Ten Years

My eyes fluttered open at four o’clock in the morning and I found myself waking to the awareness of the brevity of life, my mortality and the mystery of it all. A slightly uncomfortable feeling washed over me, a sadness. It was then that I remembered that it was the ten-year anniversary of my mother’s death and that realization was breathtaking for me. Mon-Norway-collage-web

My mother was such an intricate part of every aspect of my life, letting go of her at the time of her death was the biggest and scariest thing I had ever faced. After she was gone, I understood what it meant to be motherless, and even though I was an adult, the significance of losing a parent was huge. I no longer had the luxury of sharing time with her, to giggle over silly things, to hear her advice and kind words that soothed my worries and disappointments.

As wonderful and as complete as my relationship with my mother was, the grieving process was a bitch – a muddy sludge of emotion, a river that I waded through until exhausted. For a long while, I could only sit on the edge of that river looking to the other side where life carried on. Slowly the mud settled and the water became a healing potion teeming with life that I was missing out on. I dipped my toes into the inviting water and then slowly slipped in until I could swim again, taking a luscious dip into that extraordinary thing called life.

Mom in Norway child

As a child, my mother dodged Nazis who occupied Oslo during World War II, she sailed on a ship with her family to New York in her teens where she entered an American school knowing only a few words of English. She went on to model and act in a few commercials, hung with artists and actors, rock stars and royalty, living a life that at times seemed impossibly fabulous, but her greatest joy came from spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren.

One of the most intriguing things that happened as my mother was dying occurred when we were alone for a few minutes. I curled up close to her and sobbed and she, with the softest voice said, “You are such a dear, dear, sweet soul”. She said it with love but also a certain detachment and it was at that moment that I realized that something had shifted. She was becoming the essence of who she really was, a spirit, a soul, not so much my mother or Inger.

Mom-collage2-web

She imparted secrets to me, some pieces to the puzzle of the universe during those four days before she left, reinforcing what I had already considered but still questioned about life, death and everything spiritual in between.

She was anything but a religious woman, as a matter of fact, a few months before she passed away, she told me that she felt no sense of God or what lay beyond this world, but during those final days of her life, she spoke calmly about the place where she was being brought to during times when she appeared almost unconscious to all of us around her. She was in a park–like setting where she was shown different paths that she could take. “You have to decide which path you will take, even at this point in life” she said with her eyes still closed as if she was viewing something that could only be seen through a channel that only she was privy to. She even joked with my stepfather who has a big appetite for life and food, “You’ll be happy to know that you can eat there if you want to. You don’t need to, but you can if you want”. She also spoke of God and said, “God doesn’t care about religion, only honesty and love”. Before she passed, she told my sister and me that her father was in the room “He says he wants to be a part of this”, so I know she left in good hands.

Mom-and-Benji-collage-web

So much has happened during the past ten years that I wish I could tell her about. I’d love to explain to her how her grandchildren have turned out to be the most amazing human beings and about the lovely man who I now share my life with, whom she would have adored. Sometimes I think I see her in nature, like when a hummingbird’s wings fluttered up against my dress as it hung in the air so close to me as if to say “hello” and sometimes I just feel her presence.

To be able to see her face one more time and to feel the warmth of her hug, a hug like no one else’s, would be the ultimate gift but those are moments that come to me in dreams now, dreams I cherish. So I’ll continue to talk to the hummingbirds in hopes that they will carry my messages to her of my deep love and gratitude for being on the receiving end of such a woman – the beautiful mother, friend and grandmother that she was. I was so blessed for knowing her.

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Comments

    • Eva Marie says

      I’m so sorry, Gerlinde. I certainly understand how difficult that must be. I’ll say a little prayer for your mother and you. Blessings to you both. Safe travels- Eva

  1. says

    Bless your dear heart Eva. I lost my mother only a year ago, after taking care of her for so long in my home.One of her biggest thrills was witnessing my very first attempt at baking. It was your Torte Capri with lemon curd.She,as well as I, were both amazed how good it turned out.She talked about it all the way up to her death,telling everyone that would listen at what a great cook and NOW baker I was! haha Wishing you had a “suitcase full” of lemons from your mothers tree today!!Lemon squares might just cheer you up a little!! Much love from Dixie…Kevin Henderson

