I Saw My Mother In A Food Court

The first thing you should probably know if you are reading this post, is that despite the title of it, my mother is no longer living. She passed on a Sunday night, March 25, 2007 in a hospital at the age of 81. So seeing her in a food court is not an every day kinda deal.

The second thing you should probably know if you are reading this post, is that I had recently been to see a psychic/ medium. I will use those words interchangeably referring to the same woman.

When I was growing up, my mom told me a few times that when someone close to you dies, there is a period of time when the universe tends to be a bit more fluid. For a few weeks or a month, or longer if you are super lucky, things happen around you and you can’t explain them. You seem to be tapped into the “upside down” if you will.

I first had that experience when my older brother Billy died in 1989. I was away in Boston at school at the time. Out of the blue I knew who was knocking at the door before I opened it or who was calling on the phone when it rang. I had a very ethereal feeling of connection to “something” else and it was pretty cool. I mean, I’d rather my brother hadn’t died, but as a side effect, this was a nice relief from the crippling grief.

The same happened to me when my mom died. I was myself a little “psychic” and “all knowing.” I also seemed to see the number 9:11 every where. All the time. A lot. I came to associate 9:11 with my mom being nearby.
Same thing when my dad died. I started to see 12:34 all the time. Which is funny because my dad was the king of “testing. testing.,, testing.” In the embarrassing Dad way. My sister on the other hand sees 11:11 all the time which is a common number indicating that spirits are nearby.

Any whooooo. Back to the psychic. It was a bit of a mystery even to the nice medium on how I managed to secure an unlikely time slot. I had said two days before, “If my mother wants to talk to me, she will find a way to get me into this woman.” And there I was. She talked about some stuff and things. My mom was there and chatting as ever. My dad was present but not vocal. Figures. My brother Bill showed up which was pretty amazing, and he was even cracking jokes with me which was pretty cool. Talk about settling old wounds. He said to me, through the medium, “I’m sorry for being such an ass.” (He was, you see, an ass). He went on to take full responsibility for our troubled relationship and said he was a much better person now.

By way of background, my brother was 19 years my senior and an alcoholic. The disease made him a little arrogant, a little self -interested. I was sad when he died that we weren’t on better terms. So fast forward to a summers day in 2019 in a basement office in Hamilton, Ontario, and all is forgiven. My heart opened up. I still to this minute feel happier on such a fundamental level.

The nice lady told me to tell my sister to keep watching out for 11:11 and cardinals because my mom, dad and brother were all around her. So sweet.

They also had a lot of messages for one of my nieces. I left her office and went directly to the cemetery to our family plot quite to my surprise. Drawn like a magnet to place that I visited every Sunday afternoon for my entire childhood and then not once since October 15, 2009.

The next day I was planning to meet my niece and time passed literally I don’t feel like I breathed even once between seeing the medium and seeing Maigen. I blurted it all out in a Tim Hortons. As you do, if you’re Canadian. I repeated every detail I could recall.

And it was important. It was really, really, really important you see, because my brother Billy was of course, her dad. So if he’s professing to be a better person, I felt the need to share that with her. 911 style. She is at a time in her personal journey when any news from her dad, especially good news, would be very important to her.

A day or two later I made my way over to Sherway Gardens. In Canada we don’t have quaint little downtown, walk along and see your neighbours, stop into the butcher places to go anymore. We have malls. Sherway is my downtown. I went to grab my lunch before some shopping, and I approached an empty 4 top. I looked around me, and the next table over sat (I think) some vague version of a couple, maybe, sitting across from one another. And there was a woman sitting with them, at the same table.

She made and held eye contact with me and sort of smiled in a pleasant, but intimate way. With her eyes. I don’t recall seeing any food or drink near her. I feel like she was holding something, but I’m not sure. She was the right height, hair length and approximate build to my mother, but the resemblance ended there. It was “metaphoric” at best. I turned my attention to my taco. Because ….taco. And maybe looked at my phone. I didn’t notice the woman at all until she stood up to leave. She again, held my gaze as she walked the 10 steps to where I was and I looked at her and smiled my warmest smile. As she went by my she laid her hand ever so warmly on my shoulder, she leaned in a little, and she said “don’t get old.”

My mother and father had uttered that expression 90,000 times to me in my life. Usually with “kid” tacked on if it was my dad.

I turned and watched her walk away. The entire place was beautifully lit with soft daylight, it was a quiet period and she just seemed to wander off.

For my part, I stayed very present in that moment. I went about the task of leaving, but I moved slowly and intentionally. And then I smiled a little smile and said to myself, “I just saw my mother.” No tears. Just the warmest, nicest feeling I’ve had in a long time.

The next time I talked to my niece, I told her about my experience of seeing mom in the food court, and the first she said was:

“Oh my God Kathi, I swear to you my dad was sitting with my on the entire drive home after I saw you the other day.”