Reflections on Life & Death

Popo - age 18?

This past week my mom’s mother passed away. No one else is allowed to die!! Two loved ones in a 2 1/2 week time is too much death. 

The Saturday night before she passed, as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I began to remember how much time I spent with her and my grandfather in my early elementary ages. I went to her house after school almost every day, visited her several times for weeks at a time in other years, and lived with them for two months when I was 14. She also was my inspiration to be become an Esthetician. I remember being about 6 or 7, reaching up to gently touch her face, and asking her how she kept her skin so beautiful. She had the softest, most beautiful skin of anyone I’ve ever met – even on her deathbed! She told me that she had been taking care of her skin since she was a young girl, about 12 years old. She used Pond’s Cream religiously. 

Sunday morning came and I found out that she wasn’t expected to live past 2 days, maybe less. I needed to leave right away if I was going to see her alive. And I knew I would regret not trying to speak with her before she passed away. So off I went on the seven hour drive to hopefully see her one last time. 

I was blessed to be able to tell her my memories and her influence on my life. She chuckled at my remembrances, said she loved me and that I was doing a good job with my family. Bittersweet moments.  The next day she quietly slipped away into our next great adventure. I asked myself why I didn’t spend some time taking my kids to see her more. I allowed my busy life and past perceptions from bad experiences to color my choices. Sadly, my kids only met her twice and didn’t get to experience her culinary skills. 

She was a fabulous cook, baking the best pies (my favorite was lemon meringue) and various dinners that her 11 kids and 32 grandkids enjoyed over the years. There are currently 36 great-grandkids, with five on the way this year, and one great-great-granddaughter – my very own grandbaby, Scarlett. She would have turned 89 this year. She would send birthday cards to each grand and great-grand child every year until recently, when her eyesight failed her. She was the epitome of the “Leave it to Beaver” era.  

God and faith were a big part of her life. Even if she hadn’t married a preacher she would have followed the Christian faith. We didn’t talk much about God (my grandfather more than made up for that!), but she walked out her faith in her life.

I was privileged to be touching and talking to her, when she suddenly opened her eyes and looked up to the ceiling. Her breathing slowed and quieted, then a single tear slipped out of her eye. She closed her eyes and quietly slipped away. It was gentle and beautiful. I believe she was seeing her family greet her and feeling the love of God surround her. 

Once again I was confronted with the question, “What do I want to be remembered for?” I hope it’s love, joy, and giving. I hope it’s fun, thoughtfulness, acceptance and support. I hope I pass these qualities on to my kids and grandkids, and any greats that I’m privileged to know.  A legacy is not material, but rather spiritual since we are spirits ourselves.  I hope I use my time on Earth wisely, unconditionally loving those around me.

What do you want to be remembered for? What will you be remembered for? There’s always time for change, for as long as you breath.

As my mother said shortly after her mom passed, “Don’t wait until someone is dying to say you love them.”

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