Through the windows overlooking 9th Avenue I see the sky cries snow flurries and rain, its face obscured behind a tissue of clouds. It feels like we’ve been saying goodbye to my mom for a fornight, and then barely said it all.
As I move the tea strainer into the dishwasher I hesitate for more than a moment. For three months this has been one of innumerable symbols of my mom’s shared residence with us. Every day, multiple times a day, the question: “Would you like some tea?” If I asked it now, silence would reply. So I stop. And leave the strainer and the still damp tea bag from your last cup to grace our counter for another day.
So many signs: the pair of well-worn madras house shoes wait expectantly at the front door for your return; a trail of crumpled tissues form soft milestones of your pathways through our apartment; the fridge, crammed with home- and heart-made wholesomeness groans.
Over forthcoming weeks, unwillingly, signs of you will be slowly erased: the bed linen and towels laundered and stored; the prepared meals savoured; the hieroglyphic notes fulfilled and recycled. The drawers once full of your clothes stand strangely empty already.
In other ways every inch of our home and haunts are indelibly imbued with momness — here’s the route we walked together to creche and work each morning; numerous favoured haunts for teas and patisseries; and so many, many good memories.
But beyond things and places, it what’s in our hearts that can never be erased. So what will remain is what truly counts.