|Mom December 1927, 3 years old|
That's what my mom says. She's kidding, of course. And maybe a little serious and a little nervous. Our family's experience with Dad's dementia/Alzheimer's was enough to have us tossing salt over our shoulder.
What I admire most about my mom is her quiet courage. Born in an era when it wasn't unusual for a woman to just follow her husband's orders, Mom quietly lived her independent life of traditional boundaries. She never drove a car because her eyesight was too poor. She didn't work once she started having babies. She was a stay-at-home mom, but that form only contained her independence. It did not quell it.
Today Mom is heading for a new year--as she put it, a "not so happy year." Dad is gone, but Mom still has her two boys. I'll be out to see her in a month. My brother is her live-in caregiver.
My new year's resolution is a paraphrase of a favorite expression of Mom's, to just keep moving, that when you sit down, that's when you get into trouble. I don't think of that as wearing yourself out with activity; rather, I think it means to remain vital and in accord with nature.
Sometimes when we follow our path, we have to shout the warning, "Clear the path! I'm coming through!" A variant is "Follow me or get out of the way!" My dad phrased this more bluntly: "Help or get the hell out of the way!"
When I hear my mother--five feet tall and ninety years old, blind and deaf--say such things, I hear the implacable power of nature grinding down mountains, that power that pounds seashores to sand and lifts into the air ten billion birds. I am lifted myself to keep moving, to keep to my path, to enjoy my life.
God bless you, Mom, and happy birthday.
Copyright 2014 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved