I have to say that I will miss mom more than I ever thought possible. There are so many things, big and little, that I’ll miss: her fantastic homemade dinner rolls, brought to every celebration dinner; the way she seemed to read my mind when I wanted to ask for help with something, but couldn’t quite get up the courage to spit it out; the beautiful craftsmanship she exhibited in the gorgeous holiday dresses and Halloween costumes she sewed for her grandchildren; and the glee she took in playing with her grandkids.
She was a terrific grandmother to my children, especially to R. When mom and dad had R out to the house to spend the day or a weekend, mom had endless patience with R’s nonstop chatter. She and R formed a cozy partnership they called “The Crafty Girls” and together they completed a myriad of different craft projects together over the past couple of years. Mom was ever so much more patient than I was with R’s style of crafting, which involved her own stubborn ideas, rather than the actual directions. When she took my kids to the beach, she didn’t just stick them in the car and go. She brought little beach chairs, beach umbrellas, pails, shovels, sunscreen, bug spray, and packed four different kinds of sandwiches, just to make sure she had the kind they liked. She didn’t just sit in a chair wishing she could go home (as I do at the beach) but instead got down in the sand and helped build sand masterpieces.
In the past few years, family seemed to become more important to her, and we’d grown quite close. She was my ready companion for things like craft shows and excursions to places my husband would have found boring, like museum exhibits or home tours. She was supportive to me in many ways when my husband and I were separated and working through marital problems a few years ago. I wouldn’t like to call my accident a year ago a blessing, but I am so very grateful for it, especially now, because it completely changed my relationship with my parents, especially my mom. She and my dad came to our house and took care of my entire family for weeks, changing my bandages, keeping me company during my seemingly endless weeks of confinement to a hospital bed, peppering my physical therapist with questions, doing our weekly grocery shopping, washing our laundry, running our errands, unpacking boxes from our recent move, and cooking up a storm making us everything from homemade bread to dinner every night. I was so touched by the unselfish love and caring shown to me by mom that I started to see her in a different light. I let go of past resentments and anger and was able to tell her for the first time how much I loved her and how grateful I was to her.
I have no doubt that mom was not ready to die yet. She constantly had new schemes and plans afoot, was always planning to take a class or learn a new skill, and spoke about her life as though she was going to live to be 100. To be honest, I always thought she would too. I found a reading that made me think of mom called “Let Me Die Working”.
Let me die working,
Still tackling plans unfinished, tasks undone!
Clean to its end, swift may my race be run.
No laggard steps, no faltering, no shirking;
Let me die working.
Let me die thinking,
Let me fare forth still with an open mind,
Fresh secrets to unfold, new truths to find,
My soul undimmed, alert, no question blinking;
Let me die thinking.
Let me die giving,
The substance of life, for life’s enriching;
Time, things and self on heaven converging,
No selfish thought, love redeeming, living;
Let me die giving.