March 28/First Quarter Moon
Mom is flying free.
This is the post where I announced Mom’s death in this space. I also made the promise to continue to share her words.
In the walks I have taken in the last few days the sky has been alive with birds. A great horned owl flew to greet us in William Berry Woods. The next day when I returned it had left a feather for me, and lots of droppings. I watched a pair of Northern flickers in Roberts Bird Sanctuary, along with starlings and great big pileated woodpeckers. Just now an eagle soaring above the house across the street. I tried to catch a pano shot yesterday that included the half moon directly above my head and the dramatic woodpecker 20 feet in front of me. But it was not to be. But I did capture my sisters and I on Sunday.
As many of you already know, Mom passed away last Thursday night, 03/23/2023. And the sky have been alive with all kinds of activity since she left this world. Shortly before she died, we saw the planet Venus aligned inside the cradle of the crescent moon. And after her death, we got the reports of the Northern Lights, as seen across the country from the haunts that she loved best. And the reports keep coming as she visits the skies above all her favorite people.
Those last few days we did most things at her bedside. We all had the sense she was already gone. Perhaps floating above her body, while we stayed nearby, as her strong heart still pumped and organ failure began. The care givers cooked for us and we ate it there, our plates on our laps in a circle around her. The waiting with her gave us the time to look back over the trajectory of her disease, and beyond to the barely remembered time before. She had been especially afflicted with aphasia and had lost her language little by little, and she was a great writer. During this long period of time we had together, we turned to her archives. She was a faithful notebook keeper and had journaled important events in her life. Her voice has returned to us through these gifts she left. One of the first notebooks we found, had been written when she attended one of my writing classes in 2015. It was a couple years after her first diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. She came up with a title for her memoirs then. In my dim memories, we had been joking. I can see her now, laughing with me, her hand clasped over her chest, “My heart is eloquent.” I wrote it down and kept it in my files ever since.
One line from that notebook eluded to the future coming: “Now that Willie and I are retired and footloose, we spend our days with homey tasks like cooking, laundry, going to the gym, spending our days on ourselves and family. But I have begun to feel that the spiders are spinning webs in my brain.” She goes on to say they both were approached to advise people from the perspectives of their expertise on the same day. She pokes fun at herself, saying how much they each “enjoyed their semi-important conversations.”
She didn’t want people to know what was happening to her as she endured the slow onslaught of Alzheimer’s. She still hoped to be of service to the world. She thought that her diagnosis would limit her opportunities. I can see now where that belief of never accepting limitations served her in a world that had designated her opportunities from the very beginning. I am so grateful for her tenacity.
We will continue to share her words. Here and at a celebration of her life which will begin at the Lakewood Cemetery Historic Chapel in Minneapolis at 1 pm, April 29th.