Calm amidst the Chaos
The one fault I would say about my Mom was that she would give in too easy. Rarely would my Mother try to stop any of the children from doing what they want. Unfortunately that pressure from all of us took a toll on her. She had multiple sclerosis, and became frail as she got older. For her, I know my Mother enjoyed growing old taking care of her grandchildren. As much as she was a pushover, she was more than willing to provide Mom's taxi, and drive us where ever we needed.
My Mom was old fashioned in the role of the wife. She was always content with her routines taking care of chores. On the other hand my Mother was very active and involved in many aspects of the community. She was politically active, and involved in the arts. The most important thing I wanted my Mom to know near the end was that she had fulfilled her role as a successful Mother, being able to see her three children all grow up healthy and well adjusted.
I Still Hear Her Nagging
Thanks to my Mom's incessant upbringing, I always clean up after myself, have a sense of decency, know how to do my laundry and dishes, and know the importance of being polite to others. One distinct trait of my Mom that will endure is her sing-song personality. She would create an atmosphere of playfullness by making up songs, or just whistling along while driving or toiling about the house. I credit part of my ability to write music in my head from the constant musical perspective I had when around her.
I had a few good long conversations recently with my Mother. I reminded her of all the trips to art class when I was in preschool, and later the weekly drive to the piano teacher. I reminded her how she went beyond a reasonable effort when she continued to drive the 90 minute round trip to the same piano teacher after we moved to Green Bay. She cared enough to make sure I had the best quality upbringing, willing to sacrifice her own time for me in that way. She soon had found a suitable piano teacher in Green Bay, but I will never forget her efforts like that for me. She never complained. She always gave in.
Always a Mom
It made me happy when we connected recently to know my Mother was at peace with her life. She was happy living in beautiful New Mexico, teaching young Girl Scouts and helping out with her grand-daughter's child. It is amazing how she had survived, not only after the undue stress of unruly children, including having to deal with police. But also surviving a least two severe car accidents. Still, my parents have enjoyed traveling around the world in their later years. A well deserved retirement (or at least as close to a retirement my workaholic Father can handle).
The Final Healing
I am glad she is no longer suffering from the ailments that were taking over as she grew more frail. I drove down to New Mexico to visit her last Christmas. It was an important chance for both of us to feel like a family together while she was still relatively healthy. Between that last visit and the healing conversations about the turbulent years bringing the children up, I knew we were at peace, with no misgivings, and plenty of opportunities to express our love.
The Spirit Lives On
I dearly wish she was healthy enough to stay around longer, we recently had conversations about our concerns with Donald Trump. It resembled the many passioned concerns we had about George W. Bush and the damage he did to our country. She should know that although her voice is gone, my voice is still strong and will carry on her efforts. I want to believe she is carrying on in spirit the same passions she had in life.