There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die…
Yesterday, my sister drove to the small retirement village where my mother lived, and parked outside her apartment. The person who moved into my mother’s place has displayed an American flag vertically on the porch. My mother was so patriotic and loved the flag. Her spirit soared throughout the little village she once called home, and my sister sobbed and prayed.
When Becky texted me the picture, it carved me up inside right down to my guts and bones. I turned off my computer and went home, but I wanted to drive to my mother’s apartment and rip down that flag. She would have loved it, but she did not put it there. Who squatted on her place? I wanted to tear through the front door like that picture tore through me and kick the stranger out and make my mother safe again.
I saved my mother so many times. My daughter Juliette, also. We always saved her, and she was so brave. Over the years, there were so many ambulance rides. So many needles and oxygen masks; pumps and surgical knives; frightening, sterile procedures. There would not be one more. Just a crematory to burn my mother’s body and crush her bones.
God forsaken crematory crushed me, too.
It has been nearly 10 months since I received that devastating call. It was the morning of Christmas Eve and I was getting Sullivan and Bridgette ready to go see Santa at Bass Pro. When I heard the phone ring I became instantly worried. It was Juliette on the caller ID. She never called that early, and although I held my breath and hoped it was nothing, I knew in my heart something was wrong. When I said hello, all I heard was a wounded animal, confused and crying, and I knew my mother was gone.
Next month, young Willow will arrive. Juliette will be a mother, and I will enter the chapter in life that brought my own mother the greatest peace and joy: Grandparenthood.
Here are my children at my sister’s house for Juliette’s baby shower. Thank you, Mom, for the courage you had to stay here so long. I hope I can be courageous for the new baby. I miss you, Mom, and I love you forever.