Sunday, August 21, 2016

For my Mom

My Mom passed away on the 1st of August - not entirely surprising due to her poor health, but still not what we expected.  She was recovering in a rehab center in Arizona after open heart surgery, and while her recovery was slow, we were all fully expecting her to be released.  On the night prior, she fell and the fall itself caused complications. 
1975ish - the year I was born.
I think it's been hard for all of us (my three sisters) to adjust to this strange new reality where my Mom just isn't.  I listened to a message she had left me the day before, and while memory issues and general weakness were apparent, her voice sounded strong.  We were making plans for her to come live with us in Washington, as her health issues had gotten to the point she couldn't live alone anymore. 

I can never complain about my childhood.  My Mom was a tough lady - being German, living through World War II, and carrying her heritage proudly wrapped around her.  She became an American citizen in 1967 and loved her new country more than anything.  It was a defining moment for her.
The day Mom became an American.

Mom and Dad loved each other tremendously and stuck it out through many hard times. 

Note from my Dad to my Mom.  He was in the Army for over 26 years.
Even in the lean times, we had a home and love.  ...and in the not so lean times, we had animals.  I think Mom and Dad were miffed about my animal-loving ways, but never said no when I asked.  I even remember my Dad calling me one time and asking if I had had an orange cat yet, and when I said no, he told me to ask my mother if we could have another cat.  We had all kind of animals growing up - birds, chickens, ducks, rabbits, rodents, goats, sheep, dogs (Great Danes and Golden's) and of course all manner of horses.  Mom loved them all. As Mom got a little more frail, her dogs got a little smaller - Rosie was the last pup she had, rescued from the pound. 
One of the toughest things to face for me, and I think I just need to fixate on something, is the loss of Mom's phone number.  My sister is handling Mom's affair, as she is still local, and we've decided to give Mom's number one more month before having it disconnected, just to capture any calls that might need handling.  ....but, this has been the number I've used to call home for over 25 years.  It has been the lifeline for so many things - when I wasn't feeling well in school and needed Mom, when I passed a college final, when the vet called to tell me that our beloved Golden Daisy passed away during surgery, when I needed reassurance during my first job, when my car broke down and I desperately needed my Dad to rescue me, the number Aaron called when we first started dating and I didn't have a cell phone, and the number I called to tell Mom Aaron and I eloped...  Even now, when I wanted to tell her about our new adventures in Washington, it was hidden beneath the familiar name "Mom" on my iPhone, but it was still there.  It was the number  I could reach out to share the highs and low of life and the security of knowing Mom was just a phone call away will be gone.
Mom and Sam.
Thanks to loving neighbors who helped to keep an eye on my Mom, and who were quick to jump the fence or give me a call, Mom was able to stay in the house my Dad bought for her 31 years ago, which was what she wanted more than anything.  After Aaron and I married, instead of finding horse property of our own, we kept my horses on her property and I made daily visits out there to feed and check on her.  Of course, I always brought a pup along, and Mom enjoyed seeing our Golden's as much as having company.
Mom and Harlow
When Daddy passed away 13 years ago, Mom sort of quit living.  She was lost with my Dad, and she was waiting to join him again.  My only hope is that they've found each other and Mom is finally at peace.

I love you, Mom.

Margarete Maria Sturm
June 19, 1942 - August 1, 2016