One of my favorite sitcoms is The Big Bang Theory, which follows a group of brainy, socially awkward nerds who work at Cal Tech and struggle to figure out how to navigate life both professionally and socially.
One of the main characters is a Jewish engineer named Howard Wolowitz (far left in the picture), who, in many ways typifies the stereotypical nerdy Millennial. He lives at home with his mother, who does his laundry, cooks for him and generally treats him like he’s still a child.
In the show, Howard’s mother is never seen but her voice is always heard yelling from another room. It’s actually quite comical. Unfortunately, the real life actress who played Mrs. Wolowitz died unexpectedly in the middle of season 8. As a result, the writers of the show decided that her character would also be written out of the show via an unexpected passing.
In the season 8 episode “The Leftover Thermalization”, there is a power outage and Howard realizes that the food his mom had cooked and stored in the freezer would soon spoil and be gone forever, and so too would one of the last sensory connections to his mother’s memory.
You may know that on Sunday, September 11th, my mother finally succumbed to her weeks long battle with pneumonia. She is now at peace in the presence of her savior, Jesus Christ.
A few days after my mom’s passing, I drove out to spend a few days with my dad, mostly so he wouldn’t have to be alone so soon after my mom’s death.
One of the first things I wanted to do was survey the food situation. Did we need to go to the grocery store? What was in the house to eat? Truthfully, the food was always my mom’s department, so I wanted to make sure that while I was there, we weren’t eating snacks and junk food for dinner.
As we were charting a plan for meals for the next few days, I had a Big Bang Theory moment when my dad produced a container of my mom’s spaghetti sauce from the freezer. I thought, “this is the last time I will ever eat anything my mom has made.” It was a surreal moment but it reminded me of the one quality that I think most typified my mom, and that was her selflessness.
One of the ways my mom demonstrated selflessness was through her cooking. Growing up, my mom always made sure everyone was fed and she was pretty good at it.
When I was in 2nd grade, my mom went back to work to help add to the family income. Still, she always found a way to make sure dinner was on the table.
In high school, my mom went back to school to get her AA degree. Even then, despite the busyness of work AND school, she always had dinner prepared for us to heat up and serve, even when she wasn’t present to eat with us.
When I was in college, I would often come home very late from studying or working. There was always a plate in the refrigerator for me to heat up.
My mom typified kindness and service to others. She rarely complained even though she worked long hours meeting the needs of others before attending to herself.
She was the glue that held our family together. She stayed connected to me and my siblings even when we weren’t connected to each other.
In the Big Bang Theory episode, Howard decides to invite all his friends over for one last feast of enjoying the cooking of his mom, allowing each person to fondly reflect on how Mrs. Wolowitz had impacted them.
While my dad and I enjoyed the last of my mom’s spaghetti sauce, we reflected on her kindness and her sacrificial love demonstrated in so many ways, including her cooking.
Though my mom’s presence will be dearly missed, I thank God that she knew and loved Jesus and that she is in God’s presence, free from the health issues that increasingly affected her in her later years.
I thank God that in Christ, we have hope beyond this life, and that through Jesus, we have the assurance that being separated from our loved ones is but a temporary arrangement.
Rest in Peace Mom!