August 18, 2006. It's been five years since I received the phone call from Tony informing me that our mother had passed away. It wasn't a shock. She'd been in the hospital for a while and rapidly going down hill. In fact, Tony, Orvis and I met for lunch the next day and, reluctantly, expressed the relief we felt. It was reassuring to all of us that we were all feeling relieved. It's not something that people want to admit.
It's more than tough to see a parent in physical decline hovering between life and death. It was made all the more wrenching because we had to make a decision to remove a feeding tube from our mother. Her death removed the burden of making that awful decision from our shoulders. And it sent our mother onto her eternal reward and out of pain and discomfort.
It freed us to remember the mom that we'd known for most of our lives.
I could remember the mom who loved games. She taught me how to play Spades and I became the undisputed Spades Master. She schooled Tony in dominoes. She loved playing chess and Scrabble. There was one stretch where every time I walked into the den she was sitting there with a game board out waiting to play.
There was the time my mom sat me and my brothers down to watch a special on sex and childbirth on PBS and our dad, sitting behind us, practically choking on his dinner bellowing, "That's X-rated!!!"
How she was informs how I am with my grandkids. I use her expressions all the time. Some of them I don't even understand but still use them.
She was a religious women, a member of the Church of Christ her entire life. What I loved about her faith is that she lived it. She didn't preach to people but she lived the Golden Rule. I couldn't imagine someone disliking our mother. She was pleasant and helpful and loving. Yeah, she was stubborn. Very stubborn. But she was a decent person.
Even though she was valedictorian of San Augustine Colored High School, she didn't go on to college. She chose to get married and raise a family. We, her five boys, were her life's work. We're her crown jewels. She put a lot into us and did her best to raise us well. And while we screwed up from time to time, I think we're all doing very well.
The thing I can say proudly is that my brothers are all good people. Decent people. They're the kind of people who would help you out in a jam. They're the kind of people you can depend on. And that comes from our mother.
And we're all stubborn as heck. That comes from her, too.
In memory of Katy Lou Wade 1936-2006.