Friday, June 23, 2017

Steady (five minute friday)

As we prepare to say goodbye to Neal's grandmother any day now, I think back on her steady presence in our lives.  Her first husband, Ben, died when Neal was a preschooler.  She became very involved in her grandchildren's lives, and I've heard many, many stories and memories about times they spent together.  She remarried when Neal was in grade school, and I got to see firsthand how beautiful a second chance at love can be, and how much joy could follow what had been such a sad time.

Pop Pop and Mom Mom Woody at our wedding
On the day Neal and I got married, Mom Mom told my mother that she was "renegotiating with God." She had originally wanted to live long enough to see her Neal get married, but she woke up that morning and realized that she wasn't going to be content with that -- now she wanted to see more grandbabies. The day Luke was born, she sashayed into the hospital like the star she had been (once upon a time, she sang with Jan Savitt and his Top Hatters), picked him up and said, "I want more."  Renegotiating with God...a steady part of her personality.  She got to see so many great-grandchildren -- my five, our niece and nephews, and three of Neal's cousin's children.

Mom Mom and Damien on her 94th birthday - 2010

Last fall, Mom Mom turned 100.  Her health was failing, but her love for her family held steady.  She smiled proudly as we all gathered to wish her a happy birthday, realizing what a milestone it was for her -- and for us to have had her in our lives for so long.

May 2017
Now, the updates of her rapid decline are steady, but she's as tenacious as ever.   Almost two weeks ago, we were told the end was quickly coming, so we hurried to say our I love yous.  But Mom Mom has remained her feisty self -- she's slipping away, but defying all the rules of how a final decline ought to go.  (She's always been a rule breaker, so why are we so surprised?)  Even when expectations have been no longer days but hours, she holds steadily to earthly life.

I'm going to admit that this has taken far more than five minutes to write...yes, the tears are steady.  But when I hear Jude brag to total strangers in the check out line, "My great Mom Mom is ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD!" or I hear Celia play Mom Mom's piano, or see my oldest sign his name, "Benjamin Luke" and know he's here because of a lady who left a career in radio for one as a country doctor's wife, I think of the steady presence she has been in my life for the small part of hers, and am comforted by the steady hope that someday, I'll hear Miss Charlotte Kay's voice for myself on the airwaves of heaven's big band station.

Miss Charlotte Kay, Lady Topper

Update: A few hours after I wrote this, Mom Mom was called home.  We are so very grateful to have had her in our lives and miss her already.

Five Minute Friday is a weekly event. Our hostess, Kate chooses a single word to start the free-writing process - this week, it's Steady. It's not about revising your thoughts to perfection, it's about taking 5 minutes to just put it all out there. New writers and readers are always welcome.

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