How did your Mom tell you she loved you?

Boiled eggs

Soft-Boiled eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, April 14,  would have been my mother’s 96th birthday.

She died 10 years ago, 2 ½ years after a stroke that so debilitated her, it took 24 hours before she could crawl to her front door, prop it open and wait for a neighbor to find her.

She never lived alone again.

She must not have had much warning that a stroke was coming on.

We found the cereal bowl that she had dropped on the floor.

But, I can just see her deciding, “Well, if I stay here, I will die here. I must crawl to the door to get help.”

A friend had called minutes after the stroke.

My mother had lost her ability to speak immediately.

She answered the phone, but was unintelligible.

Her friend, she later told me in apology, thought to herself, “That doesn’t sound like Betty. I wonder if she’s had a stroke.”

The friend called the apartment manager to check on her, but no one thought to call the police to open the door.

Though there are now medicines that will stop the damage of a stroke in its tracks, they have to be administered within 3 hours.

Her friend told me their church had changed their procedures to make sure someone checked on all their elderly members and saw them regularly.

But on this anniversary of my mother’s birthday, a warm, bright day, with daffodils in bloom, recovering from an early Spring cold, I remember how my mother used to tell me she loved me and my brothers.

She never said it in words.

She once wrote it to me in a letter.

But, the way she really told me she loved me was when I got a cold.

She only served us a meal in bed if we were sick.

And, eggs were rare, served in rotation as scrambled eggs and bacon for Sunday suppers my father made, alternated with grilled cheese sandwiches and popcorn.

But, if we had a cold, Mom made up a ritual that I still use today when I have a cold.

Now, my husband makes it for me.

  • Make toast
  • Butter it
  • Crumble the buttered toast in a cereal bowl
  • Soft-boil an egg
  • Gently crack the egg in half with a table knife
  • Scoop out the soft-boiled egg onto the crumbled toast with a teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Serve with love.

Soft-boiled eggs and toast.

I love you too, Mom.

Happy Birthday.

What did your Mom do for you when you were sick?

Did you continue these traditions when your children were sick?

How do your grandchildren feel cared for when they are sick?

To you and the many ways you show your grandchildren you love them.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

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