I’ve been a little silent on the blog here lately. If you know me, you probably know that my mom died on August 3. Over the past several months I’ve traveled out to California several times to be with her, knowing that every time could be the last. Thus, I just haven’t been in the mood to do a lot of writing.
Grief is a funny thing. If you’ve lost someone you know that you can be perfectly fine one minute, and a total mess the next. But, I’m grateful for the time I was able to spend with her and even in these few short weeks I’ve found myself thinking, “Oh, I should call mom and tell her this story about the grandkids. She’ll find it funny.” Now, whom do I tell them to? Surely there’s someone who wants to hear my funny stories. If you’d like to volunteer for the position of funny story listener, let me know.
This week I got the sweetest card from one of my mom’s friends. She told me about how when she had just joined the golf club my mom and dad belonged to, my mom made sure to include her in whatever was going on so she could get to know people. She’s not the only one who has told me how my mom helped them get to acquainted and I think it tells you a lot about my mom. She never wanted people to feel left out. I hope I can emulate that trait.
Mom taught me quite a few things actually. She had an indomitable spirit. When life knocked her down, as it did several times, she’d get right back up again. Her sister died when she was just four years old. This made her an only child so my grandparents basically took her wherever they went. My mom told me multiple times about how my grandparents would take her with them to parties and when her parents wanted to leave they’d say, “Marian’s tired, we have to go home.” She’d chime in with, “I’m not tired!” (I’m sure that won her all kinds of points with her father.)
My mom lost her mom just days after she got married. Maybe that’s when she developed her indomitable spirit, because shortly thereafter she picked up and moved with my dad from Kansas City to Los Angeles. Having made a cross country move with my husband I can tell you it’s not easy and I imagine it would be doubly difficult if you didn’t have a mom to call and complain to.
Mom got breast cancer in her 60’s and worked hard at regaining her strength and moving forward. Then she had her knees replaced (one in her 60’s and one in her 80’s). Neither time was fun, but she worked hard at physical therapy and was soon back out on the golf course. She also fell several times in her 80’s and again last fall. Her physical therapist would laugh at how much spunk she had and was amazed at how she’d work to get better. He tried to talk her into a different walker but she wouldn’t hear of it. She liked the one she had and she wasn’t going to change now, thank you very much!
Like I said, my mom never let life’s hard knocks keep her down. It wasn’t even a question.
Mom was also great at games. She played bridge, Mahjong, hand and foot, and Rummikub, usually for money, which she usually won. There is still a bowl of change in her kitchen cupboard that was just a small portion of her winnings. Even my brothers and I could hardly ever beat her.
I was able to be with my mom during her last few days on earth. I’ve never seen someone so happy to be dying. When my brother told her she’d be seeing Dad and Jesus soon she said, “Yeah, that’ll be fun.”
Though I miss my mom terribly, I’m so happy for her. She can walk again, and isn’t in anymore pain. Why would I want to deny her of that perfect joy? I’d just like one more chance to beat her at Rummikub—and tell her thanks for being my mom.