Mom used to always buy certain candies to put in the candy dishes on the coffee table and the fireplace, just like her mother. In fact, one of the candy dishes was from Grandmother’s house – minus the glass insert. I would get candies from that dish when we would visit Grandmother Kelley in Iowa when I was growing up. It was one of the first things I checked out when we arrived at the duplex with Grandmother on one side and my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins on the other. The dish was always full.
I would specifically look for the spearmint leaves when I/we would visit Mom and Dad’s house, usually in the candy dish on the fireplace. When Mom noticed that I kept going straight to them, she began to put some in the bowl and some in a plastic bag for me when she bought a new bag. She would give them to me when I took them food or when I was headed out on the road for a tour.
In the past few months, Mom’s faculties began to slowly go. Her hearing and her arthritis kept getting worse. I was sitting with her while Dad ran a couple of errands. This was before Dad found a nurse and physical therapist to come to their house.
Mom would seem to fall asleep in the middle of a sentence or thought. I would look at my phone or read the paper on the kitchen table. At some point, she would wake up and continue the thought. That pattern continued for a while. Then she backed her chair away from the table.
She told me to look in the cabinet. I found a bag of the spearmint leaves. I turned to ask her if that was what she was talking about. She had the grin of a little girl as she nodded.
A week or two later while Dad ran errands, Mom and I were again sitting at the kitchen table. Dad had bought candy and I was helping her fill the candy dishes. Certain candies went in certain dishes. Bridge mix in one, Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups in another, and of course the spearmint leaves. After I filled the candy dish with the leaves, Mom told me to take the rest of the bag. That is the bag in the picture.
I ate them rather slowly, but this was the last one. It’s not such a big thing, and I can get more spearmint leaves. But it feels kinda weird to finish the last one in the last bag she gave me.
There will always be little things that remind me that I miss my mom.
Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.
Peace be with you.