A Different Take on a Blessings List

For several years, I kept a blessings list where I wrote down each day something I was grateful for.

I still wish I had done it every day.

Today (just past the first day of the new year), I saw a video on the 365Grateful campaign from the woman who started it all.

She took a photo each day of something she was grateful for and wrote down why she was grateful for it.

Thankfully I already took photographs yesterday, so I can start with those.

I am thankful for my nieces–who love me with open arms and hearts, who spend time with me willingly, who help me in my poetry projects, who look at my photography/book projects, and who want me to cheer them on in their lives, too.

Conflicting Marital Advice

We went to Jon and Angela’s baby shower (boy) the day after Christmas. Since the day before Christmas Eve is our official wedding anniversary, I told Jon we had been married 25 years now. He asked what advice we would give.

I told him, “Hold on.” Don’t let go. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.

Ron, on the other hand, said later that, if he had been able to (some big shower thing happened and stopped the conversation), he would have said, “Let go.” Don’t hold on to every little thing. Don’t focus on the things that are going wrong or that you don’t like. Don’t get all caught up in what is wrong.

So, if we had given advice, it would have been (apparently) conflicting, but I don’t think that it is at heart.

Don’t give up on the big things. Don’t focus on the problems. We’d both agree with that, I think. Though Ron would probably mention that a lot fewer things are “big” than you might think.

marriage advice from themetapicture dot com

Image from themetapicture.com


R and I finally decided what day we would head to Houston and when we would come home. Then I sent my sister an email asking about my nephew’s favorite color.

Turns out they are thinking of going to London/Paris for the week of Christmas. She wanted to know if Dad could come stay with me. I said yes. I also said we were already planning on coming to Houston and asked if we could stay at their house with my dad. (Dad lives with her.)

She did not answer that one.

Then I asked when they will decide. She said in the next few days.

So… Either we will be at home for Christmas–but R and M will drive to Houston for visits and photo shoots–or we will be in Houston by ourselves, but with my dad. I actually like the second choice better. Even if it does mean I would have to clean my sister’s gigantic house.

Family Movies and the Family

Pappa Wayne is 74, born in 1939.

Aunt Kathy is 16 years younger, born in 1955. She was 5 years old when Pappa and Grama got married. How odd to have that little of a sibling at marrying age.

Pappa is showing us the videos Pappa Wiley made.

Wayne is the first guy in a suit walking Jeff down the sidewalk.

The car is a ’51 Ford.

There’s a beautiful smile from Grama Willine at some point.

Cousin Sylvia is tall and blonde. Cousin Mildred is a brunette and is holding on to one of the boys. Maybe Larry. Don’t know who the two little girls are. Immediately after this they are all sitting around eating watermelon. Pappa said Sylvia went to the hospital to have a minor surgery and never woke up.

Uncle Otto has the horse with Jeff on the horse.

Grama Willine’s mom and Dad (Mattie and William Cater) are in the picture with Jeff and a watermelon. Wiley told him to fix his hair and didn’t tell Grama Mattie he was filming it while she fixed it.

Larry is the guy with the big ears that Jeff is riding in front of the Christmas tree. Grama Willine was expecting Kathy in that picture. Grama Mattie has a parakeet on her head.

Someone took the camera and Pappa Wiley is holding Jeff.

Jeff got a wiener dog, a truck, a football, and a wagon for Christmas.

Then there’s Aunt Kathy and Grama Willine. I recognize the smile. It’s the Davis men’s smiles. (Not my Davis’ men’s, but the older generation’s.)

Kathy has black, black hair.

There’s Pappa with the two youngest. Now here comes Grama Willine.

Then Grama Cater is holding Kathy. Ron says he remembers Grama Cater.

It looks like the Davis smile might be the Cater smile. It looks like Pappa Cater’s smile.

Then there’s Aunt Thelma, Uncle Chuck, and Bill. The little girl is Becky–Wayne’s cousin. She’s a toddler in a blue dress. She lives in Atlanta now.

Kathy is sacking out on a mat on the floor. She does not want to go sleep.

Poor Larry. One of the cousins is riding him.

Bill (older) and Bruce (younger) are waving.

Then Kathy is in the crib.

Wayne is in the suit, standing behind Jeff in a suit. Jeff is trying to hit him. Then he throws him up on the ’53 Oldsmobile Wayne learned to drive in.

