Fingerprints on Our Hearts

Today was the day I decided to clean the patio doors.  There wasn’t just a few smooshes there was dog nose smooshes…all over.  Well, all over the bottom 1/3 of the door as Rocky is just a little dog.  In doing so I remembered something about my mom.

My mom died of Esophageal Cancer in 1999, at 59 years of age.  So young.  We lived about 2 3/4 hours away, and although that is not very far, we only saw my folks about 4 times a year.  Which is another story.

When my mom was diagnosed with cancer I remember hearing those words and was struck with disbelief.  The sensation is simply surreal.  If you have had someone you love affected by cancer you know exactly what I mean.  I felt like I was in a fog, seeing people walking by but feeling like it was a dream; watching others lives continuing on, and yet I was standing there, rooted in limbo.

My mom and I spoke on the phone quite a bit.  Not quite daily, but almost daily.  I miss those times.  To this day a thought will flitter through my mind, “I should call Mom and ask her…”  And then the thought is gone as I remember, I can’t.

One particular phone call in October 1998, I was telling Mom how Bethany and Curtis were making Thanksgiving Day cards for Nana and Papa, (what they called my mom and dad).  Mom was tickled.  The kids couldn’t wait to give them their cards, and therefore, spilled the beans to Nana and told her what they had written.  They said they were thankful they had a Nana and Papa and thankful that Papa would always play checkers with them, and take them for rides in the wagon, and thankful that Nana would play the piano and sing with them, and let them look at her ‘pretties’ in her ceramic shop, and that when they came to their house they got to play with the goofy spotted toy dog, a dog made of wood that ‘clickety-clacked’ as you pushed him along.  It choked my mom up…and me.  She was surprised at how they remembered the things special to them about their Nana and Papa. She said, “Oh Sandra, I sometimes think they don’t know us, as we see so little of each other.”

And then I told her something.  There is something about blood, about being blood-related, about family; that although time and miles may be in between, they know there is a ‘connection’, they know the love and the sense of ‘belonging’ to someone and that those someone’s belong to them.  My kids were old enough to know they had a Grandpa and Grandma, whom they saw almost daily as we lived 3 miles apart, and they loved them.  And they had a Nana and Papa, who they didn’t see very often, and they loved them.  Exactly the same.  Its like our own children.  I have three…and I love all three…exactly the same.  They each have different qualities, and habits, and quirks, wonderful senses of humour, and gifts; they are all unique, and I am the one that has the privilege to call herself their momma.

My mom started to cry, and said, “Thank you.  Thank you for that.”  It wasn’t something I made up; it was absolutely true.

We went to see Nana and Papa a week later at Thanksgiving, and my youngest, Corey, was 3, Curtis was 8, and Bethany was almost 10.  Bethany and Curtis were taking turns playing checkers with Papa.  And Corey…he had scampered right up on Nana’s lap and was happily playing with his cars on the table.  Mom said to me, “I am so glad I got to see the kind of person he will grow up to be.”  He was by no means grown, but he was no longer a baby; she felt satisfied that she had lived to see his beautiful ‘Precious Moments’ eyes, his sweet, impish smile, his tender, tender heart, and she could see…he loved her, just as Bethany and Curtis did.

When we went to leave the following day, I was picking up the shrapnel that was scattered across the house.  I grabbed the Windex and was looking for the paper towels when mom asked me what I was doing.  I replied, “I am just going to clean the fingerprints off your patio doors.”  Her response…”Oh no, leave them please, I love looking at them.  I intend to enjoy them for awhile yet.”

I’ve never forget that.  I’ve never forgotten the look of her patio doors.  My mom passed away 3 months after that, and now, as a Grandma myself, I get it.  My Wyatt used to leave beautiful fingerprints…and I didn’t wipe them off.  It wasn’t until we went to sell the house when we were moving from Alberta to BC, that I decided it was time.  Although we may be separated by time and miles, it’s okay, because we are blood, we are family.  And now…I can’t wait until he comes to visit; to put his hands on our patio doors, so that I too can ‘enjoy them for awhile yet’.  It’s ‘Just A Little Something’ of a Memory I wanted to share with you.



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