Is it necessary? Is it nice?
Those are the two questions mom asks me whenever I feel like being provocative. She’s always been a peacekeeper and a teacher. I always try to keep her lessons in mind.
This might sound like an obituary. My mom isn’t dead. Not yet. I’m writing this now because I want her to read this before she passes on to the next part of her journey – another reincarnated life as she works to improve her karma and reach a higher plane.
My mom thinks she has bad karma she needs to deal with. I guess we all do. But it’s hard to imagine someone more compassionate and caring than my mom. She is always trying to improve herself and be a good example for those around her.
My love of reading came from my mom. When we were little, she would read to us every night – often until we fell asleep. When I was older and could read for myself, I fondly remember reading the Hobbit with her. We took turns reading aloud at night. It was the biggest book I had ever read and I fell in love with fantasy with her by my side. The Lord of the Rings movie was probably the most anticipated movie of my lifetime. Even though I was an adult in university, I didn’t go see it with my friends. I waited until Christmas and went to see it with my mom. It was probably a bit too violent for her but I do remember both walking out of that theatre with giant smiles on our faces.
My love of of good food came from my mom. Dad was the reason we were vegetarian and was militant about it. But mom was in charge of the cooking. Every summer we always had a huge garden full of fresh vegetables. As kids we never fully appreciated the variety and heartiness of the cooking she did for us, but I do now. She set us up for a healthy relationship with food and taught us all to cook. At 12 years old, I had to start cooking dinner for the family 1 day a week. I struggled to make rice in the beginning but I slowly learned to make perogies, mac n’ cheese, and a few other staples.
My parents were environmentalists and vegetarians in Winnipeg well before it was cool. We recycled when you had to pay extra to have someone pick up your paper and aluminum. We used reusable cloth bags before it became news that plastics were piling up in our oceans. We had composting worms to eat our food scraps. I’m an environmentalist today because my mom taught me to look after the planet and care about the future.
I was lucky to have two great parents growing up. Both of them pushed me to be better and taught me so much. More than that they lead by example. And now I’m trying to do the same for my daughter. Raising a smart and compassionate young woman is going to be harder now without a strong Baba in her life to look up to, but I promise to do my best to pass on all the things you’ve taught me to Astrid. And I promise she will never forget you and all the time you’ve spent with her.
Mom, I needed to write this. I hope you think it was nice. I hope you have a beautiful next life.