Not a fan of February ~ my column from Sunday's paper
I’d felt a little sad and out of sorts for most of this past Monday without knowing why. Even though February is the shortest month of the year, it seems twice as long as May. The short days seem dark and drab. That evening as I finished my blog post, the phone in my pocket buzzed. It had taken a moment before I gave it my full attention. It wasn’t a call, but a notification reminding me my mom died on February 20, 2012. It was the fifth anniversary of her death. The reminder was illuminating. It was another reason that I’m no fan of February.
I have a million mom stories, and I’ve told many of them in this column. She could be ill-tempered at
times, but other times she had the “Patience of a Saint.” She loved kids and old people but had little sympathy for the slothful.
After my dad died in 1986, my mom landed a job as a clerk at a store in Sumiton. Later, she worked for a young family with a child. She cooked, did light housekeeping, and helped raise their young daughter.
She also volunteered at the Mission of Hope in Dora. She took donated clothes home to wash and iron because she wanted families in need to have clean, fresh clothes even if they were used.
One of the things she loved most was cooking. Sunday dinners were always an adventure. Along with the kids and grandkids, she often invited members of our extended family, long-lost friends, and people we’d never seen before. Nothing brings people together like good ‘ol home cooking. That was one of her gifts to the community.
My mom lived alone for many years cutting her own grass with a push mower, and she also did all the routine maintenance around the house.
When her health began failing, she moved in with my sister. She always harbored hope that she would get to move back home. That never happened. Reaching a point that our family could no longer provide the care she needed, we moved her into a nursing home. She was afraid we’d forget her, but we visited her almost every day.
Toward the end, the decline was more evident. To brace for the inevitable, I told myself that “one day when I come, she will not be here.” The idea was to prepare for the end mentally. I didn’t realize that it was the beginning.
You are never ready for losing a parent. My mom suffered at the end of her life, and when she took her last breath, she opened her eyes briefly and looked around. It was almost as if she was making sure we were there. There is no way of knowing if she understood that most of her family and friends who adored her were there.
At first, I felt something that I thought was relief, and maybe it was. But after the funeral flowers dried, there were waves of sadness that even after five years have not ebbed.
This past week the mother of one of my friends died. As he told me about his mom, I realized that he wouldn’t be a fan of February either.