Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31, 2020 - My Mother's Bowl

End-of-life preparations are being made for my mother.  She is in a residential rehab facility now, still strong of will and spirit, but unable physically to take care of herself.  It's a little scary to see her like this as it was she who held the family together with her fierce pride and determination.  We just didn't know it then.

My brother Grant and his daughters cleaned out her apartment for the last time, trying to decide what goes to Goodwill, what to keep, what to pass on.  What to sell.  I suppose it will be like that for all of us one of these days, but I don't want to think about that, yet.

This bowl was given to my mother by her aunt, shortly after she married my father and immigrated to this country, so it's well over 50 years old, older than I, smiles.  It has ridges like corduroy and a rice paddle.  She used it to make Japanese pickles, the occasional sushi, but mostly it was safely tucked away on some high shelf where no harm could come to it; it was one of the few pieces of "home" that she owned. 

Mother was surprised that I remembered the bowl, even more surprised that it was something that I wanted.  The bowl has many meanings; it is a symbol of life, service, submissiveness and selflessness, but for both of us, it also means home.


  1. Oh Katy....what a beautiful post. What a thoroughly intimate, emotional and filling experience you are going through. I remember. I remember it being like foggy comfort....and those other 'sharper' memories fade into soft edges of love and comfort that family matter what the memories. Doesn't sound right when I write it but do you know what I mean? I am going to be really thinking of your family and mom as you transition now. It is good to have these 'before' times...times that help you begin to 'sort out' the life happenings before your mom passes. I love the bowl...I love the symbolizing of past. There is something extremely organic about memories tied to vessels, n'est pas? Even that doesn't sound right but ordinary vessels that carried love and care that a mother brings to our home. Wonderful. And it is beautiful and how special that your mother and you can share the joy and memories attached to that bowl, that bit of 'home' that she obviously cared about. Lots of hugs for you dear friend.

  2. Something extraordinary happened today...I was blessed over and over and then...then...then I went to the post office as often they do their parcels after hours on Friday and open just for a few hours on Saturday. There was a wonderful package from an even more wonderful friend...oh my...and such a beautiful card came with the parcel. And in it...delights for me. Wonderful seeds for my flower baskets which will grow and bloom and remind me of this dear friend. And of course, tucked in the parcel with kindness weed wacker spool. I immediately turned and went home and wacked and wacked and wacked those long grasses and weeds....all in time for my boy's arrival tomorrow. The garden looks lovely thanks to that extraordinary blessing from an even more extraordinary dear friend. Thanks for being the very best and giving friend I could ever imagine having the blessing to have. You are a sweetheart indescribable. Thanks so much for making my day and life so very special dear heart.

  3. Such a beautiful bowl your mom has passed onto you.A treasure that you will cherish forever.Isn`t it funny how little things such as this bowl can mean so much and hold so many memories.To others it is just a bowl but to you it is as you said Home,filled with memories and love.Although I have lost my Grandma I have things that she treasured. I can see these things and see my Grandma as if she were still with me.To me these things are worth more than all the treasures this world holds.I can see in the things you write and the things you write about Grant that the fierce pride and determination of your mom will live on in you both. I have learned to cherish and hold onto all those memories of my Grandmas past,because they do represent home and love.

  4. Trish, you make me smile, you make me weep. Your words just fill up my heart, even into the dark spaces, with your love and light. You make me better than I am. Sniff. I cannot go on, for I shall be gushing at any moment.

    Dakota, hugs! I have to laugh...Grant has the Northeast Kingdom distribution rights on determination, I think. I nave never seen anyone who can stand as firm and as straight as he, with such a clear eye and mind, and devoted to family and friend. I look to him for inspiration and resolution (but don't tell him I said that!)

    Grandmothers are special. The parts that I like best about me are due to my grandmother. I see in your words that you love your grandmother the same way, and she must have been someone special because you are, too.


  5. Hi Katy! I've been traveling and am just catching up with your blog after several weeks. Back on July 24th I baked a pie using my mother's mixing bowl and rolling pin. These simple tools hold such a sense of family and home. I can truly relate to your feelings for that beautiful bowl. May your time with your mother overflow with fond remembrances, smiles, and tears of happiness.

  6. Lovely post. I hope your mother does not suffer and kept comfortable in her last days. It is difficult watching a parent at this stage, someone who has given so much of her life to make sure you are secure in your own. And you have that lovely bowl that is a treasure of memories.

  7. Hi Katy! Love the bowl! I just went through what you are going through with your mother. My mom passed away July 5th at 90 years of age and my brother and I recently went through her apartment to clear it out. Oh what memories, and what a heartache, too. It's so emothional clearing out and dividing up what was left of Mom's possessions. I wish you comfort and strength as you go through these trying times. I will be thinking of you. Hugs, Diann

  8. Beautiful post!
    Im sure your mother was happy to know you wanted to keep this beautiful bowl.

    Hugs, Priscilla

  9. Hi Katy, I'm so sorry I missed this post. Holding you close in my heart.