On September 3, 1985, I got up at 3am to wish my mother a wonderful trip to France. I was so glad I made the effort, because she died in her sleep later that evening on the plane. That was 30 years ago. The last photo of her was taken just 10 weeks earlier when she came to my graduate school graduation in San Francisco.
Here’s one of my best gifts from my mother:
We moved every few years due to my father’s career. One of the first things that would appear in the new kitchen when she unpacked was an old index card with a yellowed newspaper clipping from Dear Abby taped to it. She would put that on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. Here’s what it said:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
She and my dad had some difficult years in their marriage. They went to marital therapy (in the 60’s!) and worked it out. I think their last few years together before his early death were happy ones. She had a deep spirituality and I think that is what got her through it. Sadly, I began to understand and value that when I could no longer talk to her about it. Nevertheless, I am glad to have received that gift. Thanks, Mom.