My Mother was a very competitive woman.
Case in point:
Years ago, whenever I would phone Mother and Jim, I would always get the rundown on who was ahead at mahjong that day and even what their stats for the week were.
Anyone who has ever played pinball with Mother also knows that the pinball wizard Tommy himself would have nothing on Mother when it came to replays.
And how many days and nights did Frank and I spend with Mother and Jim scheming, laughing and teasing one another while playing Hearts, Uno, and Milles Bornes.
Those were the best of times.
But what was I thinking…
Dear Lord, what was I thinking…
When I introduced Mother …
To Candy Crush.
I believe I was at about level forty-five while when I was visiting Mother a little over a year ago.
We were having a quiet afternoon. She was playing on her computer, while I was on my iPad.
“What are you playing,” she asked as she played her favourite game, Bejewelled.
“Candy Crush,” I answered, “You’d really like it.”
She was instantly hooked.
The week after I returned home, she had already passed me and was in the lead.
What had taken me four months to achieve had taken her less than two weeks.
I was not amused.
This meant war.
As hard as I tried, I could not catch up with her.
I got close…
But before I knew it, she again had an embarrassing lead over me proving that I was way out of her league.
Everyday Mother would send me more and more lives, and every night when she called, she asked if I had received them and by the way, how was my Candy Crush game going?
Every now and again she’d complain that she’s been stuck on a level and how it’s driving her crazy, and then she’d add how much better I was getting at the game.
I resigned myself to the fact that I would never reach her when she reached level 285 and I was only at around 200.
But I kept playing because I knew she loved playing cat to my mouse.
If playing it brought even the remotest joy to her day, then I would be a good sport and do my best get as close to her as I could.
In April though, I noticed that she had been at level 340 for a little too long.
I attributed this to her pain level and medications.
Then of course came the realization that she would not ever be advancing to the next level.
After she passed away in May, I could not bring myself to playing Candy Crush. In fact, I was seriously considering giving up the game altogether.
But, that is not how this story ends.
Eventually, about a month later, I did open up the game and began working myself towards where her pretty avatar waited on the screen.
And then came the day when I finally reached level 340, and our avatars were side by side.
Again, I thought of leaving the game there.
But then I thought better of it.
After taking an onscreen snapshot of us side by side on the Candy Crush game board, I made my way out of the Candy Crush train station and left her behind.
She would have wanted it that way.
However, moving on in real life without her has been a little more difficult.
There are days when I could use a several of those pretty boosters to give me a bit of a zap.
But not to worry…
I’ll make my way out of the station one of these days.
Mother would have wanted it that way.