Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Today would have been my mom's 87th birthday. She died just 8 days after her 86th, and I was blessed to have the spent her last birthday with her. Mom and I went out to breakfast at one of her favorite restaurants in Lititz, PA. It was her last meal out. My husband and I went into Manheim on January 5th and spent 5 days with her before heading back to Pittsburgh on the 10th. On the morning of January 12th, I received the phone call that she was found in her bed, unconscious, and was on her way to the hospital. She died 3 mornings later.
While we were in Manheim, we played quite a few hands of competitive Pinochle (over 20, if I remember correctly). Mom kept score and won more than her share of hands. She was sharp. Other than fatigue and hip, back, and knee pain, she was doing well. Widowed twice, Mom lived alone in the house I grew up in. A chair lift transported her between floors and she did okay.
Her death was a complete surprise.
We never know how long we have on this earth. We sometimes take life -- ours and others -- for granted. My adult children often said, "Grandma is never going to die," and somewhere inside them, I think they believed that. After all, losing her was unimaginable.
When is the last time you talked to your folks? If they're still alive, I encourage you to pick up the phone and give them a call. Better yet, arrange for a visit (in the not too distant future). The best gift you can give them is time with them. Don't wait until it's too late. Don't wait until there will be nothing left but memories and regrets.
I am beyond thankful I spent those 5 days with her last January, although I regret daily that I didn't make the trip more often. Sure, it was 240 miles one way. Sure, it was a bit costly, with the rising price of gasoline and PA Turnpike tolls. Sure, it was difficult to get away from work sometimes. But I'd give almost anything to make that trip again... to walk in the front door of our home on Oak Street, cross the living room, and lean down and hug her as she sat on her light blue couch watching a Hallmark movie or one of her favorite shows. Anything. Do you hear me?
Make the call. Make the trip. Do it for Mom, in honor of her birthday.