It’s a typical day at my grandparents; we just had dinner and are sitting down to watch “The Facts of Life”, when there is a knock at the door. Hearing my dad’s voice puzzles me, but doesn’t worry me. We just saw mom earlier in the day. She couldn’t talk, but I still told her how much I love her. She has spent many days in the hospital. I felt a little ill when I was there. I heard my aunts crying around me but I didn’t think much of it.
Dad appeared at the doorway of the living room. My younger sister jumps in delight. Before I realize it the TV is shut off and the three of us are sitting still on the couch together. The words bubbled out from my dad that mom is gone to heaven. We will not see her anymore.
I am confused and in shock. I don’t understand, we just saw her today. In a robotic pace I collect my sister and go to the bedroom to get dressed. We are going home. While getting her and I dressed, I pack up our stuff and she rushes out “in her crying walk.”
We walk into the house as a broken family. Going up the stairs to the bedrooms, we pass the kitchen. I see her favorite bag of chips with a clip on it to keep it fresh. I walk over to it and sniff the bag, hoping to smell her.
27 years later, I am standing in Wal-Mart’s chip aisle. Right in front of me is her favorite bag of chips. After all these years I have avoided the tortilla chips. I force myself to pick it up. Cradling the crinkly bag, the tears flow. I fight every day to not hold my grief like a fashion accessory, especially now, being the mother to her two grandchildren. My girls know they have a grandma in heaven. My oldest, at the tender age of four, asks why she isn’t here with us. Informing her with what I can, I know it is not enough.
I strive every day to be my mother to my girls. Her unconditional love still is locked in my heart. With daughters, who were in the shopping cart, my oldest reaches for the bag of chips with excitement. I wipe my tears and realize that it is time to have her chips. A fun legacy to share with my girls. I place the bag in the cart much to the delight of my girls.
Every day still feels like that dark day going home to the unfinished bag. Today, I will try to have that crunch. Life is like that bag. You never know if you will be around to finish the chips.
Miss you Mom. august 15th, 1984