She would be happy to know her children have grown closer as we came together to honor her life. We're being faithful stewards of all that massive family history archive she left behind.
Eighty-nine years seems like a long life. Even so, Mom left many things undone. Like finishing her dozen or so cross-stitch and crochet projects, completing the many to-be-read novels on her lamp stand, or labeling the rest of the old family photos.
This is what I had to say about Mom at her memorial service:
Ten Life Lessons from My Mother
- Be tight with a dollar, but generous to those in need.
- Stick up for the underdog.
- We’re all God’s children – don’t think you station in life makes you better than anyone else.
- Never suffer a fool.
- The public library is your friend. One of the first things Mom did when we moved to a new town was take us to get library cards. She always had a stack of borrowed books in various states of completion. Her favorite authors were Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear, Janet Evanovich, Dorothy Gilman, just about any spy novel, and books with a little spice.
- Life is too short for broccoli.
- If someone tells you the meaning of life, and it doesn’t involve embroidery floss, yarn, or a crochet hook, they’re probably lying.
- Coffee was Mom’s favorite beverage. She liked it strong and black. She would appreciate this quote by Henry Rollins – “What goes best with a cup of coffee? Another cup.”
- Family is the most important thing, but like all good things, enjoy in moderation.
- The final lesson requires a bit of setup.
I didn’t understand when Mom moved to Colorado in 2014 how delicate her health was, and she didn’t tell me. Relatively spry for her age, Mom managed for several years in an independent senior apartment. Then her lungs and heart gave her increasing trouble.
Mom almost died in March 2020. My siblings recall the tearful phone call as I advised them she was not going to survive. The chaplain sat with me, and the health professionals explained the process to “pull the plug.” My daughter and I left the hospital that night, convinced Mom would not make it to the next dawn.
When we returned in the morning, Mom sat at a table eating her breakfast. She looked up, saw us, and said, “What?” We expressed our amazement. Mom explained she saw us crying, and didn’t want to leave, seeing how sad we were.
Mom dodged death a couple more times. When her great granddaughter heard us talking about Mom being on death’s doorstep, she said, “It’s a good thing Grandma Jane got tired and laid down to take a nap, so she didn’t go through the door.”
My number ten life lesson from Mom is, “If you find yourself on death’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run away giggling.”