Memories of Mom
She's been gone almost four years already. Seems like yesterday.
She was my bestest buddy, my biggest fan.
My mom was something else all over again, as she would say.
She could be a real so-and-so, as she would say.
She was a feisty little third-generation German, owner of the world’s biggest belly laugh.
The laugh kept my little brother and I awake late at night when Mom and Dad and our rowdy neighbors gathered to play Tripoli and other games in our kitchen.
There it was again when she hosted her annual holiday open house coffee klatsch. And when I described the further adventures of my cat, Willie, who cooled off by relaxing in my clean crock pot.
Mom had her interesting, old-world sayings:
“Ach du lieber!”
“Oh, my achin’ foot (or back).”
“I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole.”
“Oh, fer cryin’ in the bucket!”
And if she didn’t know the answer to a question:
“I’m from Missouri.”
Mom and Dad took us on many vacations to the Black Hills in South Dakota. We camped among the sweet-smelling Ponderosa pines in our little camper, swam in ice-cold Sheridan Lake, took family photos at Mount Rushmore, and investigated nearby Hill City and Deadwood.
The folks danced to polka music whenever they could and gardened side-by-side, maintaining the tradition of their early farm lives.
Mom and I had a love-hate relationship. She always worried about me. Didn’t want me driving back and forth from college in La Crosse. Didn’t trust me in her kitchen. Figured I’d screw up the microwave somehow.
“Get out of the way. Just let me do it.”
Dang, that made me angry.
But I took Mom out to the Black Hills around 2010 for one last look at the old places. And crept into her nursing home room on Thanksgiving night, 2013, to try and comfort her as she lay in the dark, comatose but calling for help.
I stuck around for a long time before finally getting up to leave. Took one last look at my mom, lying on her bed, waiting for God to take her.
He did so two days later, on Dec. 1.
She wouldn’t have wanted the attention. But her casket was draped with a beautiful, multi-colored cloth that Mom would have loved.
We gathered as nieces and nephews carried her out to the hearse in the parking lot of her beloved Catholic church.
The hearse driver had to wait a moment to turn left out of the driveway, toward the cemetery.
His blinker flashed on and off, on and off, on and off as we watched.
He made the turn and she was gone on her last journey, borne on eagles’ wings.
Gone, but certainly not forgotten.
I’ll always love you, Mom.