My mom died this morning…95 years old. I was just there, left yesterday morning to come back to Florida. I’m so glad I saw her before she left us. She didn’t have an easy life and the final years were especially hard but I think she was at peace in the end. Hospice is so good and the people at Craneville Place, her nursing home, loved her and cared for her. I don’t know if she recognized us at the end. But when I left her she seemed peaceful and relaxed.
Still it’s hard. Incredible how hard it is. She certainly was ready to go, had wanted to go for years. She wasn’t happy and we all knew it was time. But it’s still so sad.
Funny the memories that come back. I’m laughing remembering a time I walked in from school and found her sitting at the kitchen table tying knots with pieces of rope. She had some book in front of her and kept checking it.
What are doing? I asked.
Learning to tie knots.
So I can teach you at Girl Scouts tomorrow.
And she did teach all the little girls how to tie square knots and slip knots and whatever the next day. She was a really good teacher.
And I remember when I was in high school. Our geometry teacher was just awful. She had no control (the class showed her no mercy) and she couldn’t explain anything. So we had no idea how to do the homework. I’d show up at home with a couple friends after school with our geometry books and we’d wail, “We can’t do it. It doesn’t make sense.” And mom would tell us to get a snack and watch the little kids (my brother and sister were toddlers) and she’d go into her bedroom and read the lesson and then, about ten minutes later, she’d come out, sit us down and explain what we needed to do and why. I think we were the only ones who’d have the geometry homework done those days.
She had a stroke quite a few years ago but the month before she had a stroke, she drove through a blizzard to my brother, John’s house in Richmond, Vermont, for the annual family gathering at Christmas. No cell phone, nothing…just mom on her own. Brave woman.
After she and dad were divorced, she started a business with a friend of hers…a home care business. When the red tape from Medicare got too annoying, she was ready to just walk away from the whole thing but I think it was her lawyer who convinced her to sell it instead. And she did and between that and her investments (she really understood the market unlike her daughter who has no clue) she’s never run out of money.
Seven children…can you imagine? That’s what good Catholics did back then. She wasn’t born Catholic. Her mom was Jewish and her dad was Lutheran but they hadn’t really gone to any church or synagogue. She got interested in the Catholic Church because she noticed, when she was in college, that the Catholic girls got up and went to Mass every Sunday no matter how late they had been up on Saturday night.
Five of the seven kids are in the Berkshires already. Only Eileen and I are left to go. We will most likely head up there tomorrow once the arrangements have been made. You can’t imagine how much I want to be with my brother and sisters right now…that common history, I guess.
Here are a few pictures I could find…Paula has some really good ones. I need to get copies of hers!