The online version of Webster says dignity is “The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect.”
I’ve been toying with the idea of whether I wanted – nay, had the courage – to write about my mother’s journey to the future. I like to think of it in this manner, because we don’t know what happens after we pass from here or what it will look like. Most of us, or at least I do, believe I will see my mom again, as well as her partners in crime. Indeed, I sometimes feel her presence even though I can’t see her. I also believe in angels and spirit guides and that there are levels to our journeying.
My mother passed away from “CHF due to Diabetic complications”. That’s what the report states anyway. Her heart stopped and not a minute before scheduled. I can say that because in some ways my mother was fragile, but when it came to controlling her life, she lived the words “I say who, I say when, I say…”
My mother was not expected to live through infancy. Indeed, my grandmother sent her to Canada to stay with relatives during the flu epidemic of 1918.
When she was a young girl she came down with Strep, which lead to rheumatic fever and again her mother was told she might not make it. She was also told that because of her weakened heart, her daughter couldn’t climb trees, run or jump rope. My mother did did them all. In fact, her mother finally put jeans on her in the days of little girls only wearing pretty dresses, really because of her defiant actions of hanging upside down in trees. But the party line was that after she fell climbing a tree and broke her collarbone, my grandmother threw in the towel and put pants on her explaining that if she were going to behave like a little boy, she should wear pants. While her life obviously was not shortened by these excursions, I’m surprised it didn’t shorten her mother’s! (Later in life, when she was married with children, folks still didn’t question who wore the pants in the family. At least not to her face!)
The year after my father died she was diagnosed with diabetes and was given no more than 10 years to live, and not especially good ones. She was admonished to make arrangements for someone to take care of her little girl. She lived another 30 and by most accounts they were good til the last few.
As my mother’s earthly journey was nearing an end, she grew very tired. Tired of the pain. Tired of fighting the inevitable. Tired of waiting to be reunited with “Johnny”. Tired of watching us watch her be tired. So she told her doctor no more medicine. “Ella,” he told her, “you’ll be gone in 24 hours if you stop taking this.” “Good,” she said.
She was some pissed off when she lasted another eight weeks.
“I say when, I say who, I say…” God (They always were at odds with each other, but that tug-of-war is the stuff of future posts.