by Judy Watters
I love Thursdays with my sister, Virginia, and my 93-year old mom. I drive the 35 miles to be there by 8:15 a.m. and always find them just waking. We spend two hours over coffee and toast. At 11:00, I help Mom shower then I set her hair in pink curlers, so she can be pretty for her Bible College class that night. By then, it’s time for lunch.
The entire morning, we chatter non-stop about everything–loved ones, church, world and local news, and even politics. Virginia’s husband stays just long enough to eat, then for some unknown reason, he disappears and leaves us to our day.
This past Thursday our conversation took a strange twist. It went like this:
Mom: I felt so good when I woke up this morning. Not one pain. You know, I read somewhere that people feel good three days before they die.
Me: Really? I never heard that. Let’s see. Today is Thursday; three days from now is Sunday. That’s not a good day, Mom. You wouldn’t want to disrupt church services.
Mom: Are you sure it’s Sunday? I thought it was Saturday.
Virginia: Wait…(She gets her calendar off the pantry door. With Virginia, if it’s not on the calendar, then it wasn’t planned in advance, and therefore, a huge disruption to her schedule.)
Mom, you know Sunday is a busy day around here with choir practice and the kids going to youth group. That’s not going to work.
Me: Then there’s the memorial service to plan. If you die on Sunday, memorial would be Wednesday, and remember, Thursday is my day with you, not Wednesday.
Mom: Oh, I hadn’t thought that far in advance. But I don’t want any memorial where people gawk at me and say how good I look. I’ll be dead; how good can that be?
Me: No memorial? Memorials are for the living; you have so many friends.
Mom: My good friends will understand.
Me: You’ll need to be transported to Pennsylvania for burial. Plane tickets are very expensive if you don’t schedule 2 weeks in advance. Larry and I can’t pay full price right now.
Mom: Well, no one needs to make that trip. Just have the funeral home pick me up in Elmira; they’ll take me from there.
Virginia: We really want to go with you; you will just have to wait. Let’s see what July or August looks like. (She turns the pages of the calendar.)
Me: Mom,we’re really tight this year. Now that I’m retired, we’re down to one income. I don’t think we can swing it at all this year. Next year might look better. You’ll just have to put off dying for a while.
Mom (with her usual sweet smile): Oh, okay.
End of subject.
Have you ever had a serious talk with a loved one that turned as silly as our talk did? Write it down. It will make great reading for your generations to come.
In May 2013, Judy Sheer Watters published her first memoir, The Road Home: The Legacy that was, is, and is to Come. Her blog encourages women to write their stories. Judy teaches legacy writing classes, facilitates Hill Country Christian Writers, and Hill Country Bloggers in Bulverde, Texas. She and her husband have three grown children and one dog.