Mom and Joe
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Mom at Age 18



[1934] One night, Mom called for me so frequently, I’d not slept for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. Every cell in my body ached for rest as I heard her call yet again. I considered not moving, not answering. Mom had probably only misplaced something among the bed clothes again, and who would know but she and me if I ignored her.

Exhausted and mightily resentful, I plastered on a fake smile as I dragged myself toward her room. Then, something I can only call magical happened. As I walked into Mom’s room my phony smile, with no effort or intention, became real, my pain and weariness evaporated and I felt genuine pleasure at being able to help Mom in this most extreme circumstance anyone ever faces. I can take no credit for the change; it arrived unbidden, an unearned grace.

I sat on a low stool by Mom’s bed that night and we talked for a long time, an hour or two. Not about anything important. No summings up. No grand philosophies about life and death. Just stuff.


ibanda @ 2003-11-18 said:
I know of course the death of any parent is difficult, but somehow I feel your Mom’s death hit you harder than you expected. I wish I had had the chance to talk as you did - just stuff...

mrsdeen @ 2003-11-18 said:
Thank you for sharing this deeply personal moment with us. It makes me reflect on my father’s death last year and shed some tears over what we didn’t get to share in those final moments...

pellegrini @ 2003-11-18 said:
I love those very old pictures really too much!

grimp @ 2003-11-20 said:
Old pictures are like treasures to unearth. They are wonderful.


OK, that just made me cry. A lot. Thinking ahead to the day when I realise that *my* Mum isn't going to be there for me much longer... and hoping that I remember to honour the chance to comfort her, rather than resent the interruption.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to not leave things as they were with our mothers.

Oh, heart! You couldn't have expressed that better Ronni. What an exquisite moment. Thank You!

Thanks for this. I was able to say goodbye to my father in just that way...we hospiced him at home and spent lots of time talking about "stuff"...I mostly listened.

With my mom, who was the year before, it was more like the other part of your story - swinging between how tired and cranky I felt, the guilt over feeling that way, and the occasional flashes of what a gift it was to be of service.

The last chat with my mom in hospice was priceless. Though she knew she was in the hospital, she quite sure she was there to have a baby. She loved it when we were babies. She had not been that happy in years.

The topper was that since I was wearing a sweatshirt with a big "K" on it, she thought I was my younger brother Kevin, and decided to fix "Kevin" up with the cute female nurse (who got a kick out of it, too). We promised her we'd go out for a cup of coffee to see if we hit it off. You would have thought from her smile that she'd negotiated the Treaty of Versailles.

Now that was a note worth leaving on.

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