A Mother’s Day To Remember!

 

My Mom and Dad had lived out their first 35 years residing in northern Minnesota… Iron Range country. Following their nuptials in the waning days of August 1948, their honeymoon route to their Michigan destination had spanned approximately 1288km (800mi). However, their long drive wasn’t entirely romantic, it involved an economically time sensitive issue, too. You see, at their journey’s end, the public school bells would soon be ringing… and a newly opened, teaching position already awaited Dad.

Both of my folks had wound up waving good-bye to parents, siblings, dear friends and old haunts. I do believe Dad had made the emotional adjustment far easier… or perhaps he had just been too overworked and under-appreciated by his new superintendent / boss to notice the social vacuum? As for Mom? Basing my observations upon my own first hand experiences, I can wholeheartedly attest to the fact that the mindlessness and drudgery associated with domestic duties usually leaves one far too many opportunities to ruminate and regret.

The sad situation… was (still is) how… from time immemorial… society has devalued teachers. Even when, prior to her first pregnancy, Mom had briefly taught in the same school system as her husband, their combined incomes still meant too little money to pay for what they deemed to be life’s “luxuries”. For example, they simply could not justify the cost of attending far away, family reunions. Hell, they even considered placing a long distance phone call to be living high off the hog. That fully explains why Mom and her family got in the habit of mailing letters to each other at least twice per month… with postage being only 4 cents it was the best way of staying in touch.

Sadder yet… is how such lifelong, monetary woes do tend to chronically persist… even in death. My folks’ need to economize had established a whole new meaning to the wedding vow, “till death do us part”. My Mom and Dad wound up interred in two separate, many miles apart, Minnesota family plots.

The saddest part of all… Since my three decades long retail “career” (sales / management) never had drawn the big bucks… at present… I, too, have experienced, first hand, the need for a barebones, belt tightening budget. To e.g. this further…

It’s now been 30 years since Dad passed on and 15 years since Mom died. And throughout this entire time, I’ve yet to justify taking on the added expense of traveling to pay my gravesite respects.

Of course, I’ve tried to be philosophical about it all. My consolation? Well…

The the light years immensity of our intergalactic universe, in comparison to the insignificance of that interstate distance of 1288km, will likely go unnoticed whenever I’m paying my respects to my folks from afar. To add a bit more spin, should not such remembrances prioritize the warm, qualitative feelings over the cold, quantitative statistics?

And… speaking of qualitative…

Because the very first Mother’s Day following my Mom’s passing on had occurred on Sunday, May 11, 2003, I was feeling strongly motivated on Friday, May 11, 2018 to pay my long distance respects. So, I opted to extend my morning constitutional… to power walk towards the very finest parkland my lifelong hometown has to offer… and I kid you not… it’s located right next-door to the cemetery.

For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with my past posts, to give you some sense of the splendor of this nature reserve, let me offer up this brief illustrative passage as it appeared in my April 18, 2016 blog, titled: A Sliver of Sunlight…

Though my words won’t do it full justice… we’re talking about 50 acres of rolling terrain, wetlands, nature trails and the calming “white noise” generated by a long winding river. This is the home turf for a diverse ecosystem of flora and fauna… this serenity beckoning all free spirits to… wander beneath towering pines, elms, oaks and maples… traipse through fields of clover… behold a vast variety of wild flowers and groundskeeper planted perennials… hear the buzz of bees… the honks of geese and quacks of ducks… the birdcalls of sparrows, robins and countless other feathered species… eyewitness the occasional visiting deer, foxes and waddling woodchucks.

While some of you might call me spiritual… others could easily dismiss me as delusional. But, as far as I’m concerned, this park is akin to a mystical land where, on several occasions, I’ve experienced some of life’s “Oh Wow” moments.

I even interpret such events to have been my late Mother’s way of communing with me. It’s not just that these events DO occur, it’s how they all require such perfect astronomical and meteorological alignment and timing. These phenomena cannot possibly be mere happenstance. Allow me to relate my most recent experience…

My arrival had occurred twenty minutes into this past Friday’s sixth hour. Since the overnight overcast skies had persisted into the dawn, with no dew on the ground, I had found the conditions favorable for wandering throughout the park-grounds. Shortly before 7 a.m., just as I sat down on my favorite bench and had begun communing with Mom… just as I was facing northward and overlooking the river’s small waterfall… out of the corner of my left eye, all the sudden, I had noticed the pervasive, dismal, grey funk suddenly lightening and brightening up. I glanced westward and upward at precisely the right moment to behold a few stray sunbeams… notice how they had penetrated a very slender break in the cloud deck and woven just enough of their gleaming light to illuminate the treetops… just the treetops. And then?

