|Lois K Jackson|
April 11, 1929-November 21, 2014
When you let old routines fall by the wayside it can sometimes be difficult to get back on once familiar schedules. I've been away from regular posting on this site for nearly two months now so I figured that I might try to get things cranked back up again on Wrote By Rote. Hope readers start drifting back to this site and I can offer you some interesting stories and topics.
For anyone who might not be aware, my mother passed away on November 21st of this past year. She'd been going downhill healthwise for the past year or more and I'd been expecting her passing for some time. I'm thankful she gave us as much more time as she did though I know it was rough for her. She wasn't anxious to go and put up a good struggle. But as such things go she had to give it up eventually and the time was right for her.
My mother had turned 85 on her last birthday on April 11th. She had told us that she had expected to die in her 85th year since that was when both her mother and her one remaining sister had died. Thinking on it now it seems rather uncanny that they all died when they were 85. I don't know if it would be considered a coincidence or destiny or something like that, but that's just the way it turned out. I kept telling her that she was going to make it to 100 and she went along with that to appease me I guess, but apparently she knew better.
Now she's gone and I feel that empty place in my life where I can't call her on the phone each morning like I used to and I know that she's not going to call me if I didn't call. She'd do that. If I couldn't call her for some reason or was just late in doing so, she'd call me to see if everything was okay with me. Even though I was an old man in my 60's she still worried about me. I was her kid and I suppose she still felt some motherly obligation to take care of me. Like most parents she probably had that fear that maybe she'd outlive me. I don't think any parent wants to be around when one of their kids die.
So the situation for me now is that I don't have that go-to person to fill in the family history gaps anymore. Oh, I have my sisters and maybe even my brothers, but they don't remember a lot of the things my mother remembered. We'd have discussions about who did what and where our family was at such and such time. She'd fill in the blanks when I forgot names of people in the past and I'd prompt her with my memories that would stir up memories of her own. We had a good time telling stories and reminiscing about days gone by. Mothers can do stuff like that just about better than anyone. And now I don't have that. It just seems odd.
After she passed and I was back in Tennessee staying at the house where she and my youngest sister had lived, my sisters and I dragged out boxes of our mother's stuff to sift through them and try to fill in missing puzzle pieces. She had kept just about every card anyone had ever given her and we started playing a game to see if we could guess who had sent which card. We poured over old photographs dredging up whatever we could remember about them. My sister Joy found a treasure trove of old letters and read them aloud to us. Some were letters from my father before they had gotten married. We stepped into a time machine made of paper and ink and went back more than six decades.
We laughed. We cried. We listened with interest and occasional puzzlement as the letters revealed stories that we had never heard or perhaps had heard only in pieces. There was the voice of my grandmother's sister--my mother's aunt--crying helplessly from a nursing home wondering why she no longer heard from any other family members except my mother. There were the many condolences at the passing of my father in 1990. We had no idea that so many people had written to my mother to tell her how much my father had meant to them.
My sisters and I talked about how maybe someday we could compile all of these letters into some kind of book or family history. There is a fascinating story to be told in all of the cards, photos, and letters. For now Joy will keep these until we figure out what to do with it all. There are stories to be told and our mother is not there anymore to help us figure it all out. Now it's a matter of playing history detective on our own. I can't pick up the phone and call my mother when I need an answer. There are no more phone calls...