We’ve just celebrated Mother’s Day. Only this year at our house Terry and I didn’t have any mothers to call or buy cards for. His mom was rolling along at 92 until she picked up a vicious respiratory virus. She quit smoking 20 years ago, but the 50 before that didn’t help her lungs any.
So the first part of May we camped out in Spokane on the hospital’s ninth floor until it became obvious this battle wasn’t going to be won in the way we’d hoped. She opted for her own bed at home. And two days later we lost her. Fittingly, on a morning when the birds were singing.
We are trying to get used to the fact she’s gone. The red geraniums she’d bought for her patio are now in planters on our deck. The lightweight navy blazer with the tags still on I claimed and wore on Mother’s Day — minus the tags, of course. The pink Harley blanket Terry gave her is draped over the recliner downstairs. Things plucked from her life that we wish could have stayed right where they were.
At a time like this all sorts of thoughts billow through one’s mind. One for me being a paraphrase of what is spoken of Abraham in the Bible’s book of Genesis … “Margaret breathed her last and died in a ripe old age, an old woman and satisfied with life; and she was gathered to her people.”
I can say this about her. She was “satisfied with life.” And like Abraham that’s not saying her life was an easy flowing river that carried her smoothly along. She had plenty of Class V rapids to navigate. But she found her way through. And with enough stamina left over to encourage others. She loved well and was well loved. The “stubborn Swede” in her befriended her time and again. Because she just didn’t give up.
I suppose if we took a survey — “What does being satisfied with life look like to you?” — there would be a plethora of answers. After all, life has many nooks and crannies and no one’s journey is exactly like another’s.
It’s a question worth examining at any age. Because being satisfied with life is to impart a powerful legacy. Those left behind draw strength and comfort from it. It equips us for our own river run.
Margaret was a teacher, professionally and personally. I think she would be pleased to know we, her family,are still learning.