Who’s the blonde in a dress? It doesn’t look like Becky.

The man hugging Jeff is Truman. One of Wiley’s friends in Russellville. It’s another Christmas.

Kathy got a baby doll that she is trying to eat.

Pappa Cater is holding Becky and Kathy is sitting in Grama Cater’s lap.

Chuck and Thelma with Becky. Thelma was 16 when Wayne was born.

Grama Willine and Pappa Wiley and the kids and Thelma and Chuck. Grama Cater must have had the camera? Nope. There’s Grama Cater and Willine and Thelma. Becky is smiling away. Kathy does not want her picture taken.

Wayne says Chuck had been married before and he lied about it. So he was divorced and Thelma didn’t know that when they got married. Chuck became a Baptist preacher.

Kathy’s first birthday cake.

The blue rocking chair that Kathy falls into was Willine’s when she was a girl. Wayne doesn’t know what happened to it.

Then his cousin Elaine and Dean. Wayne spoke at Elaine’s funeral a year or so ago. He thought Dean was so cool. Hair slicked back, fast car, and a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his shirt. Elaine and Dean drove a truck cross-country as a team for years and years.

Larry got a bow and arrows. Jeff got a violin. He’s pretending to play it.

Bobby Baker. Bill and Laura. Bill is Jerry’s uncle.

There’s Jerry. He was smiling. Then Ronnie. Then Aunt Mary and Uncle Frank.

Bobby Baker again. Then Laura and Bill. –Wayne says Bill left his wife and kids for another woman.

Frank fell and broke his hip and when he went to have surgery, he died under anesthesia.

Kathy is two.

My mom was 12 when they took these pictures. I have a picture of Mom that year.

Kathy has long hair. Jeff looks a lot like Pappa Wiley in this picture. He’s drinking tea for Kathy.

Willine is getting so gray! There’s Jerry and Larry. Larry is not not happy again.

Then that’s Wayne. I didn’t know Wayne had naturally wavy hair.

Kathy’s 4th birthday. Larry lights the cake. Wayne says he had met

Pappa Cater with the kids standing outside.

Henry and Stella Brown. She is Dad’s sister. (So Pappa Wiley’s sister.) There’s Frank. Henry was a mean one. He didn’t treat her very well.

Then Frank and Mary and Jerry. And Larry. And Ronnie. And Willine. And Larry.

Christmas again. Kathy gets another doll. Jeff gets another truck. She kisses her baby doll.

Then there’s Jeff looking like

Annice Baker. She was Jerry’s cousin, not mine. She tried to teach me and Jerry how to dance. Neither one of us did very well.

There’s Pappa’s Harding pictures. Miss Kay. She was Wayne’s girlfriend before Grama Vera. Note that they were holding hands and they are on his leg. willine is there. Wiley is filming. IT’s the college years ago… Harding would love that.

The admin office is in the back and that’s where Vera worked.

There’s my roommate Tom Ledford and his girl friend. Then some other friends. Then someone getting thrown into the fish pond. Wayne said it wasn’t a birthday tradition.

There’s Gwen Turberfield. She’s a Springdale girl.

Somebody put a carp in the goldfish pond and it started eating the fish.

There’s Miss Kay again.

And another bout with the fish pond.

“Three beauties… I have not a clue as to who they are. But they were worthy of filming. … Kay has my sweater on. There she is playing tennis.
We were on an outing of some kind. I don’t think swimming was allowed, but we improvised. It was a school outing at Wildwood or something like that.”

Then the cutie pie is Ron. Oklahoma City, wasn’t it? There’s Vera’s smile.

Ronnie’s birthday cake. His first one. Icing! Face dive into the cake. Why waste your hands when you can just put your mouth directly on the cake. He is just licking it off the cake. It was a chocolate cake with white icing.

The neighbor up the street’s little girl. She was adopted too. She was a Wilma.

Then Vera and Ron.

Then Linda Wilma. She was a pretty girl. His early girl friend. She came over to kiss him.

Christmas. The one before his first birthday. That’s the phone! Micah got the same phone for his first birthday. He enjoyed the box more than the phone but Ron is really liking the phone.

Then he is trying to eat all the fake food. There’s a little football there. It reminds me of the footballs he would get when he was watching 6-man football. Look at that boy trying to stand up. What a cutie!

Vera look alike she is in high school. But I know she’s not that young. That was ’65. She was 22 years old then.

