My mom died on the first Saturday of June of this year. It was an unexpected death for me (though she was not unprepared), because, like all children everywhere, I think I believed our parents would always be with us even though my dad died thirty-six years plus ago of the last in a series of heart attacks he refused to ever acknowledge.
Mom's last decades were in Florida where she moved to avoid the snows of New Jersey after decades in the NYC metropolitan area. When we'd talk on the phone more often than not she was either just heading to or returning from "the beach" which in this case was the Atlantic Ocean, which I am told, just across the street from her house.
I just smiled typing that line but I've not had too many smiles since she passed. I'm very much looking forward to the celebration of her life going on, where else but, on the Jersey Shore four Saturdays from today. I'm hoping to gain an even greater sense of what all of us in attendance had with Mom as a part of our lives. Whatever I gather has to last me the rest of my life so I hope I can choose wisely and well.
I had occasion to read through her death certificate earlier this week in connection with something that only Mom would have had the foresight and thoughtfulness to have arranged in advance and the following day I encountered this article in the New England Journal of Medicine from which, though the situation differs in many respects from Mom's passing, I have derived a great deal of comfort and it helped remind me that she was both the epitome of grace under pressure and a true profile in courage.