Mutterings at the Mall

Today I joined the throngs of holiday shoppers at the mall, but I had a very different purpose than most. This time of year, I would typically be happily selecting Christmas presents for friends and loved ones, but not today. Today I was buying the last outfit that my beloved mom will ever wear. She lost her battle with cancer on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and passed peacefully in her sleep. My world was rocked and will never be the same. Mom lost so much weight during her illness, that none of her pretty clothes fit anymore. She never used to shop for clothing without me tagging along to give her “expert” advice, so it seemed entirely appropriate for me to volunteer to find her the perfect burial outfit.

I set out with the best of intentions, thinking that I’d be perfectly fine…thinking that a little retail therapy might do me some good, particularly since I’d scarcely left the house in the past few days since she died, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Lovely carols played over every loudspeaker in the mall, reminding me of the last time that I visited with her, and she sang along, in her breathy, angelic voice, to the carols that were playing in the Christmas movies that we watched. I saw happy moms and daughters shopping together. I saw dozens of outfits that she would’ve loved – warm sweaters with smiling snowmen on them, fuzzy socks…the pain took my breath away.

It was so hard to hold back the tears, that I literally walked around muttering to myself, which I didn’t even realize, until a woman looked at me funny when I whispered to myself, “maybe I should try the Petite section. Mom was  petite.” There were various times when I just stood still, rooted to the floor, staring at nothing, overcome with wonderful memories. When I lost Mom, I didn’t just lose a parent, I lost one of my very dearest friends, someone who always loved me, always believed in me.

Christmas was her favorite time of year. For as long as I can remember, our house was always filled with laughter, love, gifts and music during this time of year. Her generosity knew no bounds, and she always went out of her way to make the holidays special.

I look at the legacy that she left behind, having lived a lifetime of loving and taking care of others, and I can’t help but wonder how I’ll ever even come close to measuring up. Those elegant shoes will be tough to fill…

I know that from now on, when I see Christmas lights, I’ll remember the beauty of her loving smile, and the way that her sense of humor filled us with delight. When I hear the carols, I’ll hear her voice singing along, (even when her breathing was weak, her spirit was strong), and when I taste the pepperoni and pineapple pizza (it was her favorite), I’ll remember the woman who loved me unconditionally…and had a huge part in making me who I am today.

She was strong, she was opinionated, when she was passionate about something, she could be as stubborn as a mule, and I love her profoundly. My heart hasn’t stopped aching for the quirky New Englander whose family and friends meant the world to her. The outfit that I bought, in her favorite color, will be the last Christmas gift that I ever buy for my sweet mom…the woman whose entire life was a gift to me, and to everyone who knew her.

 

 

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28 thoughts on “Mutterings at the Mall

  1. Your mom would want you to have this still be your favorite time to remember the good times pick whatever you want her to wear but remember she’ll be wearing wings and she will be always you bless

  2. Summer, I know how difficult this process it. My Father-in-Law and Father both passed away on Christmas Day a year apart. Grief is so individual and different for everyone, but close to the Holidays extremely difficult. Her smile, gentle touch, a voice softly whispered in the night will never be forgotten. Praying God’s gentle peace will fill your hearts and comfort your souls tonight and in the days to come. Trusting the memories of your Mom held deep within your hearts will help to sooth your grief.

  3. Summer, having read your blog entry today, the tears are flowing. My heart breaks for you. I know you will always miss your mother and grieve her loss but as time goes on the sharpest edges of the grief will soften a little and you will be able to remember the good times and the fun times without so much of the sadness. In the mean time. just the knowledge that she is no longer in pain is a comfort. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as you deal with the pain and loss.

  4. Summer I just read the beautiful words you wrote on your mother. I too lost my mom six years ago. I still miss her. Her birthday was on the 20th of Dec. She so loved Christmas and had tons of people over every Christmas Eve. I so do miss her. I send my condolences to you.

  5. Summer, My Mom passed away on June 20th, 2016. It is a day that I will never forget. We were all gathered around her and I hope that she felt us as she left to be one of God’s chosen Angels. I miss her so much but I know that she is not suffering any more and I know that she is always with me. Remember that your Mother would not want you to dwell on the past but to remember her and the good times you had. You know that she is not suffering any more.

    • Hi Lauren,

      Yes, we’ll be much more diligent about updating the blog in the new year – it’s been a rough few months, but I’ve just come back from a planning retreat and we’ll be doing a much more effective job of communicating 🙂

      • Hi Summer

        I totally understand! It has been a rough 6 months for me. On December 23, I had to put my mother in the hospital. She is 86 and had pretty much given up. She refused to get up from her bed, and she stopped taking her medications, eating or drinking. She told us that she wanted to be left alone to die! She refused any help. In Vermont, it doesn’t matter what kind of physical shape you are in, if you can say no, they will not take you to the hospital.

        Well meaning neighbors and friends called in Adult protective services, and because my mother could refuse help, they could not do anything to help.The called it self-neglect. It took 7 reports to APS, and mom getting really sick, before we could get her help. Several distant relatives that didn’t know what was really happening, accused us of neglect.

        On December 23, I got a call from my nephew saying she was on the floor and they couldn’t get her up. She had lost all the strength in her legs, as a result of not using them. She is a bad diabetic, and had also refused to take her insulin,

        The bright side of this, is we got her into the hospital in time, and after 3 1/2 weeks in the hospital and rehab, she is on a regular regime of medications, and is back walking with a walker. We got the best present anyone could want. Our mother back for Christmas (3 weeks late) with hope in her heart, spirits high, and wanting to live again.

        She is being released on January 19th and for a little while, will be going to live her her brother and his family in Massachusetts.