Wow. That was fun.

Grama Willine’s (Millionaire) Pound Cake

Can freeze this.
It also keeps well in the fridge.

All the ingredients need to be at room temperature.
1 lb butter
3 c sugar
1 tsp salt
6 large eggs
4 c AP flour
3/4 c milk (w drops of yellow food coloring)
1 t lemon flavoring
2 t almond flavoring
2 t vanilla flavoring (vanilla)
1 t butter flavoring

Beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and salt gradually.
Add one egg at a time and beat well after each addition.
Add flour and milk alternately.
Beat just enough to mix after each addition.
Add flavorings.
Pour into well-greased and floured large tube pan.
Bake at 325 or 1.5 hours or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (or “comes clean” as she said)

Top hot cake with glaze:
1.5 c powdered sugar
1/3 c of lemon juice

Let cool in pan.

Recipe was given to Willine 49 years before I wrote it down (in 2008) by a lady in her 60s.

Grama also saw the recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.
Grama bakes it for an hour and forty-five minutes.

It can also be made in loaf pans.

Grama Delker’s Sour Dough Biscuits

1 pkg yeast
1 c warm water
2 c buttermilk
3/4 c corn oil
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
6 c flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Then add buttermilk.
Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Store dough in refrigerator.
This dough will keep for several days.
Make out desired number of biscuits and set in warm place to rise.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

You can add a little extra flour and make dinner rolls.
Let rolls rise in a warm place and then bake at 425 degrees.

Grama Delker’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c raisins
1 tsp baking soda
4 TBS raisin juice (see recipe)
2 c flour
2 c oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chopped pecans

Cook raisins in 1 c water–just a bit–too long and the juice evaporates. Drain, reserving 4 TBS juice.
Cream butter, sugar, and eggs.
Dissolve soda in raisin juice and add to butter mixture.
Add flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Mix well.
Then fold in raisins and nuts.
Drop by rounded teaspoons on greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Dog and Trips

The dog has had diarrhea for at least three days in the last week. She has been somewhat lethargic and for two days did not eat her morning food until well after noon. However, she seems to have recovered and is doing fine.

We are trying to go out of town for one night and two days. That is for tomorrow and Saturday. It will be over 100 degrees both days. I called the vet to see if we could board her this weekend. They said yes, but that she hasn’t had her vaccines.

I think she has, but they are checking and calling our last vet (2 years ago). However, I just checked our local laws and she has to have a rabies shot every year. I don’t think she has had her rabies shot this year. Unless the other animal hospital gave her one. Guess I should call them and ask. No, they didn’t.

But there is a three-year vaccine. It is possible she was given that.

I just called our old vet and they are sending me her records via email, so I will have those. Then I will need to get both the vet records here in town, too.

But it does look like she needs her rabies vaccine. And two other shots too, having talked to the vet. So that will be $76. But she needs those, whether we are thrilled about her having them or not.

The boarding is $48 for Fri-Mon. They will let you pick up on Sunday, but you have to pay for Sunday night anyway, so…

Recent events

Ron’s mom had a stroke yesterday and she has Broca’s aphasia. Ron flew out this morning on the 5:50 am flight and arrived in Fayetteville by 9:05.

We bought a TV yesterday for my dad–but ended up buying a bigger one for us (not that I thought we needed it, but…) and giving our 55 inch television to Dad. We also bought a chair for the guest room so Dad can sit in there and watch TV. We got it at Sam’s.

My dad is coming to visit on Tuesday or Wednesday, if I get in gear and look up flights.

I actually managed to water all the trees this morning. (Three extra morning hours–after taking Ron to the airport–gave me a lot of time to get stuff done.)

Tony Fernandez spoke at church this morning and Tim Archer translated. I actually understood most of the Spanish sermon. I was surprised and pleased.

Tony’s dad was a factory owner before the Communist Revolution. He was also a preacher. He decided not to leave Cuba, so that he could continue to spread the gospel in Cuba after the revolution. He lost his factory and became a mechanic in a government factory.

The government gave awards to the best workers. All of Tony’s father’s coworkers said they should go to him. Radio–to Charo. Television–to Charo. Bicycle–to Charo. Each time the boss said, “No. Charo’s a Christian. We don’t give gifts to Christians.” Then the Herald of Truth sent Charo money for a brand new car. (He had been working as a full-time minister as a second job for years by then, with no support.) Charo’s boss saw him driving the brand new car and asked him where he got it. Charo told him it was a gift from God. He was able to witness to his boss because of that.