Within sixty seconds of this light show’s onset, it had ended. Pivoting to quickly face the eastern skies, the thick grey clouded curtains had already closed, which confirmed no encore would be forthcoming. But… at the risk of repeating myself I now remind…

Should not such remembrances prioritize the warm, qualitative feelings over the cold, quantitative statistics?

And, I certainly could feel the warmth of my Mom’s love, everlasting, interwoven within those sunbeams. Most assuredly, this had been a Mother’s Day to remember!

 

 

Advertisements

Guest Blogger: My Late Father, George

 

On this day, 29 years ago, my father died at dawn. For 37 years, he had been the consummate educator… delivering his Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Mathematics lectures to two generations of teenage students residing in Minnesota and Michigan.

As a sophomore and junior I had answered, “Here” during each of Dad’s Monday – Friday morning role calls… as a senior I had been his lab assistant. Of course, I had also benefited from his home schooling, which encompassed life’s lessons.

As most of us know, historically, public school teachers have been underpaid and under-appreciated. So, to supplement his meager income, Dad expanded his lecture circuit… his byline appearing beneath our weekly, local newspaper’s front page column: “The Science Corner”.

Had Dad been born a bit later and lived longer than his 75 years, I’m positive he’d now be an enthusiastic blogger… perhaps even setting up his “lectern” right here @WordPress. I know he’d be thrilled by the prospects of his wisdom and wit spreading outward… at the speed of light… to all four corners of the Earth.

Keeping all the above in mind and with my saved and cherished, time-yellowed, brittle, actual hard copy newspaper propped up before me, I’ve decided to transcribe one of Dad’s lectures. And since 23 of my 46 chromosomes are my father’s… in a sense… 5 of my 10 fingers are his as I… no strike that… as we both… type it out.

I cannot think of a more fitting way to honor my father this day… than to afford him a bit of Internet immortality… resurrect his thoughts… restore his “voice”…  allow him to mind-meld with countless other minds, anew.

 

The Science Corner

DATELINE Thursday, July 2, 1953

 

The age old question – which was first, the chicken or the egg – has been used as a debate-ender, a counter dilemma, and even as a joke. If one discounts the dissertations of the debaters and philosophers and the quips of the comedians and truly strives for a scientific answer, then both the meaning and answer become crystal clear.

All living things, both plants and animals, are made up of tiny bits of protoplasm (living matter which looks very much like raw eggwhite). These bits of protoplasm are called cells. In animals, including the chicken, there are skin cells, muscle cells, bone cells, sperm cells and egg cells – to name just a few. All of the types of cells mentioned above except sperm and egg cells are ordinary body cells and are called somatic cells. The sperm and egg cells (collectively called germ cells) differ from the somatic cells in that the former are used to perpetuate life.

When a sperm cell unites with an egg cell, fertilization takes place. All cells, including new somatic cells and new sperm or egg cells, originate from the fertilized egg cell through processes of division and differentiation. In keeping with these principles, both the new chicken (somatic cells) and all of the eggs (germ cells) that the new chicken will ever lay come from the same egg. To put it still another way, the fertilized egg produces both the body cells which will make up the new chicken and all of the new eggs which the new chicken will lay during its lifetime.

The answer, then, to the original question is: the egg must have been first, because it came necessarily from the previous egg and not from the new chicken.

This concept, first enunciated by the German biologist – August Weismann, is known as the continuity of germplasm theory. According to this concept, the germ cells are immortal if reproduction takes place.

Next Week: Why Does Smoke Rise in a Chimney?

 

 

The “I” of Life’s Storm

 

Preface: For the past twelve years, I’ve called four social network communities home… have befriended countless bloggers who’ve frequently expressed their dissatisfaction with life… two of them at the point of wanting to end their own lives. In both instances, we, their friends/followers, had hopefully, permanently, comment box counseled them into changing their minds; persuaded them to choose life. Even so, I’ve oft wondered about the (not so) strong silent types, who’ve never blogged their cries for help.

If you are someone who is suicidal, know that help is always available. Crisis Center telephone numbers, worldwide, can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

I’m also presenting the following, hopefully helpful, “real feel” fiction. Written in the more gender neutral, first person singular, this might facilitate everyone seeing life through my protagonist’s eyes?

