On Mother’s Day, I posted an homage to my mom, Maggie, citing some of the reasons she has been a wonderful role model to my sister and me. This week, she passed away with the same grace and thoughtfulness she displayed throughout her life. She was eighty-six years old.
She wanted only me and my sister with her; she wanted to be home; she wanted no exceptional intervention. Blessedly, with the wonderful assistance of our local hospice organization (and my niece the med student), we were able to follow her directions and wishes, and provide some comfortable amenities for her as well.
As we have cared for her over the past few months, my sister and I have had some lovely opportunities to chat about Mummy, and some of the paradoxes in her life.
Although she trained in the biological sciences as a nurse, and those skills were never far away, her true calling was as a writer (and editor). She wrote everything from poetry to press releases, light humor pieces to editorials. Her checkbook was always balanced to the penny (a Scot to the core), but there was also a bit of the Celtic faerie about her – she always had a twinkle in those blue-grey eyes, and she could see the humor and find the balance in almost any situation.
She was successful at work at a time when women really weren’t taken seriously (just watch Mad Men), spent many dedicated hours on her favorite charities (mostly involving children – often disadvantaged or disabled), and also loved being a mommy (and aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother).
She enjoyed a drink (true to her heritage), and although she had an incredible imagination, she also had a canny sober view of life. She took her faith and responsibility to her family and community seriously, while always engaging her wit. She held her own in a man’s world, and never lost her feminine identity. She’s been a tough act to follow.
She really was brilliant, truly beautiful (inside and out), and the thing is, she never really got that. She never understood how mesmerized people were in the gaze of those big eyes, or how grateful they were for her friendship.