Her and dad were married in 1950; dad passed away from complications of Parkinson’s disease on May 23, 2003. She missed him everyday of her life after that. I could write for days about them; but want to keep this entry short. Mom lived with anxiety and depression her entire life. It ran in her father’s family. But now, it was gone for her. Forever gone.
Mom and Dad both died on a Friday morning, in fact, within minutes of each other when I think back to where those Fridays were in their non-stop progression. We set Dad’s pocket watch to 7:19 and had it peek slightly out of his striped overall pocket there in his casket. I think Mom died about 7:10 or around then. I’d gotten a call from the care home much earlier that morning; mom was exhibiting changes that are telltale signs that death is near. I had told the care home staff that I wanted to know when those signs showed up, so I got a call. On my drive up to see her this one last time, I got stopped by a county deputy for speeding. After checking the validity of my Kansas driver’s license, I got off without even a warning, and I remember the officer telling me to please drive careful. I don’t know how fast I was going; it had to have been over 70, but nothing crazy like 95 or above.
We buried them both on a Monday morning. Dad’s was beautiful sunshine, it was Memorial Day, as six grandchildren carried him to his final resting place. Two of those six kids were mine. Mom’s morning was beautiful sunshine and cold, as we seven children carried her to her spot there by dad to join him in the cold, hard ground. We kids had again chosen grandchildren to do that final task, but the undertaker said it was the last thing we children could do for our mother was to carry her to her final resting place. My three brothers were on the head end of the casket, while the four girls carried mom “from the waist down.” My baby sister and I carried her feet and led the procession from the hearse to the grave site. We were instructed to keep our eyes up and faced toward the rising sun, a task that proved quite difficult as we made our way along the uneven, snow-packed ground. I was glad my career had included years and years of hauling 5-gallon buckets of feed to various bunks, catching and holding baby calves for tagging, throwing small square bales, driving steel posts, moving panels for portable pens, hanging on for dear life to a 4-H steer that decided to get ornery, and numerous other chores that require a bit of strength in the daily ranch routine. My physical ability came in handy that cold, crisp morning.
Again, any tears shed were only of happiness for the eternal reunion of my folks that I cannot even imagine. Hopefully one day I’ll join them, for all eternity. Won’t that be something…