"A healthy body is a guest chamber for the soul, and a sick one is a prison." … Francis Bacon
After battling cancer for a year and a half, my mother has been released from the prison of her decimated body. She was a great reader, and a seeker after truth. She was far ahead of her time in pursuing physical fitness — she was known in the early seventies as "the crazy lady who walks". She walked, she ran,she swam, she lifted weights, she did yoga and pilates, and she was strong. Her body was strong, too. But in the end, her body could no longer support her spirit and now her adventure continues elsewhere.
When you don’t know exactly what it is that you want, it’s hard to get it. Mom lived much of her life in roles defined by the "now I’m supposed to"s of society as she knew it. This did not always make her happy. Sometimes she made choices in life that she later regretted. Be that as it may, whatever course she chose, she always did her level best, whether "being a mother" or directing the Girl Scout Day Camp, or selling welding supplies.
The following is an excerpt from the Mother’s Day note I wrote to her, shortly after her cancer diagnosis.
"You mentioned that I should remember to get a card. Instead, I decided to remember some of the special things you did for me. These are not the only good things that happened to me when I was growing up. They are the special things that you did for me and that weren’t "family" things.
Green peppermint icing and horses on my birthday cake; Reading Dr.Seuss to me; Bringing me to the library; Encouraging me to read aloud; Introducing me to story poems; Taking me to swim every day in the summer; Trips to the zoo and the Pink Palace; Teaching me to ride a bicycle; Working feverishly to help me finish my Bear Badge and Arrowhead requirements; Riding the tandem bicycle with me; Cooking over the fire at Alley Springs; Singing around the piano with the Mitch Miller and Scribner books; Supper every night at six, reliable as clockwork; Scrabble games; Raspberry cream pie; Getting me to try and like beef tongue, chicken gizzards, and bone marrow; Teaching me to sew; Hauling me to band-camp and back; Showing me Gene Kelley’s dancing; Finding that homecoming corsage when the one I paid for wasn’t delivered; Welcoming Libby into the family."
Her memorial service today filled our church with her friends, old and new.
In everything that she did, she did her level best. God grant that when I die, someone will believe that of me.
Requiescat in pace.