Here’s Mom, me, and my sister—prepping for a family holiday meal.
The one thing my mother said most often was, “Here, you must be hungry.” The older she got, the more she wanted to feed us from the moment we walked in the door until we left a week later. Before dementia, Mom was an exceptional cook and baker. Food was her language of love. Lots of love.
A few years ago, I was on an early morning coaching call in my parents’ home office. Mom tiptoed in with a plate of fruit and banana bread and a cup of tea, stage whispering, “I thought you might be hungry.” So dear, albeit so distracting.
I shared the following food story during the eulogy I delivered at my mother’s funeral. “I happened to be home for a visit when iconic basketball coach Bobby Knight arrived, hoping to recruit my much younger brother Rod to play for Indiana. Knight got to the house about 8 in the morning as scheduled — just as Mom was pulling a pan of homemade sweet rolls out of the oven. I think Bobby fell a little in love with Mom that day; her warm welcome and delicious baked goods made such an impression that he sent her Indiana sports attire long after Rod declined his offer to be a Hoosier.”
All of my friends and family would agree that I didn’t fall far from the feeding tree. I, too, speak the language of love via bodily sustenance. No one has ever left our house hungry.
I regularly express gratitude to my dear mother for my culinary talents, my efficiency, her unconditional love, and so much more. Rest in peace, Mom, and thank you.