The days when my mom was hospitalized were possibly the grimmest days in my life. It felt unreal, it felt too painful to admit. The whole world was spinning, as it proved not the last time. We talked a lot during these days. I tried to tell her how much I loved her, how much I wanted her to be healthy and herself again. I was angry as well. At her, at her husband at her doctors. I was angry that this was happening to me.
During one of many visits we sat in the yard and spoke. I can't remember what was the conversation exactly about - I just remember that I had this embarrassing thought in my head, an angry one "You haven't taught me anything in my life but how to smoke cigarettes." Many years before she told me that I was born so small becasue she couldn't stop smoking when she was pregnant with me. I blamed this for my natural take to smoking - at the age of nine I had my first cigarette and I smoke it with so much ease that even to me it was astonishing. I didn't become a regular smoker after that - few years later I would come back to this moment of bliss inhaling he cigarette smoke. So there it was, my Mom and my angry thought that I felt ashamed and guilty of. How ambivalent we can feel about one person!!!Loving someone so much and condemning them so much at the same time.
When I was angrily harboring this thought in my head , she said to me: "I'm sorry for not teaching you anything else but how to smoke cigarettes." I don't think I said anything to this. I knew she knew that it was what I was thinking at the moment. It broke my heart, it broke her heart. We didn't know what to do about that.
I will never forget this exchange and I don't think it'll ever loose its impact on me. If I could, I would go back to this conversation and told her that there are so many things that she had taught me for which she should be proud of herself. I cannot do that, except in my heart and in my thoughts that I can send towards her with hope that she can hear me.
I'm writing all about it because this conversation comes back to me each time I'm n the kitchen cooking. My mom was a great cook and she was able to create a meal out of nothing. Most of the times she cooked from scratch. She loved it, she expressed her love to us this way. I didn't spend a lot of time with her in the kitchen but it was enough for me to see how things are done. When I was growing up I was busy with other stuff, though, than standing at the stove. But somehow I assimilated some skills. And now I think that these skills are life-saving. I recent months I've been trying to save as much as possible and cooking at home was one of the ways to do so. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen now myself: preparing nourishing food for myself and for the Little one. I guess it's also my way to express some love to myself when nobody is around. I'm trying not to overdo it - I know that the food addiction is a fact and I think she had it - so I'm trying not to get there. Chopping, mixing, grilling and sizzling, however, give me the sense of connection with what was and with her. It's one of the ways that is left to reach out to someone who is gone. From this kitchen of mine, I repeat over and over again that after all it wasn't only smoking cigarettes that she taught me. I hope she hears me and she knows.