    • Eva Marie says

      Wow, Kevin, this brought me to tears. Writing a blog is something one must do simply for the love of it, but when I hear that somebody actually read what I wrote and even made one of my recipes, it is very gratifying. To know that in some very small way that I was a part of you and your mother’s life means more to me than I could ever express. Thank you so much for sharing you story with me, I will always hold it close to my heart. I guess we were both blessed to have been graced by such special women. xo

      • says

        I’m so glad that meant so much to you. I love the way you write. You are so incredibly talented in so many ways.And your husband is an amazing photographer! I’ve always thought you should have your very own TV show.Heck if there’s room for “The Pioneer Woman” on TV ,there’s gotta be room for “Saint Eva Marie!!haha Heck, you could even have your own travel channel show!!I loved the pics of your European trip!!The way you described every amazing landmark and buildings and especially the pics and descriptions of all the amazing food you’ve had in all of your journeys.You make being a vegetarian look pretty appealing(I remember you telling me that when I wrote and asked about Superbowl snacks)Anyway, I wanted to tell you how much I love all the elegance and class you bring in all that you do.!You truly do make food look glamorous ! It really is like ‘picasso on a plate’!!I thought I sent you the pic of your Torte Capri(I’m not very tech savvy so I might ‘ve messed it up)I’ll try and download it and resend it.Again, I look forward to your next chapter!!You really are my favorite “artist”!!Tell your husband thanks, for his contribution as well!He always captures you and your creations in the best light!!Till next time…Live,love,laugh and eat!!!

        • Eva Marie says

          You are so great, Kevin. I LOVED the photos! By the way, I shoot all of the photos. My husband’s contribution is putting up with me and eating all of the food I make! All the best to you always- Eva

  2. Betty Dickerson says

    God bless you all, your comments are from the heart and make my feel warm as I am saying good bye to my husband. I wanted to suggest you read “Heaven is for Real” but I believe you know that already. After reading the story of the 4 year old boy and seeing the inspired painting of Jesus by a 8 year old girl in Australia, who’s mother was an atheist, I don’t know how anyone could denied that God is for real.
    Sad times but we will be together again…big hugs and love to all of you Betty

    • Eva Marie says

      I’m so sorry that you are going though such a difficult time, Betty. I believe it is such a gift to witness a loved one’s passing from this life to the next and I’m sure you bring such love and comfort to your husband at this time. The cycle of life and death is painful, mysterious and also, amazing. Thank you for the book suggestion, I will definitely check it out. Much love and peace to you and your husband. Eva

  3. says

    Hi Eva

    What a beautiful post! It is just me, but your mother looks so much like a fresh-faced Norma-Jean (Marilyn Monroe) in the sepia-tone photograph next to the cottage?

    Keep up the great posts.

    • Eva Marie says

      Now that you mention it, I do see the resemblance in that photo. She was a true beauty but was such a tomboy growing up. When she came to New York and began modeling, she was often told that she looked like Katherine Hepburn. She was tall, lanky and such a goof-ball. Thank you for allowing me share a little bit of her with you and for the words of encouragement! xo

  4. says

    Hello Eva, so delighted Slim Paley gave your beautiful post a shout out and I find myself here. It stirred the emotions but was so heartwarming it nourished my soul! Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. A few years ago I read a book, Proof of Heaven. I finished the final chapter on a flight from Colorado to LA. As I closed the book shut, my mind was debating the possibilities of life after death. My soul was in favour of one belief, my brain another. I was rather annoyed I couldn’t settle the matter. At that point I gazed down at the beautiful gift given to me by a friend. A glorious preserved blue and black butterfly housed under glass in a frame. Then, out of the corner of my eye I noticed the book that had just stirred me… on its cover, an illustration of the very same butterfly I was nursing on my lap. Proof of heaven! Keep talking to your hummingbirds. xo

    • Eva Marie says

      How wonderful! I recently read Proof of Heaven so I know of the butterfly you speak of. Come to think of it, I gave my step-daughter a similar butterfly upon her college graduation. The universe is truly a mysterious place and so full of surprises!
      Do you live in Colorado or LA? I grew up in LA and have lived in Colorado for years.
      Thank you very much for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts, it means so much to me. All the best to you – Eva xo

  5. says

    I agree Eva – the universe is a mysterious place and I find it so lovely when little signs or coincidences like the butterfly occur. I live in Sydney, Australia and visit Colorado to ski. Such a beautiful part of the world. xo

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