When Tony was growing up, their congregation thought they were the only CofCers in the whole world, although they did have a picture of a church in San Antonio, Texas which was supposed to exist.

Their church has 700 members and on Sundays they travel around Cuba and hold church services and prayer meetings in 30 different communities across the island. The congregation has started 28 new churches and there are about 200 new Christians a year.

God’s grace is overflowing.

Grama’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (even scant) Crisco shortening
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

Stir together well.
Add 2 cups flour and 1/2 package of choc chips (not the huge bag).
Stir again.

Cook at 300 degrees.
Do NOT let get brown, just light brown, and eat while hot.
(The last directions are in the recipe.)

This recipe is also good for packing cookies. Grama used to send them overseas to my uncles in Japan and Korea. My uncles said they are really good two weeks later.

So eat them hot or wait a while…

My Mother’s Birthday

Today is my mother’s birthday. If she were alive, she would be 66. She would have celebrated her 50th anniversary this past March. She would have come to Abilene to see my new house and celebrated that her second grandbaby is at college.

But last year, last summer, on July 19th, my mother died.

She went home to be with Jesus. She went home singing. She went home dancing. She went home worshiping the Lord.

I want to do something for my mother’s birthday, but I don’t know what. If I had freshman during this day, I would pass out cards and make them write their mothers, or someone they love like a mother, or someone who has mothered them. But I have sophomores and it doesn’t match the class.

If it were my birthday, my mother would send cake and flowers, plates and forks, to my classroom. But I can’t send those things to heaven. And if I could, what kind of wonderful would the cake have to be? Even better than Lacey Williams Herring’s cakes, which is saying something!

So what will I do for this birthday?

I don’t know.

Except that I want to tell you that my mother, who got married incredibly young and stayed married until the day she died, who loved my dad and the four of us kids with every ounce of strength she had, who could find out more about a person (and remember it forever) than anyone else on the planet, who died of a brain tumor misdiagnosed as medically induced bipolar, taught me many things in life, some of which I recognized immediately and some of which I still haven’t figured out.

One thing I knew fairly early on, though, was that my mother taught me how to pray. My mother had an unshakable faith in God’s power and willingness, and even in his eagerness, to answer our prayers. She prayed with fervency. She prayed often. She knew that prayer was the answer to many dilemmas.

So, for my mother’s birthday, I am going to pray.

I am going to pray for my ten closest friends and their extended families (one per finger or toe–helps me remember).

  • Arnetts
  • Baldwins
  • Breauxs
  • Cogdells
  • Davises
  • Delonys
  • Goodriches
  • Hastons
  • Macons
  • Tanners
  • Williamses

I am going to pray for the ten lost sheep of the Davis oikos (including my mother’s oldest grandson and the devastated brother of a friend from my last experience as a teacher at ACU [Audra]).

  • Alec
  • Alex
  • Alyssa
  • Bethany
  • Chris
  • Elijah
  • Grace
  • Gwen
  • Jenny
  • Mark

And I am going to pray for whatever else God puts before me, including:
Kendra, and her brain surgery that removed 2.5 tumors today
my students, especially the freshmen as they deal with homesickness
my teaching, that God will work through me and give me wisdom
my community involvement, and whether or not I should commit to cleaning up the four blocks around my house for the next X years as the Jennifer Haston Memorial
my husband’s present and future health, work, school, especially as it relates to his move to Abilene

Tell me why the stars do shine.
Tell me why the ivy twines.
Tell me why the ocean’s blue
and I will tell you just why I love you.

Because God made the stars to shine.
Because God made the ivy twine.
Because God made the oceans blue.
Because God made you, that’s why I love you.

(Link to the song my mother used to sing to me.)

Mom, I know you are bending God’s ear about Elijah. Thank you for that. Tell Grama and Pappa Davis I said hello. And I hope God gives you the biggest and best birthday party ever, if they do birthday parties in Heaven.  I love you, Mommy.

God, thank you for giving me a godly mother.

Singing in the Car

Assistant Village Idiot writes about caroling in the car.

This is what I’m talking about… When I was growing up we sang in the car all the time and I thought it was such a big deal and so important. Turns out, for my folks, it was just a way to keep us busy because we didn’t have a radio.

