I didn’t think I’d be any sadder on May 9th than the other days since my mom passed away. Ruthanne Hill O’Keefe Engdal Burns was born on May 9, 1926. She’d have been 86 years old today. I remember her saying to the Hospice worker in New Mexico where she spent her last few weeks, “I’m 85. I’ve outlived three wonderful husbands. I have seven children. They’re all doing fine with beautiful families of their own. I’m 86. I am an old woman. What, do you think I need to be 87?”
The Hospice worker cried. I was so proud of my mom. She seemed to look at death the same way she looked at life. With her eyes wide open. She lived and laughed and loved right up until the very end. God, I miss her.
Last evening on our walk, Heidi said that she missed my mom a whole lot too, that she could talk to Ruck just like she talked to me. With complete honesty. We’re lucky if we have just a few people in our lives we can pour our hearts out to, who we can be completely ourselves with, with no pretense or inhibitions. Ruck was one of those people. She was like that to a lot of folks.
My memories of her are already becoming less about the grief and much more about her wit and wisdom, her humor and grace and feistiness. How absolutely blessed I am that I was born to that good woman.