I hadn’t expected to travel back to my childhood while watching mom take her leave, but scenes have resurrected drawing me through the years, to exchanges between mom and me. One such scene follows...
I was about 5 or 6 years old and was helping mom with the wash. We had a Maytag wringer washer outside in the shed. She was busy with the fifth baby and asked me to wring the clothes and hang them on the line.
All was fine - until my hair got caught in the rollers.
“Do you remember that day, Mom?”
“Oh yes, I remember. I was feeding your brother when you screamed. I laid him on the floor and ran out to see what was the matter.”
“I was so scared, mom. I couldn’t move; my head was against the washing machine.”
“I know, your hair was entangled in the rollers. When I got to you, I immediately pulled the plug and unscrewed the roller cover to release the pins. I was scared too, Gwen. It could have been much worse.”
Mom glanced at the floor as a tear rolled from her eye.
“I did the best I could,” she whispered.
“Mom, you gave each of us so much. Look at us now, the seven of us, we’re doing well. You taught us how.”
“Well, I want you to know that I tried. I realize now how much I depended on you, even when you were little.”
I smiled and said, “I think that’s why I became a school administrator, mom. I didn’t need any training to do that job.”
Mom giggled, and in that instant, I saw her as a little child and me as her mother.
“Rest now, okay? I love you very much and am so grateful for all that you’ve done for me and everyone else.”
Mom closed her eyes, and I quietly wept.
Soon, I will be saying my final goodbye.