matka, especially when she would be here for a few days in a row. She would play and laugh and do just a bit of cheating-she was very competitive. We now say phrases like "Push um uppa" when a King row was completed. She used to say it in a broken Italian accent. We have a "Matka Move", where she used to knock on the table before she was about to make a certain one-card-left play. We always laughed and ate pretzels, and laughed some more. Then she would go sleep in the little bedroom in what we called the magic bed-anyone who slept there seemed to instantly go into a cocoon stage and sleep peacefully. That room is no more, that bed is now moved over to SGrandson's house, and she is not sleeping there with a scarf wrapped around her head to protect her hairdo.
This all jumped into me at once last night, and then I heard my Josh Groban singing "You lift me UP". She loved that song. That was it, one of those sobbing, chocking, coughing cries that I had not experienced for at least a few months, and that I thought were behind me. My house of cards collapsed, and I with it. And through all this, SH was there talking softly, rubbing my back and getting me water. Matka loved SH and she knew I was well taken care of with him. Thank you Matka for welcoming him so warmly into the family and for making him lemon meringue pies.