Today is the anniversary of Mom’s passing. She was 89 years young. Beautiful skin. Sexy legs, I used to tell her as she blushed. She never drove. She walked and rode the public bus all over Los Angeles County. And I mean all over. From her apartment in Orange County, her favorite bus drivers picked her up at the bus stop and she traveled all the way to Farmer’s Market on Fairfax on the west side of L.A. to buy her raisin bread. My older sister was often frustrated at Mom’s all-day adventures. She can buy bread around the corner she’d tell me in exasperation. I reminded her, “It’s about the journey.”
But dementia began to present itself. One day, Mom’s bus driver recognized her wandering not far from her apartment. Bless this wonderful man, he picked her up and delivered her back home. My siblings and I agreed it was time to find full-time supervision for Mom and the best option was board-and-care. For the next four years, she lived in a lovely residential neighborhood “happily demented” (as someone once described her sweet mother with dementia) where she died peacefully.
Long before, though, Mom had pre-arranged for her ashes to be scattered at sea. The small boat was able to accommodate the family, including the grandchildren. On that beautiful clear morning off the Pacific Coast, the captain, a chaplain, read her beautiful prayer for Mom and I gave a eulogy. Then the captain gently released Mom’s ashes into the placid waters. As the boat quietly circled around, we tossed flower petals and bid Mom a good journey.
In this time of coronavirus, Louie and I are grateful that our elders have passed on their own terms.
Last evening, we stood outside for the “7PM CHEER” to applaud and pay tribute to our SUPERHEROES around the country -- healthcare personnel, grocery employees, shoppers and delivery drivers -- tirelessly working long hours bringing to sheltering residents much needed food and goods, and saving precious lives stricken by Covid-19. It was just us and our neighbors Teresa and Denis down the street. For one minute we clapped our hands while Louie tapped a wooden spoon on an iron skillet. Every night this ritual will acknowledge our deepest appreciation for their exemplary work -- until this marathon ends.