I guess as a writer, most life events get analyzed and thought about, and eventually written about. And this is one of those times.  My mom, 89 years old, feisty, independent to the end, passed last Sunday morning.  She was in the hospital, a place she had avoided since giving birth to me (the same year Alaska became a state!), but it was the place we had to bring her just so she could breathe a little easier, and get discharged with an oxygen tank and home care.  But, it was not meant to be.  Minutes before I came to spend Sunday with her, both her breathing and heart stopped.  Quiet and simple, just as she wanted.  Though cancer did appear in her lungs, and probably liver, they said after a good night’s sleep, her heart gave out. 

As we remembered Ma over these last few days, we were amazed at how ready she was to go, so it wasn’t a totally sad affair.  Her paper delivery had been cancelled two weeks ago — this from a woman who read The Daily News faithfully every day, and had the crossword puzzle pretty much completed by noon.  She had given envelopes to my older brother and I with her last wishes, she had her dress ready, money in a joint account for her funeral arrangements, even chose the hymns for her mass, and left this warning:  “no crying.”

Yesterday was a glorious day, sunny and cool, a day Ma would have loved because it meant she’d get out to the stores, holding on tight to her rolling shopping cart, AKA “walker.”  As her casket lay at the plot where my Dad lies buried, I knew she was truly happy: to be with our father again after 30 years of widowhood.  She’d been strong to the end, and we know she’s at peace.

I’m back at the editor’s desk here at Hudson Valley Parent with a new outlook on “preparedness.”  It’s something we should not put off.  It will not only put your mind at ease, but your family’s as well.  No matter your age, if you own a home and have children, visit a lawyer or at least research your options so that’s in order.  If you have bank accounts, make sure they are in the right names, or changed to a joint account.  If your family’s home has not been appraised for decades, do so before you put it on the market.  And last, create your living will and sign the DNR if that is your plan.  It made what was a difficult time easier because the wishes of my Mom were carried out to the letter. 

As we head to September, and what is traditionally the season of “new beginnings,” let’s take stock, fix what needs fixin’, correct what needs correcting, and hug your loved ones every day.