I’ll never forget my mother’s heart surgeon telling her there was nothing else they could do for her. We knew then it was the beginning. She and I would talk about dying, questions like, does everyone get to a point that they know they are ready? Do I think she will get to see her father?
We had many times this past year when we thought we would have to say goodbye. But she kept fighting. She wasn’t ready. She had more living to do. One thing she told me she wanted to do was see her great-grandchildren. In this picture you see the first time she got to meet her first great granddaughter, Claire.
Even though I wasn’t ready for her to go, in the end she made it very clear that she was. That comforts me so much to know she found out the answer to that question. As far as finding out if she will get to see her father, I can only believe she is with him now and I myself will learn the answer to that question one day.
I’ve heard people say to me recently, “She lives on in your heart.” My first reaction is to say so what, I don’t want her to live on there, I want her right here in the flesh. What good does living in my heart do? But I know in the days to come this will be what keeps me moving, going, living, growing.” Amongst many things in my heart will be what I learned from my mother.
I learned how to be a mother. I learned that the will to live is a powerful thing. That no matter how poor you are you can always be clean. To never buy clothing full price, always wait for it to go on sale. I learned how to fold fitted bed sheets, make a bed with hospital corners and keep a clean house. To always wear clothes that have been ironed. I learned that I am not a wonderful cook like my mother so marry someone who is. I learned how to make oxtail soup. I learned that how we treat people and what we do is more important than how we look, as she said, pretty is as pretty does. I learned that you can love your children equally. That you do anything for your family. I learned that being sick does not stop you. That if you truly want something you will do what it takes to achieve it. I learned not to whine. I learned that we don’t need religion to lead a spiritual life. I learned that there is no reason to apologize for being a strong willed, opinionated, fierce woman in this society. I learned how to be a Lauchstaedt woman. That you never hate people, only the devil hates. I learned that even though it is not cool, holding your mom’s hand while walking through the mall as a teenager is nice. To always have a good book to read. I learned that death can be a beautiful thing and you don’t have to say goodbye. I learned that everything is alright, as she told me that last night alles ist gut.