About 150,000 people die everyday. Yesterday it was my mother’s turn to die.
She lived for 88 years, 2 months, and 20 days.
This is the earliest picture I have of her.
She’s a 12 year old girl, spending the day at the sea, somewhere in Wales, near the farm where she was born.
It looks like the day was gray and cloudy.
The next picture I have comes from her World War Two days. She was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. I think she was 18 in this picture.
I was born – in England — when she was 22. She told me about the days during the war when explosions from V2 rockets made me cry.
From the late 1940s through the 1970s, home for our Army family was mostly on the northeast coast of the United States.
From the 1970s through 2007, she lived in Florida and Louisiana. She played competitive tennis into her mid 70s.
She got old after Hurricane Katrina.
She couldn’t take care of herself anymore. My Oregon brother said he’d take care of her.
He and I rented a small RV in New Orleans and drove 2800 miles, nonstop, to her new home at the Oregon Coast, about 5,000 miles from the beach in Wales where decades ago a 12 year old girl posed with hands on her hips, blissfully unaware of a future life impossible to predict.
Friday was the last time I saw her.
My brother said he thought she might live a few more days.
When I kissed her forehead, I felt a warmth and strength from her skin that told me the woman who taught me to love books and language and independence would live much longer than that.