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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Memories.

"Oh the tree of Life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation
In the dark and empty skies."

Death Is Not The End,

Bob Dylan

Today is Mother's Day. My mother passed away sometime ago. So did my Aunt who was so much like a Mother to my family that my sons called her Grandma Pat. And my Mother in Law left this place of wrath and tears before either of them. They are all missed.

 I am not even sure how many years it has been. Years don't mean much when you talk about the people who are gone. The passage is measured more precisely in minutes, seconds, brief flashes of thought. "I should call Mom and Pat and tell them about this." In an instant you realize that is not possible. Measured in the second your wife reaches for the scissors to cut an article out of the paper that her Mother would enjoy, and stops her hand hanging in the air for a second, and then returning haltingly to her lap. Those are the true measures of time when talking about lost loved ones.

I can't speak of the afterlife, or the greater reward waiting on the other side. It is the memories of visits, and vacations, and time spent crammed into my Mother's small apartment. She was thrilled to have such an unruly mob, wandering the hallway between her and my Aunt's apartment. Mom and Pat would try to sneak off for a peaceful cigarette, and a quiet cup of coffee in the other set of rooms. Our kids sensing the freedom offered by two Grandmas would disappear and magically pop up in the apartment where we weren't. Cigarettes quickly snuffed, glasses of cola delivered and television remote surrendered. Heaven for children, and Grandmas alike.

I can't talk about heavenly reunions, or pearly gates, but I can talk about my Wife's Mother taking the kids and teaching them to play cards, Uno, or something similar, while my Wife and I were on kitchen duty, "Oh, Tim, I could use a coffee." "Hey, dad, bring me a pop." "Run and get some donuts, would you?" Later, when she was in assisted living, she would take them to bingo. Children are gold in a nursing home, two visiting celebrities, come to play bingo, and they ate it up.

Those are the measurements that are important, the sense of loss, and the beautiful memories. So, to my Mother in Law, my Mother, my Aunt Pat, I salute you, the love, and patience you gave so freely, and the memories you left so generously. And to all the lost, loved Moms, Grandmas, Aunts, I salute you and those you left behind. You will never be forgotten.