supposed to die

Death and life and in-between

Nora Young Mom red hat

I'm down in the little house where I grew up. So strange to think I have lived in the house I share with my husband for more years than I lived here. But this is what feels like home in a deep, to-the-bone way.

My mom was in the hospital for three days and then discharged on oxygen. What will happen next is kind of an open question. Us three kids are all rallying around her to take care of her. I will spend nearly two weeks here, and after that my sister plans to spend a week. My brother lives around the corner.

A hospice nurse in Australia complied a list of the top five regrets of the dying. I asked my mom about each one.

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
My mom has always been an outlier - a little louder, a little livelier, a little more colorfully dressed. She makes friends with everyone.

I was here about a month ago, and we were walking through the historic cemetery that we both love. I saw some creepy homeless guys riding bikes and mentally braced myself to deal with them. Only it turns out they were not creepy homeless guys to my mom. She was hugging them and introducing me to her "friend" - a sunburned tweaker (or maybe ex-tweaker) with missing teeth. And you could tell he loved her right back.

It's wonderful to hang out with someone who is nearly 80. Two percent milk is sadly deficient and what's wrong with strawberry shortcake - more whipped cream, please! - for dinner?


2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
My mom got a job as a florist when I was about 12, and did work more than she wanted to, but she was able to take it easier in her later years.  The nurse said this was a comment she heard much more from men.


3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
You always know where you stand with my mom.  Usually it's that she loves you.


4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
2013-06-19 11.45.20
Mom and her "flower girls" - ladies who worked together at the flower shop years ago.


5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This was the only one that made mom hesitate, but then she shook her head no.

This is a longer version of the article. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying
Her spirits are good, and sometimes feisty. I do okay if I don't think about how things will change at some point. Which we all know, but don't really believe.
If you told her you loved it, she would take it off her neck.

I think she has decided to live! It can't last forever, but nothing lasts forever.
The world could learn a lot from your mom. What a treasure.