I don’t feel comfortable sharing the important things going on in my life with strangers on the Internet. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable continuing here as if everything was the same. Why is the inevitable so hard? Sad, yes, but since it’s inevitable you’d think one could be at least a little bit prepared. But the inevitable is always supposed to be sometime in the future. Years in the future or maybe only months in the future but always in the future. Not today.
On December 18th, one week before Christmas day, my mother passed away. Now I have no one to share with. Of course that’s silly. I have lots of people I can share with but no one is delighted by things in quite the same way she was. Now, everywhere I look the world is full of things I want to share with her but will never be able to.
She was 78 years old. She was diabetic, and for more than 10 years she had also been on dialysis three times a week. In the last several months she had grown weaker. She was in the hospital several times and in between went to a nursing home and rehabilitation center where she was having physical therapy to help her regain strength. Of course we both knew that The Inevitable could come at any time but she was cheerful and hopeful so I was hopeful too. When she was feeling better we were going to have a Girls’ Day Out – lunch and shopping. When she was feeling better I was going to bring her to my house to see my new kitchen. When she was feeling better we were going to go through all the old photos and try to identify and label as many as possible.
Sixteen years ago, on December 17th 1995, my mother-in-law passed away. If not for modern technology it is very likely that Mom would have made her final exit on the 17th also. December 17th is a cursed date. Neither of these wonderful women would have wanted to have spoiled the Christmas season so we will not let that happen. We will remember all the Christmases they were there for and enjoy many more happy holiday seasons. But the 17th is a cursed date.
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We laugh at funerals. It is the way we are made. We can no more keep from laughing than we can keep from crying. It seems that the best gatherings always occur in connection with memorial services. After my mother’s funeral on the afternoon of the 22nd a few of us gathered at my husband’s youngest brother’s house. It is an old house that has been added on to and beautifully decorated to have a warm and comfortable feeling. This little gathering had an indescribable, almost magical, quality to it and, in such a small group, included several of the most remarkable personalities – not famous people but people you would pay to listen to if you knew about them.
My uncle, my mother’s younger brother, was in the Air Force and even in old age still has a military bearing and a commanding tone of voice. When I was a little kid I was just a little bit scared of him but I always liked listening to him and with a lifetime of experiences he can still come up with stories I haven’t heard before.
I don’t recall if my mother met my eighth grade history teacher (“Coach”) while I was in his class but they somehow became acquainted in later years. Coach has also been a friend of my husband’s family for many years. He is now a small, wiry man with thinning white hair with just that hint of yellow that indicates that it was once blond. He has a rare talent for story-telling and a seemingly endless supply of fascinating stories of small town life.
My husband, brother-in-law and oldest son also have a good bit of story-telling talent. Not to leave out anyone else – my younger son, brother-in-law’s wife, and my aunt. It was altogether a pleasant little gathering and I did feel a bit better sharing food and conversation with these people. I would like to think that my mother was somewhere listening. She would have enjoyed it.
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I am going to close comments on this one. It’s not that I don’t appreciate expressions of sympathy but they don’t really help and I don’t want to have to read through them.
More or less normal posting will resume in a few days.