Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

This week I had a tuna fish sandwich with my mother

There is no photo for this post because sometimes, there is no person to photograph anymore.

I was thinking of what I wanted-or if I wanted-to write a special post on Mother's Day. Not only am I surrounded by working mothers here at the farm, but I admire so many human mothers I know, including my departed one. I opened up Facebook this morning to a sea of mother photos and can't say I got depressed, but perhaps at this stage of grieving I just felt like I didn't want to participate. And how many times can a person say, and be heard, that they miss their mother.

But I did have an experience this past week and thought it might give encouragement to those who recently lost a mother. This idea that our loved ones never leave, in my experience, is half true. The hard fact to us left as land dwellers is, they do leave. The body goes and with it the smells, voice, clothes, favorite meals, telephone chats, and motherly glances. Can't get around it.

But after a year now, I have recreated my mother, without even really knowing it. And I have her "on call".

This all dawned on me just last week. I had been suffering with a cold, not a horrible one, but enough that my spirit was slightly off, my feet were heavy and it took me forever to focus on one task. I had to eventually go to town and do a lot of catch-up shopping and tasks. I went to the grocery store first. I hate grocery shopping. I got to the parking lot, and just sat for awhile. My mom and I would often sit in the car and wait for my father when he was doing errands. So I sat and watched all the funny people-we are all funny people when watched doing daily tasks like unloading groceries into a car-and I thought how my mom and I would chuckle at this one or that one. I went into to do my shopping and almost instantly I was hit with this desire for a tuna fish sandwich with chopped celery and dill pickles. I rarely eat tuna fish anymore but we had it a lot growing up and my mother loved a tuna fish sandwich even into her twilight years. She always added chopped celery and pickle. It was about noon so I gave in and bought tuna. And for the next 2 hours of shopping, I kept thinking of the tuna fish sandwich I would make when I got home.

Back at the farm, while making my sandwich, I remembered how my mom would cut the bread at an angle, so the sandwich parts were triangles. As a young child, I loved that. So I made my sandwich into two triangles.

And then I ate my sandwich. And it was as if I was feeding her. I sensed that somehow where ever she was, whatever realm, galaxy or whatever form she was in, she was getting to taste a tuna fish sandwich again–something she no longer needed in her current state. I sensed her enjoyment of it–like someone who spent a year in another country where they couldn't get a favorite food arriving home and relishing it on arrival.

This experience was not the same as having a memory of her, and feeling kind of sad, and then shaking it off, moving on with the day. I literally felt she had dialed into me that day, and urged me to get a good old tuna fish sandwich made, for both of us.

10 comments:

Countryside Tales said...

I'm a great believer in this- your ma will be keeping an eye on you and sending you love, and sharing a tuna sandwich every now and then is a lovely thing to do x

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

o this is a good one. Gotta say celery in the tuna amps it up for me, what a splendid idea. Maybe cucumber too?
Next time I have cracked crab its for you mom.
I giggled at your grocery shopping habits, I have to gather myself up too before I face the butcher isle.
xx
julie

Katherine Dunn said...

oh cucs would be good too! Now I want some, but have no tuna.

Katherine Dunn said...

I think so too, CT!

Sharon Stanley said...

funny how something as simple - yet soul and body nourishing - could offer up such sweet thoughts of your mom. so often, as a mother, I've given a little something to my boys for them to enjoy instead of me...the last piece of pie, a little extra money I really didn't have to spare. and now you, as her child, gave your mom a tuna fish sandwich to enjoy for her. I love that.

Katherine Dunn said...

Sharon, that' is sweet- and how often many of us- and you mothers-do such small things that last forever, eternally, and they can be so simple.

Ruth Armitage said...

I love your description of feeling here there, of feeding her. I've had this experience in a similar way, but never thought to put it to words. Thank you :)

Sharmon Davidson said...

I agree with you; little things like this do pop up from time to time, making us feel we've somehow had contact with out loved ones that have passed on. They have become parts of us, and in that sense, can never really be far away. It still hurts sometimes, though.

Corrine at sparkledaysstudio.com said...

A lovely way to dial in to Mom. Food is such a powerful memory keeper. My Mom, gone 33 years now loved cold spaghetti for breakfast. I can still see her eating it. Thanks for bringing that back. xox

Katherine Dunn said...

Thanks, Ruth, and Sharon, it does hurt. Corrine, my mom would eat fried up cold spag for lunch, on bread. It never appealed to me-but you jogged my mind-there she is again! 33 years, a long time. I've only been through a year, and I wonder how 10, 20+years will feel.

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~