My mom passed away yesterday at the age of 80.
Throughout her lifetime she celebrated countless ‘rites of passage’ in her life.
For me this is one of those ‘rites of passage’ that is not celebrated, just like when Dad passed away in 2010.
My parents were divorced when my siblings and I were very young and in an age when divorce was not acceptable. Our years growing up were difficult in many ways, so much of it related to the turmoil caused by the breakup of my parents’ marriage.
As children should, I loved, and still love and miss, my parents dearly. There were times, however, when I was not close to them.
Then my husband and I married.
And the grandkids came along.
And we started farming.
Family gatherings were initiated, and my parents even put aside their issues and joined their children and grandchildren on our farm. Not just for holidays either.
One of my favorite memories happened sometime in a seven-year period when we rented an old farm. There was a large stock pond with a wonderful variety of bluegill, catfish and bass. My dad would come out to visit, and he and my husband and the kids would fish. Here’s a photo of Dad and my husband after a successful fishing expedition. Dad had to shoot it so they could land it. That cat fed us for several meals. (In truth, every fishing expedition was successful thanks to the bounty in the pond.)
My mom started dealing with health issues when my kids were young. So my hubby and I helped her in ways we could. For several years she was ‘house mother’ to girls in a dorm on a local college campus. I’d found the ad for the job, and she was a natural. That was one of her favorite times in life. Then when she needed a little more help, we found the perfect little home for her (close to us) and moved her. When we took the plunge and bought our own farm, we moved Mom to a prime spot on our farm. She always loved being close to the grandkids.
My husband and I have enjoyed watching our kids grow into marvelous adults.
Our daughter is artistic and a talented cook like her grandmother.
Our son is military and gregarious like his father and grandfather.
And my favorite ‘rite of passage’ to date is that we now have precious grandchildren.
I’m so grateful for the years we all had with my parents. While my family was splintered as I grew up, ‘family’ became the most important virtue in all of our lives, as adults, because my parents were willing to make a better future for their grandkids.
(Just a sidenote – my husband’s side of the family was large and so we fit in easily.)
In the past two years as I’ve watched my mother’s health and strength falter, I ‘remembered’ with her – lots of times and events from the past – so she would know how much I treasured our memories. Even though we had this time to prepare for the day we’d have to say goodbye, I wasn’t prepared. I will never be prepared.