Mom passed away a few days after my last post. Although she was 96, almost 97, it was unexpected. I had just spoken with her. She was at supper and she tended to fall asleep over her meals. But this time that sleep was permanent. No one near her noticed a thing so evidently her passing was very peaceful. I am grateful for that. I have since been involved in the avalanche of post-death paperwork.
Mom was not a happy person. I never understood that. She had so much to be happy and grateful for in her life. She had two successful, happy kids, 5 amazing grandchildren (all successful adults now), and 8 adorable great grandchildren. She and Dad were not rich but were successful financially.
Well, as long as Dad was alive to monitor the spending. She had an amazing pension from the USMC. She was able to travel extensively while Dad was alive – they saw much of the world together. She was able to buy whatever she wanted, which was a blessing and a curse!
She was never happy with her life, she never felt like she was pretty enough, never happy with her weight, always wanted to be “rich” (which to her meant having millions in the bank), never happy with her homes – and they had some doozys! I think she dwelt on all of the things she didn’t have instead of being grateful for all of her blessings. She was just generally disappointed in life. I think that would be the normal outcome for someone who always looked at the perceived lack in life.
I know that mom grew up extremely poor. She lived in a very small country town in Indiana. I just have to wonder what happened to her that left her so unhappy and unable to relate to people very well.
Mom was her own worst enemy. Her diet caused a lot of her physical issues but she was unwilling to change that so her health continued to decline. There were many things that could have been improved with walking, PT, alternative therapies and she refused them all. Mom was a “my way or the highway” person. She only did what she wanted to do in the moment without thought for its impact or how it might affect her future. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work out very well for most people.
As I have been going through the things in her room – one of the things she kept were her pictures of her travels around the world. I’ve noticed that in hundreds of pictures of her and Dad on cruises and trips, she is very rarely smiling. I find that so sad. Dad is beaming but mom just looked unhappy or emotionless. Here she is on her dream cruise.
Mom lived next door on our farm for 23 years. Each year she needed more help and the boys and I were there to provide it. Eventually she was unable to live alone because of her health. She could not navigate stairs so we added an addition and moved her in with us. She lived with us for several years until her physical needs outpaced my ability to meet them. She then went into a local assisted living facility.
She seemed happiest alone in front of her tv and snacking on whatever unhealthy item she craved at the moment. Even when she lived with us, she rarely left her room or ate with us – she preferred dinner on a tray in front of the tv in her room.
Her passing is so sad…not just because she is gone but because the opportunities are gone now: the opportunity for change, the opportunity to make better choices to improve her physical situation, the opportunity to have relationships with her family. Very sad indeed.
This is the best picture of Mom that I have in my possession. Here she is meeting her first grandchild in 1982. It is the only picture I have that shows a big smile. I have, at best, a half dozen pictures of her smiling – but nothing like this.
Mom always told us that her funeral was completely paid for and that there was also a small life insurance policy. When your family members tell you that, be wise and ask to see the papers! Maybe she was confused, maybe she was forgetful but none of that was true. The funeral was not paid for, which caught my brother and I by surprise. I can also find no evidence of a life insurance policy – no papers, no payments nothing. Mom was a gullible person – she fell for many scams that I had to undo and fix over the years. Maybe this is one that I missed.
Be grateful for the people in your life, spend time with them as often as you can! We Southern women think feeding people is a love language! Have a family dinner once a month and love on each other over good food. It’s my favorite night of the month when we all come together! When your family members talk about funeral arrangements, insurance policy’s or their final wishes, get involved! Look at the funeral arrangements, make sure they have their final wishes written down (some states require a will and in some you can just write it out yourself, date and sign)! If there are bank accounts, insurance policies etc., make sure you know what they are and where to find them…especially if you are the executor or personal representative! Don’t leave things to chance or you may find yourself in a mess one day!
Start a gratitude journal if you feel you dwell on the lack in your life! I did this for years – and blogged about it for years. Your attitude will do an about face when you begin to see the blessings that pour down on you each day!
Many thanks to those of you who reached out to me during this time! I’m truly blessed by all of you!
Next post – things get back to normal!