I want to remember how welcoming she was. And that first Christmas where I spent hours in her kitchen looking through her cookbooks and noting recipes to copy.
I want to remember that she had long, delicate but agile fingers which she used to do everything from deliver babies and care for mothers, to bake pie.
I want to remember her straight long hair, sometimes in a low ponytail and sometimes not. And the way she wrapped her fingers around it, even when there was none, to pull it from her shirt or jacket.
I want to remember her baby mohawk.
I want to remember that she wore three rings—one gold wedding band, one diamond eternity anniversary band that came after a long search post Italy, and one mixed gold and silver band from Hawai’i.
I want to remember that she always wore “silver ball” earrings, until later when she switched to a silver earing with a dropped crystal, which I don’t think I really noticed until she lost her hair, and then they seemed that much more elegant.
I want to remember the hours she would spend French braiding the “little girls’” hair on the houseboat, carefully threading beads onto the sections.
I want to remember that she hung silver stars in the windows at Christmastime. They are tarnished from time and gently turn in the light of the sun and movement of the inside air.
I want to remember that she started many emails with “Aloha!”
I want to remember that she always lit the candles for dinner. We must remember to do this.
I want to remember her love of hummingbirds. And daylilies. And wind chimes.
I want to remember having music on in the background. And her turning on the music midmorning and entering the kitchen at the ranch(es) to start prep on our next fantastic meal, first using recipe cards kept in a box in plastic sleeves, then her iPad.
I want to remember the wake up song.
I want to remember her garden. And the “night of the frost” last of the season basil harvest and pesto making sessions. And the gnocchi with pesto we would eat in the dead of winter.
I want to remember the special desserts like the “Bombe aux Trois Chocolat” and the more practical but satisfying, perhaps more so, Chocolate Sheet Cake.
I want to remember that when the cake falls in the center, you just “put a little more icing to even it out, and it won’t even matter.”
I want to remember the time she baked me an out of season birthday cake and one of the dogs stole a layer off the ranch kitchen counter while it was cooling. Result=three layer cake.
I want to remember that she sometimes felt that the cost didn’t matter, especially on flank steak and pork tenderloin in Hawai’i. That you just “closed your eyes and put it in the basket.” That some things are worth paying a lot of money for and that gifts sometimes came with the price tag still attached.
I want to remember when she would eat something really delicious she would take a first bite and close her eyes and sit back in her chair with her arms on the arm rests and lick her lips and slowly say “mmmm.” And in that utterance say all the things.
I want to remember that she drank hot chocolate, made from scratch, instead of coffee or tea. That she drank Coke—from a can, with ice. Or from the convenience store fountain with pebble ice preferably. And that her favorite ice was that made from that crusher thing from her childhood home.
I want to remember the “whooish, whooish, whooish” sound she made when she swirled the meringue with her index finger on the key lime pie.
I want to remember that I missed her last birthday because I was in Maine, but that when I came back she said “we missed you” and I said “I missed you too.”
I want to remember that it is important to get in the photos. And take selfies with loved ones. And to smile.
I want to remember the texts about Downton Abbey.
I want to remember that when I asked, she wasn’t afraid, yet I was secretly terrified for her, for me, for all of us.
I want to remember her love for red rock country, and Lake Powell, and Shakespeare. And plants from Cactus and Tropicals, and table cloths from Williams and Sonoma (on sale).
I want to remember her saying “That’s an Instagrammer.”
I want to remember her knowing the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake stats. And leaving the dinner table post dessert to watch a DVR’d game with her sisters.
I want to remember that after 29 years of marriage she still sat on Ken’s lap.
I want to remember the menu and shopping lists. She always prepared with a list. And assignments.
I want to remember that she was the organizer, the facilitator, the glue. I don’t know what we will do without her.
I want to remember when Sam was looking at her quilt she resurrected her wit and broke her silence and said “That’s mine!” as if to say “you can’t have it.” Outside it made me laugh, inside it made me cry.
I want to remember thinking that the quilt wasn’t enough to keep her with us, and I was foolish to think it might, but that it did provide comfort (to me in the making) and her (in the using) and wrapped her in love. Not just for her, but for the kids who napped, emotionally exhausted, underneath it on the day they lost their mom. And thus in that instant making it made it again worth it.
I want to remember.