Apple Pie and Samurai

My mom had a CAT scan scheduled last week, to make sure her cancer isn’t spreading. It’s been a hard month for her.

The evening before her scan, Max and I got into an argument. Not just an argument. One of those slamming doors, yelling, I hate you, fights. The stress and the tension of the months before got to both of us. I tried to apologize to him the next day, but it was too soon. I spent the morning at my desk trying to work, crying as I answered emails and holding it back as I talked to clients. Man, there’s no heartbreak like a mama’s heart breaking heartbreak.

As I drove my mom to her appointment that afternoon, I started crying and I said to her, “I am sorry, mama. I was wrong, I did it all wrong with Max last night.  I lost my temper and I know I should do better and be better.” My mama said to me, “You did a fine job raising your sons. They are good boys. You’re okay and they will be okay. They just need to learn their lessons on their own terms.” I started crying harder and I told her, “I’m sorry if I was an asshole to you when I was 19. I’m sorry if you had to put up with me.” And she said, “No, you were already on your own. You were working and you were self-sufficient. It’s okay. You’re okay.” Then I told her that I was sad that people were not kinder and more respectful to each other and she said to me: “Laura, someone who truly cares about you will not abandon you or say hurtful things to you.” Simple. It was so simple, and yet so profoundly right. When we got home, she said, “Thank you for driving me to my doctor’s appointment.”

My mother is 85 years old and well past her initial diagnosis of  a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Every day she gets up and walks the dogs, tends the backyard garden she has set up, cleans my kitchen, and sweeps the front porch, driveway, and pretty much half the block. My mama comes from samurai. And I am learning from her, to follow that code. I am proud to be samurai like my mother. Driving her to her doctors’ appointments is the least I can do to honor what she has given to me.

Max and I made up. We always do. I learn a lot from being Max’s mom. I think both of us learned a lesson this time. Sometimes when your heart breaks it’s because it needed repairs. Mine did. The people in your life who stick around for those repairs are your people. Hold them close.

Shane is here, for a visit.  It’s tricky, masks and COVID-19 tests. But my mom wanted to see her grandsons. And they wanted to see their grandmother.

My mom asked me to order her the ingredients to make an apple pie. I told her she could wait until she felt better and she said, “I’m making Shane an apple pie.” I came into the kitchen while she was baking it and she said, “I’m really tired. The scan made me really tired.” I told her, “You don’t have to finish, mama. Or tell me how, I’ll finish.” She said, “No. I am almost done.” She put the pie in the oven and went to lie down.


When Shane arrived, she got up and cut the pie for us. And went back to her room to rest.

As always, the pie was really, really good. Even though we are all in separate rooms, we can share apple pie and love. I’m sending some apple pie love to all of you tonight. And some samurai courage. Don’t give up.

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