From Mudflats, an obituary. The love overwhelms:

It is strange not having a mother. The woman who taught me how to tie my shoes, and how to make a white sauce, and how to use a maxi pad, and how to have empathy for even the unlikeliest of creatures. The woman who was one of my Girl Scout leaders, showing us how to plant marigolds, and guiding Troop 714 successfully through the  Ethelportrait1-329x500requirements to earn the Pet Badge.

You’d have to know her to appreciate this little daydream, but if I had to make up a fairy tale end for my mom, I picture her sitting at the beach on a 70 degree day with low relative humidity, no mosquitoes, eating a bowl of homemade clam chowder, and corn on the cob that wasn’t too mealy, and peaches dead ripe. There might be a never ending bowl of black jelly beans on the table. And she’d be with Dad, and her mother, and all her four-legged children that predeceased her – Spuddy Jinx and Skippy Peter, and Cleo and Fifi and Pepper who’d be running on the beach and not rolling in dead eels. And Luciano Pavarotti would live next door in the Myzak’s old house and practice arias all day on the deck. He’d occasionally have Joan Sutherland over for a barbecue.

In some ways she lived a life of regret. She never became an opera singer as she’d dreamed as a child. She never graduated from college. She never became a nurse, or a lab technician. But a caregiver she was, and a darn good teacher. She may never have gotten a paycheck for it, but she sure earned one. And even though at times she could be hard on her fellow adults, she gave endlessly to those who couldn’t do for themselves – her ailing mother, her children, her animals everywhere. She never failed the ones who really needed her.

Which is why she lives on.

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