I shall warn you in advance, this post has little to do with my primary blog focuses of food, travel and performance art, so if you want to stop now, I won’t hold it against you. However, if you wish to indulge me, the following is a story of letting go and finding a connection to my mother who passed last September.
For the last several years, I had been in a game of tug-of-war with my mother. No relationship is perfect and ours was no exception. I knew she loved me. My childhood, high school and college years were full of support and a close connection. In the years after college when I began to make adult choices, stretch my wings and develop a differing opinion the game slowly began. Jockeying for control, we developed a tense and toxic power struggle. Each year it seemed to increase in intensity, slow and almost subtle at first and by the time of my wedding last year, it was a guilt filled manipulative war.
I had been working on simply not playing the game any more. Through professional guidance I was able to put things in perspective as it were and do my best to act within my own integrity and be centered when challenges arose. And then my wedding day came – June 25, 2011. I had predicted that at some point my mother would steal a part of the day and make things about her. She did not disappoint. She and my father were 25 minutes late to my wedding. You can imagine not only the anger I felt, but rage as well. After allowing some time to pass, I was able to speak with my parents and after that conversation we were able to come out positive on the other side.
My mother passed away on September 27, 2011 three months and two days after the wedding. Because of my intense anger the last few months of her life, I have been plagued with unsettled feelings and the sense that the slate is not clean, even though our final conversations were peaceful.
Recently I have found two connections to my mother and not only the possibility, but the willingness to let go. The first is rather odd. For a time when my mother was young, she skied. I remember her telling me of a fantastic ski outfit she had by a highly fashionable German ski wear company called Bogner. Three years ago in Aspen, I saw, for the first time some of the current Bogner line. Michael got me a beautiful Bogner fleece jacket (with an embroidered dragon on the back) as a gift. This year in Aspen, I was beginning to look for a new ski jacket. I had my jacket since I began skiing 4 years ago and I thought I was due for something new.
I noticed a beautifully simple white down jacket on a woman attending our ski clinic. It was from Bogner’s Fire & Ice line. Knowing it’d be very expensive, I took a look on the web anyway. It was not as bad as I thought, not much more than your average ski jacket. Michael and I went to the store and chose a black one. It’s funny, but I do feel a connection to my mother through the jacket. Besides, it was in this jacket on my first day wearing it, that I skied my first black diamond.
And the second connection is food and cooking. My mother was a fantastic cook! I now regret not paying better attention, however it is amazing what one manages to pick up and remember by simply being in the kitchen when someone is cooking. She subscribed to Gourmet magazine for umpteen years, often-cooked Julia Child recipes, and my parents exposed my brother and I to fine dining at an early age.
At no time in my younger years did food or cooking interest me. I survived my college years mostly on pasta and had never learned how to properly cook meat until recently. Slowly at first but my curiosity, eagerness and love for food has certainly taken shape and developed into a serious interest. I noticed that I have mentioned my mother in several posts and blog entries. It’s impossible to say that she didn’t set the foundation for something that now gives me great comfort, warmth and happiness. Life is funny sometimes, coming full circle. I now feel a soothing, centered and tranquil presence in my heart; like the sensation from a great meal or your favorite winter coat.