"Birth is not one act; it is a process. The aim of life is to be fully born, though its tragedy is that most of us die before we are thus born. To live is to be born every minute. Death occurs when birth stops."
Erich Fromm

My Mother and I were close. I was the last child at home. My Father had died when I was 14. Mom and I talked about everything. Anything that troubled me, or her, or things that were curious, interesting, different and just every day things.

We shared many interests in common. She was my Mother, but she was also my friend.

When I turned 18, I was ready for my life's adventure to start. Wasn't that what Mom had raised me for? All the other kids had gone off at 18. I didn't think about Mom being alone. She was an active person engaged with life and the community.

I was on my way.

Years later a friend of hers told me she cried for two weeks she missed me so much. I never even knew. She seemed as excited for me to go and try my wings as I was. She never tried to lay the guilt on me to stay at home, she could have, and I might have stayed. But she didn't even hint at the fact that she would be alone. I never once felt compelled to stay. She opened her arms and let me go.

She even let me take her car. (anyway for the first few weeks of moving and finding a job in a town a hundred mile south.)

I think now of that selfless act of love, which exemplifies the way Mother was with each one of us five kids.

When she died, at age 95, and all the kids had gathered in her home, we were sharing memories as we read her wishes. As sad as that gathering was, we also laughed. One of my brother said, "I've always felt a little guilty, because I was her favorite." My other brother said, "wait a minute. I was her favorite." We all laughed at that, because we had all known we were her favorites.

That was the way she made people feel. Special, loved and unique. She had an incredible gift of helping people see the best in themselves. And also areas where you might need some self examination, but without being made to feel like you were bad or of less worth.

When my brother "the favorite" called to tell me she had died, (he had been living at home so she could stay in her home to the last), I felt a flood of gratitude and joy. She had been expressing how tired she was over the last few years of her life and was ready to cross the river, she would say, and now she had.

My oldest sister was there with two of her daughters, visiting Mom. They had had a wonderful time together and on the last full day they were to be there, they were all visiting at the kitchen table and she said she was going to let them finish up with the breakfast dishes while she took a short nap.

She lied down and slept, and didn't wake up.

I've always thought she had a sweet death. It wasn't a struggle, there was no pain, other than the aches and pains of old age. She wasn't afraid.

I think of her often and especially on the 31st of March. As I know my four Sibs will be thinking of her today too.

It was harder for some of us to let her go than others, and yet I felt her presence with me so often that first year after. We all did.

Something happened at work one night shortly after and I sat down at break time and started writing her a letter, I was upset, half way through I realized she was beyond a forwarding address, and I sat there and was comforted by her presences.

Even after eight years I still miss her and think sometimes, "Now, that would have made Mom laugh!" Or, "I wish I could show her that."

I see her in my siblings, and her grandchildren, a turn of phrase, body language, an attitude, we all carry her with us, and today she will be remembered. She lived a full and happy life.

Over the next few days I will be posting poems I wrote for her. On my poetry blog, Sagewind Voices.


  1. Remebering with fondness is the best tribute one can pay. From your words here, I would say your Mom was one lucky mother.

  2. We were the lucky ones. She gave us so much. And I always felt like I got the very best of her, I got her mature years. Where they all had to share her time, I had her to myself for the last five. Except when they were home for visits.
    I adored my older sibs and always loved having them home. But those were special years for me that I had with her. (The reason I thought I was her favorite. Smile.) Really, I always knew she didn't have favorites, or that we all were.

  3. Hi there, just noticed your comment on my blog. Bend is a nice area, went through there a lot when I was long haul trucking.

    My father and sisters died young, I'm about all that is left of the family unless my asshole brother is still alive, and I don't want to know if he is or not.

    My mother lasted a long time but died a few years ago. But we wasn't close, she was a chain smoking pain in the butt drunk.

    Anyway, peaceful paths.

  4. You had a wonderful mother, and you and your siblings are her legacy to the world. What a wonderful legacy.

    It's been eight years, but may you take comfort.