By request of my folks, there was to be no memorial service, no viewing, no obituary in the papers - no nothin'. But, they didn't say anything about a blog post - so here goes.
My mother, Virginia Lucille Edwards, was born in semi-rural Oklahoma in 1917. The youngest of 3 children, with two sisters, her upbringing was pretty much normal for the times. But consider - this was in the days before a lot of rural areas had electricity, she mentioned going to town in a horse-drawn wagon, and life wasn't exactly as easy as we have it now. I don't know much of her life before she met my father - but she was a telephone operator, living in a boarding house across from the telephone exchange in Stillwater, Oklahoma when she met my father, while he was going to a technical school there. They clicked - and got married in 1943 after a brief courtship. (Six weeks, according to Father.) She moved to Oakland, CA, until Father got out in late '45 and they moved near his family in Spokane, WA. (He was offered a Chief's rating if he would have stayed an extra six months - he says he wished he'd taken them up on it, but that's for a different posting...)
Mother didn't have an easy time with the Lawson family. Certain members of the family thought she was too fancy for Father (and a picture from when they got married showed Mother as one heck of a babe and a classy, elegant dresser. Father definitely got himself a catch...) and tried (with little success) to 'manage' the marriage with an apparent end of splitting them up. (Never did get all the details on that, but it apparently caused some significant heartburn between Father and the rest of the family.) Mother 'won' in the end, and they moved to Tacoma, Washington, which eased things considerably. (She also outlived those who wanted to split them up - sometimes revenge just takes a while.) They had (by all accounts) a pretty good time there. Clamdigging, going dancing on occasion, raising my brother...
Mother turned into a classic housewife, raising my brother and (eventually) me when I came along. Shortly after my arrival, they moved from the rather temperate climate near Seattle to the rather untemperate climate of El Paso, Texas. Mother wasn't happy with the move... but stuck it out. In 1968 we moved to St. Louis - and that wasn't much better. (From sunny and dry to hot and wet in the summer, cold and wet in the winter.) Father turned the 'sun room' in the back of the house into a plant room, where she grew African Violets and geraniums, and a section of the basement into a place where she could do her plaster work. (Hobby work in the early '70s tended towards stuff like that, and macrame. They followed the trends, kind of...)
She also started doing some flower arranging, with modest success, around that period. There wwere flower shows, and she entered - getting sufficient awards to keep trying. In 1976 Father retired, and they moved to Belen, New Mexico - a small town about a half-hour out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. That lasted until about 1979, when relatives in Flint, Michigan persuaded the two of them to relocate there. Mother described it as "The worst mistake we ever made" - and Father's description was... "It didn't quite work out the way we thought."
They moved back to New Mexico around 1982, found a nice house - and stayed there for 25 years.
During that time, Mother became something of a terror at the New Mexico State Fair. Starting with her pies and cakes, she began winning ribbons - and then dominating categories. She branched out into decorated cakes, candy and candy boxes (made of marzipan) - and it was the rare Fair season she didn't walk off with fewer than 5 blue ribbons and a host of second and third place ribbons.
(When my lovely bride and I got married, they insisted on catering the wedding. They did a lot of the prep work in Albuquerque, froze the food and kept it on dry ice while driving cross-country for about 2000 miles. Then they finished the prep work over about three days here in Atlanta. Mother was about 75 at the time. That's love there, folks...)
Health problems started making themselves known, and eventually they decided a permanent move to Atlanta would be a wise thing. She got to watch Aaron grow for almost four years, and it was good to have her nearby.
In September 2009, she fell and hit her head, and was admitted for intracranial bleeding. She was released in October, and put under hospice care since by all indications she was failing and had only a short time to live. But she hung on - and on... and finally yesterday decided that it was time.
I miss her. We all do.
Perhaps I've read too much Terry Pratchet - but I recall the ending of the book "Reaper Man", where the anthropomorphic Death is exceedingly kind to a lonely old woman who takes him in when he's forced to be human for a time - taking her to a dance where she has the time of her life, dancing all night long, feeling good and stronger and younger than she has in many years. Afterwards, he informs her that she is indeed dead, and reunites her with the shade of her smuggler fiance who was killed in an avalanche many years back. They fade away, together.
Now, with Death's help, Mother now looks like her wedding picture - happy, healthy, smiling and dressed to the nines, waiting for Father to come join her.
And then they're going to go out and have some fun, like they haven't partied in decades.