Our mother turned 98 on April 4th this year. On December 4th, she suffered a massive stroke, wiping out her left side, and her old self was gone forever. She was always an optimist. She always saw the best in everyone. She was the encourager, listener, and sweet. She had the heart of a lion however. She once crawled out on a semi-frozen river, on the fast moving current side, to rescue our family dog who had broken through. She slid out on her belly and somehow was able to drag out a nearly fifty pound cocker-collie mix. It had to be the guardian angels that aided her that day.
During WW2 she was actively involved in many things as most young women were at the time. They traveled everywhere by train with girlfriends, held jobs that today would require college degrees, and were strong, independent women. She met dad in 1939 but they didn't marry until 1946. They wrote letters all during the war; most of their courtship aided by the mailman. He died in 1971, and the date on their headstone will have to be cut out to be updated to 20--.
Mom wasn't cranky. She was positive and giving to her three children. Each of her eight grand kids were treated special when they spent the night with her. Each had their favorite food served on Saturday morning, in front of the tv, cartoons galore. One loved mush, another like egg sandwiches cut into fours. My daughter sat on the kitchen counter as her Gram made french crepes, just for her. She will have ten great grands by August. They all call her GG.
These days mom is in the nursing home, and once in a blue moon will recognize us. Mostly she's quiet, but some days she talks about bits and pieces of things that her mind can latch onto. It doesn't make much sense. But...she can still get the ornery look on her face, and laugh. We just don't know what it's about.
Mom kept her opinions to herself for the most part. We all made mistakes along the way. We're all in our sixties now, so ups and downs have happened in our lives. She would have to be really overwrought if she did speak up. Darn if she wasn't right most of the time. Why we didn't listen to her as she gently tried to help us see things another way, I don't know. She never said I told you so. She didn't have to be right...she just wanted us happy.
I find her face sometimes when I look into the mirror. I will say, "oh fiddle" and other mom isms. I smile when I drive, and keep one on my face when out in public. This is how she lived. I miss sharing a mug of hot tea, and discussing a new novel with her. We made lemon pie together several times a year, and both liked it tart. She's still here, but she isn't.
The clock is ticking. I'm so grateful though to have been able to be drawn closer to her since December. I had just asked God to help me get closer to her again...never knowing this would be the way to do so. It's been a gift and a cross at the same time. My brothers feel the same. She wanted us all to be closer again, and her illness has done that. In essence, I guess, every one's prayers have been answered.