        The saddest part of this story is, that my mother & brother have a problem with hoarding. It is so bad right now, that Mom can’t go home. It isn’t all bad, she now feels better than she has for years, and is looking forward to living with her brother and family for a time, while we clean up her house, and do repairs.

        She may be staying there permanently. Along with needing to clean the house out, years of neglect have left the house with some major structural problems. Even with repairs, and made handicapped accessible, it still may not be safe for her to live there. she probably won’t be able to go home at all. That is okay. We have her back for whatever time she has left.

        I read that you had lost your mother a few weeks back. I am so sorry for your loss. December is a hard month for everyone, but hardest of all is to lose family. December for our family has always been tough with a lot of tragedy. In the last 10 years, we have lost 7 members of our family in the month of December.

        I hope 2017 brings you lots of happy moments, and time to heal from your loss. Your books have helped me get through some extremely difficult times.

        Please excuse my spelling & grammar and this long post. lol

        Lauren

  6. That’s so great that your mom is back on track and healing!!! Treasure her while you have her. Sounds like you have a bit of a rough road ahead of you – I’ll be thinking about you. Thanks so much for sharing. It has been tough, the sadness seems to hit me at the strangest times. I’ll be traveling to DC for her burial in a couple of weeks (the waiting list at Arlington was really backed up, which is another sad thing altogether), and I’m sure that her last memorial service will be just as tough as the first was. I take strength in knowing that I loved her while she lived, and she loved me fiercely. I miss her so…

    • Hi Summer,

      I lost my oldest brother to a sudden massive heart attack 10 years ago. (December 11th). We were close, and his death rocked my world. To this day, I miss him terribly. I can’t say that the hurt gets easier, but it changes. Good memories help ease some of the pain. My family has adapted some by telling stories of times we remember.

      My dad died in 1993. After the funeral, friends and family sat together and told stories of funny times, sad times, and happy times. One funny story I remember, was during the time my father had Alzheimer’s, he would take all the remote controls for the the televisions, and try to flush them down the toilet. We still aren’t sure why he did that.

      Another one, was one of the last things my father remembered how to do, was get his own ice cream. He had a penchant for just about every flavor. One night he went out, and served himself a healthy bowl. We didn’t think much about it until the next morning. I came out to the kitchen, and there was something brown and gooey coming out of the bread cupboard. It was the ice cream carton he had gotten ice cream from the night before. He remembered to put it away, just not in the right place.

      Those moments may not seem like much to a lot of people, but they were and are priceless to my family.

      Hang on to those memories, good, bad, funny or sad. They do help you get through the rough times.

      Lauren

    • Hi Summer

      I hope 2017 is going well for you!

      I posted a message not long ago, about my mother being in the hospital and her decline in health. This is a little update, with some good news.

      She is doing better. She is now living with her brother in Massachusetts. They haven’t been able to see each other in a while. She is 86, and he is 76. What started out as temporary, might become permanent. Home heath benefits are much better in Massachusetts, than in Vermont.

      She is walking some. She wasn’t walking before going into the hospital and rehab. She does need monitoring 24/7 for Medications, some personal care, someone to prepare food, and make sure she eats. She has Moderate, age related dementia, (Not Alzheimer’s). She was just diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. She will eventually lose her sight totally.

      All that might seem bad news, but really it isn’t. Before she was ready to die, and now she wants to be alive and enjoy her time with her family. Overall she is happier. She loves her brother dearly, as he does her. As much as I would have liked to care for her here, it was not possible. I am in a wheelchair most of the time now (arthritis in my spine), so it was getting to be too much for me to keep an eye on her. Traveling to go see her will be harder, but at least now she smiles.

      I hope 2017 will give you happier times, peace & comfort.

      I love the books, keep them coming!! 🙂

      Lauren

      • Hi Lauren,

        It’s always so good to hear from you, and I’m delighted that your mom is doing better!!! Cherish her while you can 🙂 I’ve had a busy start to 2017, and there will be a ton of new things from Summer Prescott Books this year – I’m excited about that, and it helps to stay busy. So glad you’re enjoying the books, and I’m always thrilled to hear from you! ❤

  7. Summer, I just read the post about your mother passing away. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Yesterday (1/29/17) was the second anniversary of my mother’s passing away. You are so much better with words than I am, and in reading the tribute to your mother, it sounded like what I would have said about my mother if I was as eloquent as you. My mom’s favorite holiday was Christmas. She had a tree in every room of the house, even the bathrooms. She was my best friend. I still miss her so much every day. I’m sure, one of these years, the pain will lessen, but 2 years isn’t enough for me. So I truly understand your pain. I have said many times that no one will ever love us like our mothers did and do. I need to go dry my tears now. Take care, and I hope the hurt gets better for both of us one of these days.

    Teresa

  8. Summer,

    I just commented on one of your other posts. I came here and read this post and wanted to let you know that my mother lost her battle with cancer on December 13. She fought for over 10 years. She underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and a new kind of pill form of chemotherapy. At the end, nothing was working anymore and the tumor was growing too fast. Losing her was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me. Christmas was her favorite holiday as well and having Christmas without her right after she passed didn’t feel right to me at all. I only hope that as time passes this gets easier for me, as I am told it will over and over again. My thoughts and heart are with you in your time of need. ❤

    Samantha

    • Oh Samantha, I’m so sorry for your loss. I keep waiting for it to get easier, and sometimes it does, for a time…but then it all comes crashing down at the strangest times…in the grocery store, at the mall…
      Please know that I’ll be thinking of you and sending lots of hugs your way. Please stay in touch, it helps to know that I’m not alone ❤

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