Saturday, December 4, 2010
Since part of the "Restoring Home" project has to do with my mother, I thought I'd announce here that she departed this earth on November 22, 2010. (She shares that date with President John F. Kennedy.) At her funeral in Kansas City I read the following little piece. Here it is:
“Serene.” That was mother’s answer when I asked her what her favorite word was. I was nine or ten years old, a budding wordsmith, a collector of various sorts of “favorites” – words, especially.
I’d never heard the word “serene” before – but it sounded familiar because Samantha’s cousin on Bewitched was named Serena. But mother explained that she loved the word for how it sounded and even more, for what it meant. To her, serenity was a snapshot from childhood: a grassy lawn, a bubbling brook, a shady tree, and a good book.
That was the sort of thing she loved, and the minute she said it, it became the sort of thing I loved, too.
I spent many years in search of the perfect setting, the perfect book, the perfect calm state of being.
That search eventually took me to Wyoming, 700 miles west. Mother never once complained that I lived too far away, or that I’d made it difficult for her to see me, or that I should learn to find home closer to home. Instead, she encouraged me to follow my heart, saying that my choice of Wyoming gave her someplace interesting to visit.
Each time I’ve returned to Kansas City to see family and friends in the 18 years I’ve been away, she and I have known it could be our last time together. We never said it, never fretted over it, but it was there. But mother was a composed and dignified person, not one to let emotion run unchecked or to put her wishes above those of her children. What was good for us was good for her.
Mother gave me many gifts. Being allowed to live a life of my own making, knowing my mother approved and supported my freedom, was probably the best one. That was the gift of serenity.