My favorite rolled-up memories of my family are singing in the car… and no one else cared.

I did not marry a like-minded spouse and we never sang in the car.

It still makes me sad and I’m about to be an empty nester.

Baby Names

The stability of boys’ names was meant to convey solidity and strength. Girls’ names came to be regarded as something more decorative. In evangelical circles, Biblical names were big, so there were plenty of Rebeccas, Sarahs, and Rachels, but there was also a wide field for something more unusual. Roman Catholics insisted on a saint’s name – my wife Tracy was actually baptised Therese. Paedobaptist traditions in general have been more conservative in naming. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has long bemoaned the drive to unique names in the African-American community, attributing it to the breakdown of families and generational continuity. But this also results from the black churches being much less likely to practice infant baptism, a reality that long predates the last few decades of absent fathers.

More recently, parents have taken to giving their daughters some of the less-common boys’ names, or English surnames with a rather aristocratic feel to them, such as Madison, Cameron, and Taylor. But far more common have been older female names, so long out of use that we cannot think of them as girls’ names, but as women’s names: Olivia, Sophia, Abigail, Isabella. Similarly, the new names for boys – Jacob, Alexander, Joshua, Ethan – are recognisable old names. These do not suggest continuity so much as approbation of tradition, which is somewhat different.

Assistant Village Idiot has some interesting points.

In my birth family, most of us had family names first. I had my aunt’s name; then my own. My brother had my father and grandfather’s name; then his own. My little sister had my aunt and my mother’s name.

My youngest son’s middle name is his father’s middle name. It’s his grandfather’s first name. It’s his great-grandfather’s middle name.

My eldest son’s first name is his great-uncle’s, though we did not know that till we had chosen it.

Family names are important in my family. Or names with meaning for my children’s generation.

Mail from my Mother

My sister used my mother’s return address sticker, complete with her name, to send my son his 18th birthday card from the aunts and uncle.

I was so hoping it was an actual card signed by mother.

You would think I would be used to this by now.

My mother died. I found out that the will gave X dollars. There are four of us kids. I figured that meant I got 1/4X. Nope. Turns out I get 1/8X. My kids each get 1/16X. That way no family is getting more than the other. But people are.

And that hurt my feelings immensely. Especially since my brother’s reaction was, “Well, you can’t take care of your kids but [sister who has lots of money] can.” What? My kids have been taken care of fine. And, really, do you want to give an 18-year old more than most people make in a year?

Okay, I eventually got over that. Mostly.

Now it turns out that we aren’t getting money. We are getting stocks. The stocks will be worth X total.

So I will get 1/8x of stocks. Okay.

That’s not money. This stock is solid, if any are. It pays low dividends, but it pays enough that my dad has been able to live off the dividends.

So he’s giving us what he lived off of. Now if we sell it, we will lose the dividends.

I don’t want to sell it. I don’t want to be like those in generational poverty who sell their television to the pawn shop for $50 when they are broke and then buy a new one for $500 when they are flush. That is just crazy. And to me, that seems what we will be doing if we sell the stock.

We will be killing the goose that lays the copper eggs.

R says we will have to sell some to pay off our debts. But we had said we were going to use my salary to pay off our debts. I was good with that. That means we aren’t living on my salary; it isn’t being spent on something that we won’t be able to afford when we move.

I looked at the stock. If we don’t sell it, we will get $1600/quarter. So each year the company will pay us (based on the last five years) $6,400 just for holding on to the stock. That is not enough to live on, but it is significant change that we would be without if we just flat out sold the stuff.

I hate that we are not getting something simple. I know the idea is that this is worth more and it has long term value. But if we sell it, it is not worth more and it doesn’t have long term value.

I do understand how my dad has been living on the dividends though. Because he is giving us what brought him $12,800 each quarter. That is a good salary right there. I wonder if that means he will be going short for this. I hope not.

I can’t imagine that he is. There shouldn’t be an issue of us waiting for the money. So if we are getting the stocks instead, it is because he wants us to have them.

Money was simpler. You can spend money or not. You can put money in the bank. It doesn’t change, except to go down in value.

However stocks are more volatile. And once you sell them, it’s over. You are finished. Yes, I know once you spend money it is gone too, but you don’t sit around going, “If I hadn’t spent that money I would have had Xdollars now.” Well, most people don’t.

