I miss you mum
Many, many years have elapsed between mum’s early death and the present; it’s made being without her just a little bit easier yet, the gaping void is still very real and the memories crystal clear. Funny how one remembers the simple things (we don’t remember days, we only remember moments) such as the time when my brother and I saw her slight silhouette in the distance carrying grocery bags; we started running toward her and she dropped the bags arms wide open, broad smile until we ran into a big tight hug. The three of us just stood hugging on the pavement.
the day mum left
Sickness, when it comes makes everything else seem irrelevant. I recall the overwhelming sense of helplessness watching mum suffer from my early teenage years right through to just after my 23rd birthday when she breathed her last breath. I was not home that morning and that’s kind of the hardest part. We did not have the opportunity to say goodbye, I did not hold her hand. She was alone as she had asked our caregiver to go and get her something from the store and must have panicked when she was alone because she had a heart-attack. Mum was 53. She’d always had a strong heart but the medication slowly weakened it. I had to break the news to my 14 year old brother. It’s still one of the hardest things I have ever done.
Living beautifully despite the ugly
Mum believed in living beautifully despite the ugly, she loved flowers! I was inspired by the color of these purple flowers to prepare a smoothie with blackberries and home made walnut milk; no greens were added because I just needed something comforting and slightly decadent.
Berries are said to have something in them that lightens the mood. I can only swear by my own experience that this is indeed true. Believe me, making superficial lofty statements really is a waste of time and pointless but it would be wrong if I did not mention that berries are an amazing help against sadness and depression. My daughter and I enjoy them at the very least twice a week in a big smoothie (during the winter months, I stash our freezer with frozen berries). Berries are VERY GOOD for hair and skin as well.
Smoothie recipe: blend until creamy, a big handful of black or mixed berries (preferably dark berries) with walnut milk or half walnut milk, half coconut water, one banana and a touch of honey or maple syrup (preferably 3 juicy dates – pips removed for a natural sweetener). It was simple, delicious, consoling and above all nourishing. (One could add your favourite protein, acai or even bee pollen powder) but for me, the simpler a smoothie the better.
Walnuts are exceptionally healthy. Here’s how to make walnut milk:
soak a cup of walnuts in water for about one hour but I was impatient and only soaked them for 10 minutes (overnight is best if possible), rinse a few times (the water will be brown after soaking) then add about two cups of clean water to the blender, add the pre-soaked walnuts and blend until it turns into a milk consistency. When only drinking the walnut milk, I like to add a touch of salt and honey or maple syrup or even better, plump dates (pip removed).
For the smoothie start with less water, add the salt and sweetener and if the walnut milk is too thick, only then add more water. It’s very much a tweaking to taste lifestyle.
What I wish we knew to help mum’s health: enjoy dairy but very sparingly. Many foods cause inflammation and phlegm which for a person with asthma or emphysema is very bad (mum would fill a glass with phlegm at least every hour); bread seemed to irritate her and cause more coughing but we thought we were imagining it since we trusted those in authority yet they always declined to comment. (Now I know that we were not imagining it and that her body was begging to stop with the bread).