It is with great sadness that I share the news of my mother’s passing on October 5th, two days before my husband and I planned to visit her. She was so excited for the visit and we talked each day about what we’d eat, what we could bring her, and how she looked forward to seeing Henry, our rescue dog. She even had a special cake planned for my birthday.
As the child of an aging parent there is such a fine line between keeping them safe and stripping them of their independence. At almost 92, Mom had come to terms with a lot of things, but she insisted she was never leaving the family home. It was not a welcome subject and my siblings and I tried, but she was feisty and resolute. She had wonderful friends and neighbors who helped her, brought meals, bought groceries, and spent time with her. Mom and a very good friend watched Jeopardy every night, and heaven forbid if you called when the show was on!
The last time I spoke with her, I told her I was taking Henry to the vet for his yearly exam later that morning, reminded her I bought olive oil and planned to mix up a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip raisin cookies I thought she’d like. Then I said goodbye and closed with our usual “I love you”. When the phone call came at 6:00 p.m. from Mom’s friend, I really thought it was a request for something else… Of all the ways and times I’d dreaded and anticipated the call, I didn’t see this one coming.
Mom passed away peacefully at the kitchen table as though she were sleeping. I know if she could have waited to see me, she would have, but God had other plans. Mom believed very strongly in the power of prayer and her faith guided her through life as she faced difficult circumstances, loss, and ultimately, God was with her as she left this world. I found a sticky note on the inside of her address book that read, “When I Must Leave You by Helen Steiner Rice.” I’d never read this poem before but it’s so beautiful and I know Mom meant for us to find it. (The real question remains if she stuck it there ten days before or ten years before!) We all miss her, but are so grateful that she died in peace, on her own terms, and is now in heaven watching over us. There has been such an outpouring of support and compassion for this special woman who touched so many lives and left us all with stories to tell, recipes to share, and the unwavering belief that kindness, generosity, and hope will guide us on our journey through this life.
We love you, Mom!