I lost my mom last week. She lived a long, long life, and for the great majority of it had seemed indestructible. She carried her youthfulness with her almost to the finish line.
It is sad, or perhaps fitting that she passed away at the doorstep of Springtime. Spring was by far her favorite season, to the point where it partly defined who she was. It was the renewal of life intrinsic to the season that captivated her. The way that dead ground and dormant bulbs became a wellspring of new beginnings, new growth, and new promise. She loved the lengthening days and the warmer air, and the freedom of going back outside, which in Buffalo is a cause of real celebration. But above all it was the flowers. The snowdrops, the crocuses, the daffodils. Each and every year they seemed true miracles to her. The way she so often seemed a miracle to others.
I talked to her on the phone not long before she died. It was late morning at the assisted living facility where she had recently moved. Her eyesight was failing, her memory uncertain, and it had become more difficult to have a conversation the way we once did. She was in bed when I called, about to take a nap. She had some difficulty, even there by her window, describing the day’s weather for me. But she understood completely as I described to her the coming season she loved so much. And as we ended the call, our last, she was cheerful, and looking forward. Apparently, she then slipped into her nap, from which she did not awaken.
But sometimes that which appears to be gone is only in a different state. Later that day we heard from a friend that a clump of snowdrops, which my mother had given to her, had started to bloom.