Monday, April 15, 2013

M -- My Mother

As with most people, my mother was a huge part of my life. She passed away last summer from a hemorrhagic stroke. She was still living alone at the age of 84 and it was just lucky that I found her that morning, collapsed on the bathroom floor. She was still alive but blood was coming from her mouth and I could hear the death rattle. I immediately called 911 and the ambulance was there very quickly. Because of her small apartment they had to load her onto a sheet and carry her out.

By the time I caught up with her at the hospital she was on life support. After a quick chat with the ER doctor I had them remove the life support. Mum and I had had the end-of-life talk and so I knew her wishes. The hospital chaplain called our minister. The minister arrived shortly after Mum passed. He was clearly shaken by her loss. We had a short prayer over her, I told the hospital who would be handling her remains, and a friend took me to lunch to make sure I would eat.

The next few weeks were a blur as I had to pack up and get moved out of her apartment, fill out all sorts of paperwork, and plan the memorial service. The day after the memorial service two friends and I took her ashes into the mountains and set her free in her favorite mountain valley when it was at the peak of the aspen trees autumn gold.

Mum and I had had a sometimes tumultuous relationship, but we ultimately became very close as both mother and daughter and as friends.

The last photo of Mum as I was explaining why my camera did not need film.
She, too, had dreamed of being a writer. She never pushed these dreams on me -- for the most part. I had made my own choice to become a writer without knowing that she had wanted to write. I eventually discovered a stash of books that she had kept from a writing correspondence course she had once taken. While she supported my desire to write, my father did his best to tear it down. Small wonder they ended up divorced.

Over the years Mum became my biggest fan. At one point she absolutely insisted that I enter a poetry contest. I won first place. That was the beginning of my winning many, many poetry awards and pushing myself to learn how to write more poetry forms, from Senyru to Tanka, and Sonnets to Villanelles. Mum also wrote poetry and won numerous awards as well.

Last year, just a few months before she passed, I gave her a copy of the first draft of my first novel. She was so excited by the volume and loved it. I still have to live up to Mum's final request of me -- to make sure the book gets published.

I'm working on it, Mummy! I promised you and I will keep that promise.

There is one other book I will be working on for her. She passed away in the midst of writing a book about growing up during the Great Depression. I want to take what she has written and complete it for her as a thank you for passing the torch of the writing dream to me.

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