This is my family’s first Mother Day’s without our mother.
She made it to 92, so we can’t feel cheated.
Steel-mill asbestos ended my father’s life at 71. As his lungs slowly disintegrated, non-stop coughing sometimes dislocated his ribs.
Mother also suffered declining health, and resulting depression, and — like my dad — fearlessly welcomed death.
A recent visit to their graves made me reflect on their lives.
Both grew up in large, Depression-era, east-Texas farming families. They raised four sons and two daughters, and multi-racial grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces and nephews.
My carpenter dad loved hunting, fishing and tall tales with his buddies. Deprived of the sports opportunities his sons enjoyed, he could still outrun us into his 50s.
Mother’s life centered around her extended family and Pentecostal church.
Her true tales about childhood were as entertaining as my dad’s embellished ones. In her ever-present dress, she played Wiffle-baseball with us into her 70s — and once rescued a daughter from an irate bull.
My communion in my parents’ final resting place summoned no profound insights … or maybe it did.
Small pleasures fulfilled them: cookouts on the “20 acres,” laughing with friends who “stopped by,” kids playing, good grades, a dependable car, a rotary phone, gardening, livestock grazing, and cliches like working hard, keeping their word, helping trustworthy strangers, being there for others during sad times.