My Second Mom

Lynda (left), at afternoon tea with some of her good friends

Tomorrow we’re celebrating the life of my mother-in-law, Lynda. She passed away last week, and I wanted to write a short something to share a few memories about my wonderful second mom.

It feels natural to write some of my memories here, since a lot of our bonding happened over tea. The first time my then-boyfriend brought me to her house, one of the first things she did was offer to make me a cup of chamomile. I was really nervous and wanted to make a good first impression, so chatting over a calming cup of tea proved to be perfect. From that first meeting, she welcomed me with open arms and treated me like family. Her open-heartedness is one of the many qualities I already miss very keenly.

From then on, it became a tradition to meet at her house for tea whenever I visited the town where she lived. We’d hug, and then she would insist that I sit down while she made me a cup of tea. No matter how tired she was, she said it was her pleasure to make it for me, so she’d order me to the couch while she prepared our cups. It became a tradition for me to bring her a new tea to try as a visiting gift, so we often drank it together or fell back to a mutual favourite, chamomile. We’d sip tea, chat, and look at her beautiful flowers (she was an expert orchid raiser, which is a pretty difficult task if you’ve ever tried). The last time I visited her at her house, the scent of jasmine flooded my nose as I opened her door to leave. So many fragrances from tea and flowers will now be always connected to her memory in my mind. I’m relieved; they say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, and there are so many things about her that I don’t want to forget.

On our last family trip together, I had a quiet moment together with her. She wasn’t feeling so well at this point, and I offered to steep her some tea. She agreed, and I put a lot of care and worry into making that cup as delicious as possible. It probably sounds silly – it’s just a drink. But it became one way of expressing love for each other.

After I married her amazing son, our feeling of being family was solidified. I called her mom one day soon after, and enjoyed the flash of happiness in her eyes and her answering smile. So here are a few things I love about my second mom: her kindness, empathy, love of animals, her never-ending advocacy for my punky appearance, her deep understanding of who I am underneath that appearance, her listening skills, generosity, excitement at cooking vegan food for me and my husband (she even made us an entirely vegan Christmas dinner for us a couple of years ago!), her sense of humour, her thoughtfulness (she mailed me some gloves once – via Express post – when she heard I had lost mine), her smile, and so much more. Mom, thank you for everything.