This was a hard week. It was hard in that Loren’s Mom died in the early afternoon on Tuesday, March 12. One good thing is that Loren, his two sisters and I were by her side, and the Hospice nurse and Hospice chaplain were there with us in her bedroom too. When the chaplain arrived she read passages from the Bible, said a prayer, and we all joined in together saying the Lord’s Prayer. Within moments she took her last breath.
One thing that stood out is that for the past several months Loren’s Mom would ask me,
“Is today Tuesday?”
Sometimes she would ask,
“Is today Sunday?”
More often, she would ask if it was Tuesday. I suppose it is simply a coincidence that she died on a Tuesday, but her voice asking me this will remain in my memory, as will so many other delightful aspects of the woman who turned 93 years old in January, the one who gave birth to and lovingly raised Loren and his two sisters.
I learned this week that she enjoyed putting together jigsaw puzzles with her kids, as my Mom and I had done. Loren and I worked on this one that his sister had put out for all of us to work on when we were at their house but not in Loren’s Mom’s room. We finished it earlier this week. By chance it happens to be of an area of the Cinque Terre, in Italy.
Loren’s Mom led a full life. I know of it mainly since meeting Loren later in the same year that her mother had died. I did have the privilege to spend some time with her brother – Loren’s Mom’s uncle, who was just five years older than Loren’s Mom.
She, maybe nearly as much as her elder daughter, enjoyed having pets over the years. This currently includes two birds and a cat.
When I met the family it was nearly a decade after Loren and his Dad had completed building a Dome house at Clear Lake, the second home where we enjoyed many long weekends and special holidays over the next few years. After Loren’s Dad died it became too much to manage and was understandably sold.
Loren’s Mom made one visit to Italy, the country where her parents hailed from. The tour she went with, guided by the Italian language teacher whose class she had attended, took her to the south of Italy. She never did see the northern province of Piemonte where her mother and father were raised before they each immigrated to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, respectively. They later met in Oakland, where she was born.
Loren and I enjoyed wonderful weekend getaways together with his Mom to Napa and to Yosemite National Park, and, we remember with fondness the times when she came to visit or to stay overnight or to stay for a weekend with us at our home in San Jose.
She had a keen sense of humor, and liked to play practical jokes. It only dawned on me some few years ago just who Loren had picked up his same trait from. She was always cheery and positive, often cooing her joy at whatever situation currently pleased her.
Tuesday was a sunny day, like the day before had been, and like each day since has been. It reminds me now how she would so often call on the phone and say,
“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!”
Her bedroom window looked out into the backyard, including onto the prolific lemon tree that Loren’s sister tends and that provides such juicy and tasty fruit.
That evening, Loren and I took a long hike at nearby Lake Chabot. We encountered flooded trails from the most recent series of storms, and saw some wildlife. It is always healing to be in the midst of nature, well, at least after the storms have passed.
I will end this week with one more saying that Loren’s Mom enjoyed, and knowing that we will one day in the not too distant future, again,
“See ‘ya later alligator, in a little while crocodile.”