Of course it’d be far too easy to misconstrue the “I” word to be referring to me, so let me emphasize that it’s my main character who is suicidal. That said…

Let our (your?) story begin…

Part One

Preface: My warmest wishes and welcome to all on this brand new day. I’ve committed my story to this word document in the weeks leading up to my demise. So sorry my tripping down memory lane must start off on a rocky road but trust me, there’ll be several unexpected detours before story’s end. That said…

Throughout most of my life, I was assaulted in various ways. Childhood’s playground bullies mercilessly, verbally punched me out. Adolescent skin problems “punched” me in the face. Adulthood’s workplace time clocks punched me out, too, by enslaving me; emotionally shackling me to non-union, non-living wage, life sucking, dead end jobs; my labors being absolutely alien to my more creative talents.

Not the best way to get into a “I love life”, “let’s party hearty” mood, eh?

Indeed, each post-workday “happy hour” involved crying in my beer. Misery loves company they say? Don’t count on it! In fact, many a time I drank alone; sometimes to excess. Although I had escaped alcoholism, chronic depression did set in. Eventually, a suicidal death seemed to be the perfect gift for the person who, at first glance, seemed to have nothing.

It had been on the day just prior to what might’ve been my last day on Earth, when I got the opportunity to take a second glance. It had been my own mother, who had, unknowingly, come to my rescue.

On that pleasantly sunny, summery, late August afternoon, she had phoned me; asked me to stop by the old homestead to help my father complete some much needed, routine household maintenance. Needless to say, I’d do anything to help my folks. And I’d be totally competent, too, since my handyman dad had successfully taught me all he knew.

Fortunately, it had taken several hours to complete these mundane tasks, for it was while we chatted, at times even reminisced, where something far more meaningful had occurred; my realization that I could never abandon my aged and ailing folks. Suicide averted postponed.

However, it was many years after my folks had passed away when I began to suspect that helping them had been my only purpose in life; discovered that my having been selfless to a fault was at fault; had played a significant role in creating my self-destructive state of mind.

You see, while being their caregiver, I had neglected to take care of myself; had let life’s parade truly pass me by. Family, friends and old co-worker contacts were long gone. Worst of all, I hadn’t paid enough attention to a potential soul mate; thereby squandering my last chance for love, marriage and parenthood?

Topping my list of worsts, this time around, there could be no eleventh hour communing with my parents to snap me out of my deep blue funk. Or could there?

Part Two

On yet another pleasantly sunny, summery, late August afternoon, I found myself, once more, plotting my own death. However, it was while tying up many of life’s loose ends (in particular, loading up the recycling bin for the very last time), when I just happened to pick up a still unread, three-month-old newspaper. Despite the fine layer of dust, a front-page story headline instantly grabbed my attention.

The reportage focused on a suicidal person who had had an “exit Earth” MO eerily similar to mine; that troubled soul winding up a paraplegic who retained just enough awareness to realize the old reality had been far better than that new, bedridden alternate reality.

Stunningly, that story had not ended there. That newspaper had a very specific dateline; none other than the anniversary of my late mother’s birth! In jaw dropping disbelief I realized that, once again, my mom, even in death, had, somehow, found a way to save my life.

Knowing I always did my best thinking while traipsing through wilderness settings, in the weeks ahead, I set forth on many sunrise, Sunday nature walks. With autumn rapidly approaching, I eventually revisited my favorite park; where a recent springtime windstorm had toppled a centuries old oak tree.

While seated on a nearby bench, listening to the white noise of a babbling stream and the off in the distance church bells ringing, I marveled at the persistence of life. In barely two Earthly seasons, this once mighty, towering oak’s still viable root system had transformed that massive stump into a densely leaved shrub. If a mindless tree wanted to live why shouldn’t I?

Turned out someone else shared similar feelings.

Part Three

“That oak just won’t give up,” the approaching, cheerful sounding voice first stated and then asked, “OK if I join you?” Looking up, I replied with my smile and vertical nod. We quickly exchanged introductions and other pleasantries; eventually conversing as if we’d been lifelong friends.

Was it just my imagination or was love at first sight, maybe even love eternal, in the air? Were my feelings mutual or destined to be unrequited; nothing but wishful thinking? Well, it didn’t take long to find out. One year later, with that surviving oak’s lush foliage providing Mother Nature’s backdrop, we were exchanging our out-of-doors “I dos.”

