Saturday, March 12, 2011

The One in Which She Did Not Go Gently into that Good Night

Swirl Girl, Sisterbestfriend, and Mom
December 2010
My Mom was a very simple woman.  A practical, no muss, no fuss kind of gal.  She was passionate to a fault about a few things:

She simply loved her games.  Of all kinds.  Bingo, casino games, Mah-jong, Canasta, puzzles of all kinds.  You name it - she played it.

She simply loved her friends.  She was fiercely loyal!  She was the "do-er"; always willing to lend a hand, give a ride, balance someone's checkbook, take you to a doctor's appointment, be good company - in good times or bad.
Mom = both A & B

My mom had the proverbial Venn-Diagram of friendship - not a simple circle as many of us have. She had her old friends, her new friends, her neighborhood friends - couples and singles .  Sadly, in the past few years since my wonderful Dad died, as is what happens when you live in South Florida  - you have lots more single lady friends than you started with..who all share a sad but common bond.  We should all be so blessed to have so many in our lives.

She simply loved planning her travel adventures:  cruises, Vegas, Biloxi, visits to the left coast to visit her kids and grandkids.  Even attending her local granddaughter's school events.  Always just back from or on the way to another adventure. 

My mom was most simply passionate about her love for her family and her grandchildren!  She always had photos of them or poorly printed copies  from her way-to-old-printer ready to show them off to anyone who was willing to look at them.  And the house - if I had to guess there had to be over 300 frames and collages adorning the hallways and countertops.  She simply loved them.  Forever and forever no matter what.

Who would have thought this would be the outcome of what was a mere blip on the radar screen of her life?

It was treatable.  It was beatable. I think for Mom, the hardest part was inactivity of it all--simply not her style.  It wasn't the illness, so much as the stillness that broke her.

With my Daddy, we had years of mental preparation that his death was eventual outcome of an over 20 year battle with two types of cancer.  And as hard and harrowing as that was for all of us, he was at peace with it.

With my Mommy, she went out literally kicking and screaming.  She was scared and for me, personally - that is the hardest part of all of this.  None of us - especially her - thought this was going to happen. 

When she couldn't fight it anymore, she waited for my brother and I to arrive from the West Coast as sisterbestfriend had been on vigil in those last hours around the clock.  And I know in some other-wordly way, she knew her children were together..and passed away. Finally at peace and pain free.

My Mom was what you'd call a black thumb.  She was known to kill even artificial plants.  In the backyard by the pool are a few orchids.  One of them I gave her years ago, that despite being completely ignored and neglected - would always bloom when I came to visit.  Mom would say "It knows you're here"  The other orchid was given to her when my Daddy passed away three years ago.  It hadn't bloomed since then.  Well, when I arrived in Florida on Valentine's Day (which would have been my Dad's 75th birthday) there was a flower spike coming out of that orchid.  And it had a few buds ready to go.  I took a picture of the flower spike and took it to the hospital to show Mom.  She said "It knows your here."  Two weeks later , the buds bloomed into delicate pinkish flowers. 

It knows your there, Mommy.

Could it have been a message from my Dad that everything was going to be okay?  That Mom wouldn't be in pain anymore?  That she could join him only days after what would have been their 54th wedding anniversary on what for sure is the biggest cruise of their lives? 

I don't know, I like to think so.

So days after the funeral and shivas, sisterbestfriends and I worked fast and furiously to clean out the house.  Now I walk around the place...staged for selling rather than furnished for living.  We turned her home into a house.  Ready for some other Grammy and Poppy to fill with their memories, their laughter and their tears.  No longer a home.  Just a house.

I love you Mom.  You finally hit the jack-pot.

Dedicated to Suzanne Keller 8/14/37 - 2/26/11


Rosemary Q said...

What a beautiful story of your mother and her love for her family. I remember when you wrote about your father and what a great dad he was to you. Thank you for sharing your parents legacy with us and for telling their story. said...

Goodbyes are so very sad but definitely not forever. She sounds like a wonderful, passionate mom. I hope that your sadness will be smothered by all the wonderful memories you've shared with her.

Unknown said...

Oh my. She sounds like just the kind of woman I want to be. What a wonderful example for you.

I hope this means something- I looked it up

Ha-Makom yenahem etkhem b'tokh sha ar aveilei Tzion vYerushalayim

Kevin McKeever said...

Oh, sweetie - I'm so sorry for your loss, but it sounds like she is going to be OK in the after as she was in the here and now. Welcome back.

MommaKiss said...

oh, love. sorry to hear you lost your mother. so sorry. kicking and screaming, though, that's a tough cookie. been thinking about ya.

Susan said...

Hugs to you...what a beautiful post for me to come back and visit to... What a beautiful post.