Day Thirteen: Routines

My Dad has his routines.

He makes the same breakfast every morning, as if he's cooking for my Mom, an egg omelet with tomatoes and fresh cilantro. He toasts two Portuguese rolls every morning, just because they were my Mom's favorite. They usually end up in the garbage since he's diabetic and cannot eat them. He makes a small pot of hazelnut coffee, and pours an extra cup for no one in particular. When I am there, I take that extra cup, but the mornings that I am not are a mystery to me.

Whenever he has a visitor, he talks about that Friday when they skipped their morning walk so they could drive my aunt to a doctor's appointment. He remembers eating lunch, a salad and rotisserie chicken, and the last time she stood at the kitchen sink, telling him to go take a nap while she washed the dishes. And he shows the way she fell down and how he tried to catch her.

I don't know if he's trying to work through his emotions about that fateful day, or trying not to forget because that's all he has left of her. But he tells me and my sisters the same stories and goes about the same routine since my Mom died.

I am no better than my Dad. This was the weekend that my parents were supposed to stay over my house. All that I have left of my Mom is the phone conversation we had the day before she was admitted to the hospital. She and my Dad were planning to attend a wedding nearby and wanted to stay at my house for a few days afterwards. I told her about all the treats I wanted to make for her, because I loved cooking for her and talking about food.

I hear that conversation in my head a lot, especially today. It's all I have left of her, the promise of spending time with her in my house, waiting on her hand and foot, spoiling her with baked treats and pots of tea. Seeing my Dad and his routines make me think that we all have to work through something. So I'll sit and replay my Mom's voice in my head. At the end of our last conversation, I remember telling her that I loved her, and her telling me that she loved me. It wasn't the words as much as it was the sound of happiness in her voice, that we finally reached a place in our lives where we could end every conversation this way, and not filled with regret or anger.

And I'll hang on to this because it makes me less angry, less sad. She knew that I loved her.