Within that short span of time, my spouse’s circle of friends had become my own; two of them proving to be valuable literary contacts; folks who could and did transform my ages old writing career fantasy into my new reality. Indeed, this freelancer’s essays were getting published, regularly, in a slew of e-mags and in print periodicals.

Before we celebrated our third wedding anniversary we had, twice, become parents. What a joy it has been to eyewitness our own combined, microscopic DNA manifesting itself in macroscopic ways; allowing us to observe all the developmental stages of our children’s lives; their imaginative, carefree, pre-school playtime; their scholastic and extracurricular successes; their career triumphs; their seeking and finding soul mates, falling in love, marrying and starting families of their own.

On yet another pleasantly sunny, summery, late August afternoon (now decades later), I realized how the thinning calendar was analogous to autumn rapidly closing in on my own life.

Part Four

While gazing out our bedroom window, with the sun sinking beneath the horizon, I considered how we all start out restricted to the confines of the womb and our eventual cribs; how (if all is well) our first baby steps, in time, become steady enough to take us wherever we choose to go. Naturally, life’s circle inevitably winds up closing in on itself. First we’re limited to sticking around in our hometowns. Next we stop venturing past our neighborhoods and yards. Towards the end we become shut-ins rarely leaving our hospital / hospice guard railed beds; those, which so closely resemble our days of yore barred cribs. At the very end our remains/cremains wind up in our tombs. As for our souls? Well, what we believe or choose not to believe is left up to each individual.

And, indeed, with old age asserting itself, my final days were now closing in. Just as with newborns, my sleeping hours were beginning to far outnumber my wakeful moments. At that juncture I could no longer be seated at my computer keyboard. I’d have little choice but to merely envision how my final moments of life would be playing out.

I did ask my spouse to read my story after I had died; to comment on, and edit these final paragraphs wherever necessary; i.e., to tell you all how close my predictions (which now follow) were to the actual occurrences.

Spouse’s Commentary: In all honesty, I did read my beloved’s fine essay well in advance. It was my heartfelt intent to ensure my spouse’s final moments would meet (perhaps even exceed) as many expectations as possible. True it’d be impossible for any mere mortal to confirm every element but, my being a spiritual person, I harbor no doubts. That having been said, let’s continue.

Concluding Part Five

Just as my physician had surmised, with only the minimal administration of meds, my natural death’s final moments were now playing out as an eyes-wide-open, relatively pain-free, peaceable cessation of life; where my loving spouse, children, grandchildren, relatives, friends, colleagues and other well-wishers had all assembled to see me off. We fondly reminisced and even managed to crack a few jokes.

Indeed, from my having so selflessly “been there to the very end” for both of my parents, all of that good karma had now come back to me; more than a thousandfold.

As a stray tear of joy streamed down my nine decades, wrinkled cheek, I could taste its saltiness on my lips. With a sense of awe, I gazed upon the vast sea of familiar faces; both earthbound and those who now awaited to welcome me in the great beyond. As my spouse leaned in for our “till we meet again” farewell embrace and kiss; our last exchanged dialogue involved the three best words two deeply caring souls have ever expressed to each other:

“I Love You!”

While inhaling Earth’s sweet oxygen for the very last time, I could feel my facial muscles forming my wide grin. I did experience one final, unexpected sensation; my shudder of horror as exhaled my very last words:

“Oh, the truly marvelous, joyous life I had, twice, nearly thrown away!”

 

 

Crisis Center telephone numbers, worldwide, can be found by CLICKING HERE.

 

 

Don’t Fear The Reaper

Preface

Although this fictional story can stand on it’s own two feet, to set the optimal mood, (time permitting) view the above video prior to reading onward.

Chapter One

Gavin yanks the 9-volt battery from his klaxon-like smoke detector, chuckling a bit while stepping down from his wooden, three-wrung, kitchen ladder. It’d been the lit 60+ candles atop his very own two layer, thickly chocolate frosted, devils-food birthday cake, which had set off that, at times, overly sensitive, perhaps malfunctioning device. His slight smile now crossfades into a deep frown as his sudden realization kicks in… namely… he feels his life is going up in smoke.

