Oh, Mom, I wonder where you are today, you who believed so strongly in the hereafter? I come from a long-lived family: most of my relatives lived into their nineties, and my mother was no exception, living to 91. Last fall we had our annual family reunion in Lake Tahoe where my sister, Judy, cared for our mother. Dad passed away several years ago, also at age 91. Each year we would assemble, thinking it would be the last time we were all together, but mom held on, shrinking, and sitting in her calm state of uncomprehending.
I would travel down from Alaska, sit and hold her hand while she slept or gazed absently at the television. Judy was a saint to care for her these past five years. I could never repay the debt of gratitude to her.
My Aunt Lenessa, father's sister, took a photo of her grandmother Taylor's hands. It was the greatest photo and hangs on my wall. My cousin tells me it won a contest, but to me it tells the story of a lifetime. Great Grandma Taylor is peeling potatoes at age 91. So, as a gazed at my mother resting peacefully after a lifetime of raising six children and many grandchildren, I see the story of her life of work in her hands, still wearing her wedding ring. I sat down beside her and held her hand for an hour. She gripped it tightly, not wanting to let go, but unable to communicate otherwise with her first son.
It would be the last time I saw her; I thought it might be, but I had been wrong before. A year before, hospice was called; they took away her medicine and watched her actually improve for several months before finally going home. She lived another year. And here at the reunion all around, her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren played, ate, visited, and loved each other in the great chain of being. On the shores of Lake Tahoe, Judy made a toast to Mom, and to her progeny as the sun set on the day...
and on her life. Even though she lived a full rich life, we all think of her every day and miss her and love her with all our hearts.