Say Hi to Daddy, Mom

Mom has suffered from Alzheimer's for many, many years. I last visited with her three years ago when I was helping Daddy move into smaller quarters. He died last December, having still visited her daily until he was confined to bed. She didn't know him even, but had enjoyed his company. She seemed to miss him, and was constantly on the move, looking for him perhaps.

She had been doing poorly, had infections and fell a few times. About a week ago she came down with pneumonia, it was clear that it was only a matter of time until she passed away as well.

This afternoon, just before class, I saw a slew of emails in my inbox - with condolences for my middle brother. He had just posted her death on Facebook, I seem to get all comments every now and then for things he posts (he had mentioned me in the post). Even though her death was immanent, it was quite a shock to read it there. I took a deep breath, went into the classroom, and started to teach. My phone rang, and I did something I seldom do - I left the classroom to take the call. It was my other brother with the news.

What a strange feeling, even though one has been expecting it.

My mother was a mathematician, taught algebra and geometry and computer science and sports in high school. She tutored students on the side for extra money. She loved to sew, making many frilly dresses for me that I did not want to wear, as I wanted pants. We didn't see eye to eye on many issues, but all that is past now.

She was born in Canada to immigrant parents who moved on to the States. She went to the University of Pittsburgh and met Daddy while he was tutoring her in math. She passed, he failed and had to repeat the course ;) She followed him across the country, moving every few years for a new transportation job for him and starting over as a teacher.

I moved to Europe at 19, and she came over with Daddy a few times to visit. What a strange place Europe was: they didn't take credit cards, stores were closed on Sundays, they had strange food and some places like the GDR were threatening. But she was brave, even taking off one day and getting on a train to Poland, just to say she had been there. And oh, my, the BARGAINS they had at the market just across the boarder!

She loved a bargain - getting something for less than someone else had paid was one of the things that made her happiest. So I hope they have some good shopping in heaven, Mom, may you find a bargain a day! And say Hi to Daddy, he'll be happy you're back with him.

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