September is a tough month. I miss my mom. I miss so many things about who she was, her teaching, her love, and her grace. She was an amazing woman whose life touched the lives of men and women around the world. Five years ago she died after developing a brain tumor. Her battle was, fortunately not a long painful battle but a 9 month fading. When she first got sick her one request from the Lord was to spare her from pain and He was faithful to do just that. In the last months of her life she was placed on a strict diet and sugar was not on the approved list.
One evening some of the family went out to eat at a small diner in town and while there my mom stated that she wanted a cannoli. My dad reminded her of her diet restrictions and although she still wanted that cannoli she didn’t order it. This frustrated my brother and made him very angry. We all knew she was not coming back from this tumor. We all knew we had a short and limited time with her and we all knew that at this point a cannoli would not change that outcome. He couldn’t understand why dad would say no to this simple request.
This was not the last time we would hear about the cannoli. In fact just a few days later she suggested we go to the diner up the way and eat a cannoli. I assured her that I would take her but I needed someone there to help. We never got that chance. She died a few weeks later and we never got a chance to go eat a cannoli.
I’ve had many opportunities since then but have not wanted to eat one. I couldn’t have one with my mom and I didn’t want to eat one without her.
September is a painful month for the man with whom I am building my life, and yesterday was a painful and significant day for him. On this day 15 years ago he lost his family and last night was a particularly hard night but he allowed me to be a loving support. The significance of the cannoli comes with the connection of the absence of these four people.
Dinner last night was a special time, we found this quaint little Italian restaurant that had outdoor seating set up to feel like Italy. The food was delicious and we had opportunity to talk about happy things, difficult things, and silly, funny things. At the end of the meal while ordering dessert I saw a cannoli listed on the menu. Because of the significance of the day for him, seeing that option hit me hard. Though he knew nothing of the cannoli story he jokingly ordered me two, then proceeded to cancel that when I told the waitress what I actually wanted. After she started to walk away he asked if I didn’t like them to which I responded that I had never had one. He immediately called out to the waitress and, ignoring my pleas that I didn’t want one and that there was a reason I didn’t want one he went ahead with ordering the additional dessert. (This is very unlike him.)
After the deed had been done he turned back to me and asked what the reason was, likely assuming some silly stand against cream filled pastries. When I told him that it was because I never got to have one with my mom he immediately understood. Recognizing this was an opportunity for growth he reminded me that my mom and his family were up in heaven looking down at us and discussing the cannoli. We decided we would share the cannoli in mom’s honor and when it came out, as silly as this may sound to some, in an emotional moment we shared an Italian dessert pastry and talked about our loved ones. The timing was significant in many ways but the result was just a little more healing from the pain of missing my mom.