True, so far… as far as he knows… only the normal aging process is slowly but surely, unraveling his life. Yet, that’s but a small consolation considering there’s no escaping the inescapable truth… from the moment we’re born, the lifeless gray, grainy sands of time start relentlessly running downward… passing from the upper to lower chambers of the hourglass possessed by the ghoulish Grim Reaper.

Gavin can almost feel the swooshing draft of ice cold death as Mr. Reaper brandishes his scythe and “playfully” threatens to tap the top of his eventual victim’s noggin… can practically hear that ghoul’s unnerving, otherworldly guffaws accompanying his gruffly intoned, menacing, parting words, “Good-bye for now… but… I’ll see you soon!”

Chapter Two

Seven torn off calendar pages later… mere days following All Hallows’ Eve… several hours past dusk on this blustery night… we find Gavin arming his clock radio in order to wake up to music. Switching off the pale glowing lamp, standing tall before the curtain parted, raindrop beaded windowpanes, he beholds the fluttering maple and oak leaves scattering across the ground… hears the soft pine and cedar branches brushing against the window screens… witnesses the occasional breaks in the clouds permitting the sparkling starlight to shine through.

He shivers as he lets the curtains fall back into place. The sound of nine chimes emanate from the downstairs foyer’s grandfather clock. Slipping between the bed sheets, his body heat starts to ease the chill he feels all the way down to his bone marrow. Dozing off, his last conscious thoughts of the day still excessively obsess about his own mortality.

Gavin is heading off into the land of dreams but, considering his troubled state of mind, sweet dreams would be far from an apt description.

So… will this ONLY be a nightmare… or something more?

Chapter Three

Gavin soon winds up at the REM stage… tossing and turning while turning the tables on the horrifying Mr. Reaper. He’s actually relentlessly stalking his enemy. Perhaps recklessly so, he’s also gleefully firing up his alter-ego’s snarky, I refuse to be intimidated, devil-may-care attitude. His primary mission, on behalf of humanity, is to order the Grim Reaper to stand down… or die trying.

Even Gavin’s inside his head pep talk instructs and prods him onward…

What the Hell… why the F not? On the odd chance I might buy each of my fellow humans a few more years, would that not make my dangerous undertaking all the more worthwhile? Hey, at the very least, I might wind up making death far less scary for everyone.

A snap of the twig, which Gavin has just stepped on, almost seems to trigger a flash of lightning and immediate crash of thunder. The near blinding afterimage and high decibel rumbling reverberations have hardly begun to die down when the Grim Reaper stops DEAD in his tracks… crouching a mere ten feet away. Gavin, taking that as his cue, knows it’s now or never. He hails his foe, thusly…

Pssst… hey Reaper! Yeah… I’m talkin’ to you! C’mon over… this’ll only take five minutes, tops. What do I want? Uh… well… since there’s no way to put this delicately, I’ll just blurt it out.

FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL YOU PLEASE BURY THAT GROTESQUE, SPOOKY PERSONA OF YOURS? YOU’RE CREEPING EVERYBODY OUT!

Seriously… an image makeover is long overdue, pal. Think earth tones! Deep-Six that depressing, dreary, black hooded robe and replace it with… oh… say… a hunter green hoodie and a pair of stain and wrinkle resistant, khaki hued, cotton slacks. In your bloody line of work, easy to launder would be a plus and, lest we forget, cotton is “the fabric of our lives™!” Oh… so sorry… I guess that’d be in poor taste since you don’t dig life.

Let’s move on now to that anachronistic hourglass. Seriously, who the hell, in the 21st Century would ever choose to lug around such a bulky low-tech timepiece? Can’t your cell tell you what time it is? Do you mean to tell me you’ve not developed and installed the necessary software on your devices to keep tabs on the timelines of the 7 billion plus Earthly souls?

As for that nasty ol’ scythe of yours… do you really need to brandish such a formidable blade? If you really must resort to intimidation by threatening physical violence, how about studying martial arts? With Karate chops, the bloodshed would be next to none. In time, you might even earn your black belt. After all, basic black IS your favorite color, right? Am I right?

Think about it, Mr. Reaper… you could pass yourself off as a hip, professional, tech savvy, debonair, far less overbearing dude. Look, if you don’t clean up your act soon, U.S. Homeland Security is bound to flag you… move you to the top of their Terrorist Watch list! And once you’re on it… you’re on it for life. Hey, don’t roll your eyes… life isn’t a four letter word… well… OK… on a technically it is… but not in the sense of life being profane.

