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Who we lost KY: Any pie is good pie - story about Ramona Gordon

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WUKY is collaborating with Martha Greenwald, creator and curator of 'Who We Lost KY' a writing project where friends and families who have lost loved ones to the pandemic pay tribute and in some cases, say their final goodbyes. Today’s essay is written and read by Laura Jackson in tribute to her mother Ramona Gordon.

 

My mother’s pies were more than just dessert. In my family, they were considered the pinnacle of culinary perfection; the standard by which all other desserts would forever be measured. The secret was the crust, which was always a flaky, golden brown masterpiece — just the right vehicle to hold the delectable fruity filling within. I have never tasted anything else that even comes close.

Mom’s talent for pie making was truly a gift from above. Her mother’s pies never quite measured up. And when Mom tried to teach me this baking skill, I proved to be sorely lacking the pie-baking gene. Part of me suspected that Mom was happy to wear this crown in our family, and for years we all looked forward to the pies we would enjoy during every visit to my parents’ house.

But this January, when my sister and I went to see Mom one week before she passed away, pie couldn’t have been further from my mind. The doctor had called us to say my mother was deteriorating; we were given permission to visit for one hour. We donned PPE since there were several COVID positive residents in her area, and we got to spend some time with her. We were grateful to be able to see her, but Alzheimer’s had robbed her of so much. Our hearts were breaking.

Mom was frantic when we arrived, and my sister and I didn’t know what to do. Our efforts to comfort her weren’t working. We tried singing show tunes to help her relax. We sang “The Wells Fargo Wagon” from The Music Man, which was her favorite musical. We prayed. We tried to reminisce. Sadly, Mom wasn’t really able to follow the conversation, her responses revealing the devastating disease. But when it was nearly time for Mom’s lunch, my sister started talking about pie.

“It is almost lunchtime, Mom. Do you think they will have pie?” my sister said, trying to fill the gaps of conversation. “What kind of pie do you like, Mom? What is your favorite?”

Mom looked up at us and with a clear voice she answered, “Any pie is good pie.”

Mom was back, even if just for a second, and we were connected again. That was the last “real” thing she said to me. I will savor the flavor of that moment for the rest of my days.

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