I am not sure during all of my growing up years that I was closer to my father or mother. I think it stayed about the same all of the time. We, my sister, Pam and I grew up in a fabulous household. There never was any kind of favorite that I can remember.
We are both elderly now and we commented just yesterday that we were very fortunate in the household that we were in. We got whipped on the legs with a branch from the tree in our side yard, but that was really fairly minor as we remember it.
Several years ago my husband, Rodney and I drove down to Arkansas City to see my mother. She was the last of our four parents to still be alive. She obviously was in bad shape, but I had an appointment Monday so we drove home Sunday evening. Monday morning Joel Wright and I were sitting in a room talking with the woman we had the appointment with. I was not mentioning my mother’s illness at all. But at some point Joel brought up the fact that we had been to see her and she was obviously dying. At that point the woman we were talking with turned to me and really bawled me out. She asked me why we weren’t still down there and urged me to go back down immediately. I acknowledged that my husband and I would drive down to Arkansas City as soon as I got back home.
We arrived in Arkansas City about mid-afternoon and found that my mother was in her bed with her consciousness coming and going. She was drifting in and out of consciousness and not really aware of our being there. After we grabbed a bit of supper I went in her bedroom and sat on the edge of her bed. I spent the next number of hours talking to her and singing to her. I kept telling her that we were okay and that she could go ahead and die any time she wanted to. I was never conscious of her understanding me, but I kept that kind of conversation going all night. I also sang a lot for her…church hymns, popular songs, anything that I could think of.
Early morning…about 6:00am Jean came in and checked how mother’s feet felt. They were very cold…no life in them at all. Jean commented that mother would die in just a bit. She called the nurse, who had to come from Wellington. But that nurse was the one who would say when mother was dead and call the undertaker. This all happened in a couple of hours. The undertakers came in and checked mother after her death. They wanted to know if I wanted to leave the room and I said, “No, I would stay right there.”
They removed her night gown and wrapped a sheet around her. All of this after they determined that she was indeed dead. They then put her on a stretcher and walked her out the front door. As they turned the corner and headed out the door the picture of mother and daddy at the other end of the living room fell over. This seemed very strange. Why that picture fell or what that meant I didn’t know, but I brought that picture home with me and it sits in my bedroom now.
We then called our children and the pastor. We became busy setting the funeral date, talking with the Funeral House, and taking care of all of the “death has happened” details. I never felt closer to my mother than I did in those few hours.