It was a year ago that my Mom passed away peacefully. Like my Dad, she was at least at home, and also like him, the end came with her still functioning well physically and mentally. For the last 29 years of her life she lived in her home state of Indiana. I visited numerous times, and at first it was strange because I had always associated the place my parents called home with the house I grew up in back in California. But I soon grew to like the house, especially after my parents added their personal touches.
For Mom that meant keeping the place tidy, while for Dad it meant practically rebuilding it. Dad was a do it yourself type, and loved any projects that involved his hands. Plumbing, electrical, woodworking, painting, auto repair, it didn't matter, he could do it all. Though in the case of the house, (which is old), he often wondered what he had gotten himself into.
Mom was more than happy to leave home projects like that to Dad, especially when something wasn't going quite right and he had to be creative with swearing in case either myself or my siblings were around. But she was a workaholic in many ways. She worked for much of her adult life, including almost her entire time in Indiana at the local hospital. She didn't retire until she was 82.
Her heart issues kept her from having the energy she wanted, but that didn't slow her down. A family joke was at her services, her ghost would first vacuum and dust the church, scold any of her children if they were slouching in their seats, and then tell everyone her favorite pet stories.
She loved animals, and two were among the joys of her life. When I was in high school, after finally outgrowing the boyhood pets of assorted turtles, fish, lizards and an undetermined species or two, (none of which lasted more than a few years), I pestered Mom about getting a dog. She wasn't too keen on the idea, but I persisted and one day answered an ad in the paper about six mixed breed puppies. I picked out the shyest one, who won Mom over and became the legendary Ruffles.
Mom spoiled that dog rotten, but was rewarded with unconditional love and affection. When Ruffles finally passed on, Mom was inconsolable and never stopped talking about her. Then came her second special pet, a little feral kitten named Pixie. Pixie quickly learned how to wrap Mom around her little paw and found out in return just how good Ruffles had it. Whenever Mom and I talked on the phone the conversation always included Pixie's latest adventures. Considering she is pretty rambunctious, there was always an adventure.
Mom would always ask about our cats, even though she never met them. I know she would have called weekly, if not more often, to hear the latest about the stray cat and kittens that ventured into the yard, and ended up being adopted, (details in a blog post to come).
I'll always miss Mom, but there is the comfort that she is reunited with Dad, and her family members who went before her. And I'm sure Ruffles was at heaven's gate to greet her, though hopefully not with supper dish in her mouth as the dog did have a hearty appetite.