Nancie’s Blog

When a Mother Dies

4

Something big happens to a family when a mother dies.      

 

Odd thing, death. I never get used to it. You would think I would, by now. My uncles: Bernhard; Hub; Tony; Kenny; Ray; My aunts Evelyn; Emma. My grandmother, Maude Ann. My beloved mother, Harriet and my father, Gunder. I say their names, because these elders of mine…my elders…let me stand on their shoulders.

And today, we had another death in the family. My mother-in-law, Betty, died this morning a little before 9, joining her husband, Harold, in the Presence of God. She just turned 93. A long life, yes. Well lived, yes. But still…it is over. We knew it was going to happen; we had hospice. We all prayed for mercy, for Jesus to gather her to Himself. And yet when death came, we were startled, somewhat stunned. “Are you all right,” we ask each other, just to make sure of each other. “You still there? Good. So am I.” Unexpected tears flow.

My son Eric calls, asking me, “What was Grandma’s favorite dinner?”

“Well, I guess it would be pot roast…with carrots, mashed potatoes and gravy. And pie for dessert. With ice cream.” So on his lunch hour he went to the store, got the ingredients for a pot roast dinner and we had Mom’s “Sunday dinner” tonight, Tuesday night.

Something big happens to a family when a mother dies. Even if she is older, and can’t remember anyone’s names; even if she can’t make her special pies and recipes anymore. She is the mother, the grandmother. The matriarch. The heart of the family that holds things together.  She represents the core of the family, and family revolves around her.

How does one prepare for death in the midst of life? In the midst of Christmas?

Just live: Savor every moment, every beautiful moment. Today, I babysat my eight-month old grandson; did piano lessons with my ten year old grandson; and watched my eight year old grandson practice hoops. I wrapped Christmas gifts for our kids in California who won’t make it home for Christmas. Admired the Christmas trees and lights. Talked with each one of my children, loving the sounds of their voices.714

Tomorrow we will do the work of putting a much-loved life to rest. But tonight we listen to music and the swirl of conversation and laughter of family, savoring creamy mashed potatoes. And rhubarb pie—with a scoop of ice cream—and a great cup of coffee.

About the Author

Nancie CarmichaelNancie lives in a tiny mountain community in Central Oregon. She has written many books including "Selah" and "Surviving One Bad Year." She speaks at a variety of conferences and retreats. She and her husband Bill are publishers and parents of five grown children and 11 grandchildren.View all posts by Nancie Carmichael

  1. Linda Dixon
    Linda Dixon12-10-2014

    Nancie. What a great tribute. Love to all your family.It is never easy.What a lovely thing for a grandson to think of something so special to do.

  2. Carly Carmichael
    Carly Carmichael12-10-2014

    Love you! xoxo

  3. cmg
    cmg12-11-2014

    We’ve been reminiscing today aboutBetty and Harold. Honoring thoughtfully
    How they lived their faith simply. What a legacy……from generation to generation! we wrap our hearts around you all in love. you are correct…..there is something fundamental in losing a parent, no matter what their age o ours.
    Xoxo

Leave a Reply