Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slice of Life - My mother and Aunt Nora

One of my earliest memories is of sitting on the overstuffed chair by the picture window, watching my parents and my Nana walk out to the car and wanting to go with them. They were going to my Great-Aunt Nora’s funeral, but I think I only knew they were going to see Aunt Nora and I wanted to go too. I told my sister about this memory once and she said she couldn’t even remember Aunt Nora.
My mother told me, years later when I was asking about that memory, that she used to bring me along on visits to her mother’s sister. We’d go over and pick up Nana, then go to Nora’s where the grown-ups would have tea at the kitchen table. I don’t know what I did. Mom said she didn’t remember what I did either, so I must have been good.
I got to go on this adventure because, as the youngest in the family, I was the last to start school. So, my siblings would all troop off in the morning and for the only time in my life, I had my mother all to myself.
A few weeks ago, I took my mother to the doctor’s visit that would start her last days. Her kidneys were not working at all; she needed dialysis. I left her at the hospital on a Sunday night, expecting to see her ready for dialysis prep in the morning but when I got there I found out she had refused the procedure and asked to go home. We knew, without the procedure, she would die. She knew too. We took her home.
            My sisters and I stayed with Mom that week. We all found places around the house to sleep; someone was always with her, watching her favorite Westerns. Within 12 hours she was unresponsive. On Thursday afternoon, she died.
            I was sitting on the loveseat by the picture window, waiting for the funeral director to arrive when I thought of that morning wanting to go see Aunt Nora. We lose so many people from our lives. I thought about those trips my mother said we took to her house. Mom and Nana were making the time to spend with someone important who they knew would not be with them much longer. They made sure she knew they loved her by brewing tea and talking. At the same time, they filled their own hearts with her love, strengthening them for the time she would no longer be there.
            I’ve known all year that each holiday could be our last with Mom. My children are old enough to remember the visits every Sunday morning, and for that, I’m grateful. Those memories are strength. My mother knew we loved her because we brewed tea and talked; but we knew love just through her presence.
            I miss my mother terribly. I feel like that little girl, looking out the picture window, crying as her mother goes without her.
            My brothers and sisters have all said she is up in Heaven now with our Dad, holding hands again. I hope she can also pop in on Aunt Nora for a cup of tea. Nana will be there, too. And, in my heart, I am there with them.


  1. A difficult time, well written about. And I know exactly where you are coming from. Been there, brewed tea, squeezing the most out of every moment. It's a blessing that you could do that.

  2. You have so aptly captured the emptiness that comes when we lose someone we love. Even young children "feel" that something in the world is different. This summer, my own mom, in poor health, has been "giving away" her treasured crystal glasses and her special, even if costume, jewelry. Most days, it is difficult to watch her agonize over who to give what to; yet, she reminds me she wants to be in control for as long as possible and does not want people to just toss her life-time-of accumulated things. So I sit and listen and try to treasure the memories of these visits. I hope you are able to treasure those memories of Western movies and your mom's powerful spirit. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  3. It's a very loving tribute to your mom, and with that story of visiting Aunt Nora, you gave us a glimpse of who she was, a thoughtful and kind person who gave her time to others, just as it sounds like you & your siblings did for her. I'm so sorry for your loss. The missing will lessen, but I think of my mother every day & bless her for what a wonderful mother she was to me & my brother. You are sweet to share your story, Laura. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for this beautiful writing. It will touch all who have created those moments of love, who have lived through days knowing death was approaching, and who have felt the ache of looking out the window watching a loved one leave without you. It has touched me. Thoughts and prayers for you.

  5. Thanks for sharing your slice...it brought me to tears...How brave of you to share and how brave of your mother to make the choice she made. I am sure they are all smiling down from heaven at the beautiful way you choose to remember them...
    Thnking of you and knowing that moments like these are not easy.

  6. A beautiful tribute to your Mom and your Aunt. It is never easy for those of us left behind, but the memories are there for us to relive each day. My Mom passed away 23 years ago and as the years have passed, the memories still are alive and she lives in my heart. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your Mom and Aunt with us.

  7. We were just talking about heaven at church last night and how we will all recognize each other. I just had tears well up, I just miss my grandma so. xo nanc