I’ve not written in a month. We just returned from a wonderful vacation trip to Alaska and I promised Nita that I’d leave my laptop at home and just be a tourist. It was a good idea, even if I immediately became a bit “twitchy.” Happily, as the days of sightseeing and animal-watching flowed along, I got better. Maybe it was the micro-breweries we kept discovering.
Nonetheless, as soon as we walked over our threshold two nights ago, I made a bee-line for Recliner #7 and the laptop. I can’t say the keyboard sang under the touch of my fingers, but it was a nice moment.
Today is another story, though. I’m sitting in a hospice hospital room with my 91-year-old mom, who is a cancer victim. Her life story, not a short story, but a cheerful novel of family, tight budgets, music, books and travel is well into its final chapter, and likely close to the last paragraph. I’ve found that endings to wonderful books often bring on tears and leave me a bit melancholy. I’m grateful for having experienced the author’s story, sad it’s over, but I understand that every tale well-told and life well-lived has to reach an end.
We’re not immortal, wouldn’t want to be. I love my mother dearly, and I’m grateful for her long life, and blessed to be able to share her last days or weeks. But like I just wrote, endings are sad, regardless of faith and a loving family.
All Mama’s grandkids are coming in this weekend. The doc says there should be some hours of clarity where she can squeeze young hands and pat cheeks and they can give her hugs.
I expect I’ll write more about Mama later, but suffice to say now that she was a sixteen-year-old bride of World War II. She rode a bus from Houston to Knoxville, Kentucky to marry my soldier dad before he shipped out for England in 1942. Mama won’t tell this story, but Pop has sworn that their second night together after the wedding ceremony in the chaplain’s living room was spent under blankets in the chaplain’s yard, since not a room was to be had.
Here’s a photo of Mama and her great-grandson Jackson last October at our local library’s Authors Night Event where I was one of the featured writers. That was a highlight for me to share with Mama since she’s the one who hooked me on books and reading at a very tender age. And Jackson’s big sloppy smile had to warm Mama’s heart.
I intend to dive back into the 1800’s any day now and wrap up the Defiant Honor story of John McBee and Faith and Levi and the others. But for right now, Betty Lou--Mama--has my attention and I need to hold her hand and stroke her cheek, for my sake, as well as hers.
By the way, hospice hospitals are absolutely wonderful.