But lots of people sit around and talk about how rich they’d be if they hadn’t sold their stock… Folks like my in-laws, who got Walmart stock when Sam Walton was just starting and who sold their stock for a good price, but not as good as it is now.

A Reason Hubby’s Plan to Go to Med School

isn’t totally freaking me out comes from Discriminations.

Assume the life expectancy numbers are correct. (They’re best estimates, and may be understated.) Six years added to a 40-year working life represent a 15 percent increase, the equivalent of nearly two extra months of work a year. That’s a lot of economic potential, especially when you multiply it by 79 million baby boomers.

If we don’t retire as early as 65 (or perhaps ever), then the MD makes sense.

If we need to retire at the age our fathers did, we are SOL.


Tomorrow it will be a full month since she died.

It seems odd that she’s not there. I still say my parents’ house and my parents’ condo. I still think of it as Mother’s.

Of course, I told my 19 year old today, “Here’s Gramma” while patting the urn of her ashes sitting in the window of the kitchen. I know my mom’s not really there, but…

When we were little and sick she would climb in bed with us. And feed us Sprite and popsicles.

She went with me to my high school graduation and helped me make it through that, even though I was sick with strep throat at the time. (We didn’t know until I got back to my medical microbiology class the next Monday.)

Mom answered the phone in the middle of the night and talked to me when I was sick or scared or just lonesome.

Mom would call just to talk.

Mom sat with me all night in the hospital, when my husband was too tired to stay.

Mom watched my son while I was in the hospital.

Mom took care of her mother for the last two years of Grama’s life.

Mom never met a stranger.

Mom enjoyed talking to people, and until the last three years, they enjoyed talking to her.

Mom didn’t hold people’s evil against them.

Mom was a prayer warrior extraordinaire. I hope the Catholics have it right and she can hear me. Pray for me, Momma.

My mother is in Heaven.

A Vision

Today it seemed to me that God pulled back the veil between here and Heaven and showed me my mother. I did not see her face, so I don’t know what she looks like in Heaven exactly. However, I saw a leg, up, in movement, and a silk skirt, long and full and more demure than my mother tends to wear, but beautiful.

The skirt was like a flamenco skirt, but light colored and shot with color.
flamenco-skirt-2 dressforflamenco dot com

Obviously this example is much brighter.

The pose was just the legs, was turned the other direction from this picture, but similar, with that swishyness of the skirt.
flamenco ibabuzz

Dancing is what I thought after I saw the still image.

Even if it wasn’t a vision, I love the thought of my mother in heaven dancing.

Mother: Requiem

My mother died on Monday the 19th of July.

She had not moved at all since at least Saturday (17), when she squeezed my cousin’s hand.

On Wednesday, the 14th, she kissed my dad back. He had been kissing her on the cheek and forehead as he anxiously paced the whole house. That time he ducked for a kiss on her lips and she kissed him back.

On Tuesday, the 13th, we brought her home from the hospital with hospice.

What were her final minutes like?

My father was asleep in bed. All four of us kids were around her. She had been stopping breathing and then starting again after a long interval.

Then she sang four notes, like a little kid sings, off key and long. She was already in heaven singing and her body hadn’t got the message to quit.

Chris told Mom that her singing was normally beautiful, but that not so much.

I think it woke up Dad.

He asked me to get him some banana pudding. I think the girls knew it would be any minute, so they told him Dorinda could get it. She did and she fixed it like he liked it. She left the room again.

Chris did “This little piggy” on her toes. One little piggy was going to heaven.

Then Mom quit breathing. Chris said, “It’s been two minutes.” Julie said, “Not yet.” Chris moved from her feet to her head. “Five minutes.” Julie nodded. Steph started crying. Chris did too. Chris looked for tissues.

Dad said, “What are you doing?”

Chris said he was crying. “I’m gonna miss my momma.”

Dad said, “But she’s still all right? She’s still alive.”

The girls and I looked at each other. One of us said, “I don’t think so, Dad.”

Her lips lost all their color.

Julie called the hospice. Dad cried. We all cried.

An hour later hospice arrived. Janet said she would set the time of death for when she saw Mother, over an hour after she died.

Then she called the police.

Six ended up coming in total.

My mother died.

While I know it was good for her, it has been a week and I miss her. I cry at the weirdest times.

Daddy is doing very well considering, but it is hard for him.

He was so sure he would go first.