Condolence: My mother, Virginia, devoted 80 plus years to being a wife, mother, and caretaker for dozens of animals. While visiting her parents several years ago, they told me how my mom wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up. She adjusted that dream a bit when she met my father Gerald. She ended up having 3 sons and 4 daughters instead. She had tremendous maternal instincts. She was thankful to be a mother and proud of her children. Like me, my mom was not a person of many words. When she spoke, you knew she meant what she said from the heart. I remember her telling me that she was picky and considered her children as her friends. I spent many Sundays with mom and dad eating Sunday dinner. After Dad passed away, it was just dinners with mom. Despite just cooking for me, the awesomeness of those meals did not change. Despite having limited food herself, she always told me to pack up leftovers to take home. She knew I had limited resources and how home cooked meals were a big deal for me! She was a tremendous cook! She passed those talents on to her daughters. There are some husbands out there who can testify that that!
She was a true animal lover. I remember her picking a big bag of clovers for one of her sheep. There was a heck of a lot of clovers that went into that bag. She did this same loving task every day for years. My mom would get up at 3 AM in the morning, to feed bottle baby sheep out in the barn. It didn't matter that it as dark and frigid outside in the middle of January. She was out there feeding a dozen bottles of mixed up milk for the lambs. She did that every few hours day after day. I remember when she broke her hip after falling down on the ice when the dog tugged really hard. With what turned out to be a broken hip, she climbed over fencing within the barn to finish her chores. She walked all the way back up to the house with a broken hip. She called my dad and said she needed to go to the doctor after she sat down for a while. What a strong and determined woman. That's dedication!
When your parents get older, the roles change and the child becomes a parent. I never had any of my own kids to spoon feed. When I stayed for lunch at Thornapple Manor with my mom, the nurse asked me if I was going to spoon feed her. Putting on her bib, it was like the Twilight zone for me. It took a little while to get used to feeding my mom her lunch. It was my opportunity to give back to her the love she showed me for 52 years.
I made a big mistake with my father. I waited until he was dying in the living room, where I sit tonight, to tell my dad that I loved him. He said that I love you too Bill. That was the last time I saw my father alive. From that day forward, heading toward the door I told my mom that I loved her. She said I love you too. Every visit after that, I always told my mom that I loved her. She replied likewise. I read on the internet that one of the last things to go when someone is dying is their hearing. I visited my mom last Sunday and Monday. On Monday morning, the physicians assistant examined mom and told me she had probably 48 hours left or so. The last thing I told my mom before I left is "I love you mom". My heartfelt prayer is that she heard my last words to her!
Please let Friday be more than just a time of deep sorrow! Let it be a remembrance of a life well lived! I will never forget my mom and all that she did for me! I'm proud of her! I will always love you mom!