Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peace On the Way

I'm sitting by my mother's bedside.  I await the final hour.  Waiting for the holy men and holy women to welcome my mother to heaven.  The nurse has been and gone as has the CNA.  The priest has prayed and given her the Last Rites.  We prayed.  She's already somewhat at peace.  She's comfortable.  No pain that she's expressed.  Her end could come this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow.  That's information that heaven rarely shares.  
So why am I posting a blog entry?  I do not know.  I've thanked her for the life she worked and provided for me...for the opportunities...for the gift of imagination...for working two sometimes three jobs to keep a roof over our heads...for taking care of her family and my father.  She could have walked away.  At times growing up I wouldn't have blamed her.  She's a fighter.  She believes in the power of love and her life reflects that story.  She fought for her love story.  My mother leaves this world with, I think, few regrets.

I'm telling you about one smart lady.  At 17, she received not one, but three scholarships to universities, McGill in Montreal, one on Staten Island, and a local college.  She's fluent in Latin, French, and taught herself Russian (so she could read the protesters placards during the end of the Cold War.)  Mom read voraciously and wrote beautifully.  She couldn't leave her family, so she vied for the local option.  A job that lasted 45 years in pharmacy.  A community she loved.

It's truly a miracle we're here today.  You see, my mother should have professed and entered the convent.  A dear music teacher and nun took her under her wing when my grandfather passed.  This nun cared and nurtured her when my grief-stricken grandmother couldn't.  My mother would have made a fantastic nun.

As I sit beside her I'm not balling my eyes out anymore.  I'm remembering how she fought for me when the 8th grade elementary school teacher told her she should consider a less challenging high school for me due to my learning disability.  (I was graduated near the top of my high school class. Take that Sr. Mary Grace.) Mom always sported a manicure.  That day those manicured hands sprouted imaginary claws. You see, I always knew by the hands placed squarely on the hips of her 5-foot frame that things were going bad fast. She'd draw herself up and with the quietest voice tell whomever had stepped out of line (usually me; in this case, the teacher) where they had gone astray.

Mom, even to this very moment, held fashion in high esteem, sometimes to her own peril.  This lady wore stiletto heals with every outfit.  (I think she liked being tall in them).  That all stopped as she sprained both ankles trying to catch up with my long-legged father one night after church.  Yup, both sprained.  She stayed in bed for five days.  She switched to lower pumps, but I never saw her in an unmatched outfit.

Mom won't be waked.  She drilled into my head long ago that she didn't want anyone to see her with a make-up job she'd not done herself, which brings to mind her visit to Ft. Jackson, SC for my graduation from Army Basic Training.  We had a young female lieutenant who possessed both beauty and fashion sense. Mom befriended her, asked her why she wasn't working at a cosmetics house, and got her a job at Revlon. Whatever Mom wants, Mom gets.

So, I guess I'm telling you all this because the few stories I've shared with you make me smile...deepen my gratitude...show you the love she had for life...for people...for us.  She's comfortable now.  She'll know absolute peace soon. I've told her it's OK to go.  I'll manage.  As long as she's happy, I'm happy, but damn it I'm going to miss her.
"Love isn't love 'til you give it away."  She's done her job. 


  1. This is a beautiful tribute to your Mom...you are a good daughter. You are in my thoughts and prayers...a friend from the Bedlam Farm Group

  2. Such a beautiful post, and I send you thoughts and wishes for peace and beauty to surround you and your Mother. The memories are so wonderful.


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