When someone passes away, all too often those who are mourning are left to concentrate on the big-ticket items as far as where their grief and pain are directed.
You know what I mean: “What about the house? The vehicles? How is this going to be paid? THIS and THAT?” Do not get me wrong here. This is 100% completely understandable. Those are questions that deserve answers, no doubt about it. But after those get taken care of, I have to say it’s almost surprising how much it’s the little things that make the most impact. At least, they have with me in the last two weeks since my mom passed away.
With Mom now gone, the home in Conquest where the Ruttles have lived in since 1988 just feels empty. Yes, now it’s just Brendon and I living there and we’ll be taking care of all the bills, but I just can’t shake that feeling of emptiness. Lynda Ruttle just had such a presence about her. It’s not like she was such a larger-than-life personality or anything like that, she was just a comfortable presence in her own home. She could often be seen one of three places in that house: her bedroom watching TV, the kitchen table, or out on the deck. To not see her in any of those locations now is just very odd and painful.
Like I said before, it’s those little things that have been sticking to my ribs in all the aftermath of Mom’s passing. For example, and believe me, this may sound odd at first but there’s something of a story here, I was looking up in the cupboards for something to eat last weekend and I came across a two-pack of wild rice containers. That hit me right below the gut because it dawned on me that Mom had bought this wild rice for me to use in this soup recipe I found on YouTube a good long while ago. Not only that, but she had picked up the chicken stock and even a small jar of bay leaves to use in it.
I had found this recipe on YouTube one day for creamy chicken and wild rice soup, and I just thought it looked good. Easy, too. Put some celery, carrots, onions, wild rice, chicken breasts, a bay leaf, some stock, some water, and a few seasonings into a slow cooker and let it go for a few hours. Then you have to make a roux and add that to it in order to make for the ‘creamy’ aspect of it. Salt and pepper to taste, and voila. Looked good to me, and to Mom. So, she had gone out during a grocery run one day and had picked up these items for me to use in making this soup.
Sounds good, Mom. I’ll get around to it soon.
But I never did.
It’s the other little things, too. I come home from work and I half-expect to see her sitting at the kitchen table, waiting to hear about my day. I half-expect to see her out on the deck with a cup of coffee, talking to Alice from next door about this or that. I half-expect to see her getting her flowers ready on both of her decks for the spring, something she adored doing. I half-expect to see her in Outlook during my noon hours at work, running an errand or two before maybe we meet up for lunch. I half-expect to see her sitting around a roaring bonfire while all of us kids visit with her, something she very much enjoyed. I half-expect to see her basically anywhere. It hurts like crazy to know that I never will again.
I have to tell you, it’s those little things I’ll miss the most. Those kind of everyday things that perhaps we take for granted at times because we’re under the impression that all of us have so long before we leave this earth. The talks. The trips. The daily occurrences. The meals out. The drives. The quiet evenings. I’ll miss all of them with Lynda Ruttle. She had a way about her that simply made those things better, with a perspective that all three of us kids could miss at times. My God, how we could use her perspective now.
I want to take a moment in this column space to thank absolutely everyone who has reached out to my siblings and I during this time. Everything from flowers to cards has been nothing short of incredible. And the FOOD! Believe me, we’ve been eating well! I could try and name them all, but the list of people keeps growing that that would be an impossible task. I believe that says something about the kind of woman Mom was, in that her demeanor and down-to-Earth personality hit the right nerves with so many people that she ended up touching so many lives. I take comfort in that.
I also want to say that having this space each week to pour my thoughts and feelings out has been quite therapeutic as far as dealing with my grief and sorrow is concerned. My apologies to some readers if reading about Mom for the third week in a row has been tiresome or perhaps even a bore, but it’s been nothing but a blast for me. Emotional and stirring, but still a blast. I can only hope that readers have found these last few columns heartfelt because, in the end, the heart is exactly where they came from.
I read a quote recently that said, ‘Losing a mother doesn’t happen in a moment. It takes years to appreciate the impact of what’s gone.’
Believe me, I can appreciate what and who is gone already, thanks.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.