Let’s now move on to the inner you. Long story short, you’re worrying me sick. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, STAT! You’re nothing but dry, moldering bones; one has to wonder just what in tarnation is holding you together, anyway? Tar? Duct Tape? Superglue™? ‘The cadaverous look is dead, big guy! Even some catwalk models are starting to see the light… are going off their starvation diets! Key here is hydration and nutrition. At the very least, you’ll need to get in your daily eight, eight ounce glasses of H2O and triple your caloric intake.

Hey, ix-nay on those four-letter words, pal, I’m trying to maintain a family friendly nightmare!

Say what? You’re delighted that I’m worried sick? Rather than passing on my know-nothing knowhow I should just see the light and pass on? Screw the earth tones? You’re current image is exactly what you’re going for? You’re completely happy with THAT? OK, have it your way… as if that’s anything new, huh?

And away he goes… muttering obscenities… storming off into a dense billowing bank of dark, dank fog. Geesh, that guy sure has anger management issues! Hey! Did you see that? He just turned to whip me the finger! Look, he flipped me off again!

Well… there go five minutes of my life I can never get back! Of course… considering how PO’d I got him, I may be as good as dead already! Well, looks like I’ll just deep-six any of my future dealings with Mr. Reaper… well, at least until we meet again… in the end… in the end… in the end… in the end…

Epilogue

At daybreak, Gavin’s fitful sleep comes to an abrupt end as his clock radio awakens him to the sounds of a subdued cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s, Don’t Fear The Reaper… performed by the Harp Twins Camille and Kennerly.

As his mind momentarily zones out to the mesmerizing, melodic tones of their angelic harp playing, Gavin cannot help but wonder if he’s just awoken from a nightmarish dream… or was it something more?

 

Going Home… Going Home…

My Mother had enjoyed a remarkably healthy life for eighty-nine years. But after her heart attack in early 2002, things were never the same again. At first, my caregiver efforts (with a homecare agency assist) worked out fine. But the following year, after she broke her leg, she wound up in a nursing home. It was there that pneumonia seriously complicated matters.

My cell rang in the eleventh hour on that fateful Tuesday morning. Her doctor’s prognosis was grim…

“Your Mother is in the active stage of dying.”

The nursing home only a mere mile away, I was seated at Mom’s bedside within fifteen minutes.

What was to become my twenty-two hour vigil had begun. For the first six hours, Mom was talkative. We professed our love, prayed, reminisced, at times, even laughed. We reveled in our joyous, carefree mood where… had I not known better… I’d have believed she’d soon be homeward bound… homeward bound…

Late that afternoon, it must’ve been Mom getting her first glimpse of her Heavenly, family reunion that prompted her final words… among them… I kid you not… her spoken with awe…

“They ALL came!”

And then… she spoke no more.

As her vital signs waned, the twilight in her window faded into nightfall and the overhead light fixture’s pale blue fluorescence now suffused her room. Throughout the night, I was experiencing what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of “On Death and Dying”, describes as “The silence that goes beyond words.”

Shortly after sunrise, I had nodded off in my chair but, somehow, did manage to open my eyes just as Mom was drawing in her final breath. “Wednesday’s Child” had made Wednesday, April 16th her final day on Earth. True to her lifelong morning person traits, twenty-three minutes into the ninth hour, Mom had reached Earth’s exit signs.

After composing myself, I, too, headed for the exit signs. Now standing outdoors, I had left that nursing home scene far behind… inhaled the onrush of sweet, fresh air… joined… already in progress… a spectacular, birds chirping, spring morn awash with warm sunlight.

I sat on a bench to mourn. As I looked up to the sky… I could envision Mom still lingering at Heaven’s threshold… her loving gaze upon me. I could almost hear her say…

 “My gifted son… I love you dearly and wish you continue to do well”*

I could practically feel her till-we-meet-again blown kiss touch my cheek… see her slow farewell wave as she reluctantly… oh so reluctantly… turned away… took those final steps to fade into the Heavenly mist.

On the drive home, I thought back to everything Mom had taught me throughout my lifetime. And how she had saved the very best lesson for the very last. To teach it to me, all she had needed were the three words, “They ALL came!’ Her way of assuring me that everlasting life really does exist.

My own mortality no longer seems quite so scary as it once was.  I know that when my final day on Earth arrives… Mom will be there to show me the way home.

* The actual message my Mom had handwritten inside the very last birthday card she had ever given to me.