Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Club Thursday | Mama Made the Difference

Mamas Teach Us to Die with the Doors Closed

We are reading through the book Mama Made the Difference by T.D. Jakes. All direct quotes taken from the book are in bold type.

Right before my mother was wheeled into her bypass surgery, she and my dad spent some time alone talking with each other.  I didn't think of it then, but Mom was doing what T.D. Jakes talks about in this chapter. She was getting all of those final things said and done, telling my father what a great man she thought he was, etc.

I didn't realize it before, but she was trying to close the doors with me as well before she even went into the hospital- trying to give me her personal recipes for sofrito (a Spanish food seasoning), recipes to pasteles (another Spanish food that mostly the older generation knows how to make), giving me tips and advice on newborns and nursing, etc.  However, I didn't want those doors to be closed.  I naively felt that if they were still open, she would have to be here to answer those questions.  Why would I need to learn her recipes because if I wanted something, I would just ask her to make it for me.  Nine months after Mom passed away, I had a dear friend of hers over so that she could teach me how to make homemade sofrito.  We shared tears as I told her my regret in not listening when Mom tried to tell me how to make it.

As the numbness of death wears off, we often start thinking such thoughts as these: I wish I had asked him... I wish I had told her... I wish I knew what he thought about... I wish I had found out... Our grief becomes tainted with wishes and regrets.  While our loved ones are alive, we need to share with them what they mean to us.  We need to ask them the burning questions that we have.  That way, when our loved ones are no longer with us, we will not have any questions unanswered, any words left unsaid.

And so the lesson I would pass along to you about dying with the doors closed is: Parents, communicate with your children. Children (of any age), communicate with your parents.  Whoever you are and whatever you role in the lives of other people, communicate with those you love. If you love someone, tell them.  If you judged someone too severely or if you have been too religious and not close with someone, apologize....Mama taught me a good lesson: open your mouth and speak healing and love.

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