Before we settle into the somber tone of this week’s column, an apology may not be in order but needed. To family, friends and extended family, the column that appears here should have by all means gone to press last week. The article that did run, filled with humor to lighten the mood during quarantine, was in no way meant to make light of the situation that transpired during the earlier half of last week. Truth of the matter, the column was submitted the afternoon before word reached me the following morning. I should have taken it upon myself to request a retraction but was too overtaken by grief and shock to do so. Hopefully all those concerned can forgive me for this oversight as I struggle to forgive myself.
“If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me. I’ll meet you when my chores are through, I don’t know how long I’ll be. But I’m not gonna let you down, darling, wait and see. And between now and then, ‘til I see you again, I’ll be loving you… love me!” – From Kenneth to Karen, dedicated by myself. Lyrics excerpted from “Love me.”
She was a farmer’s wife but by no means did she appear to be someone you’d find on a farm. A picture of grace, eloquence and refined elegance you’d expect to encounter in a penthouse suite. But it takes a working man’s hands to find a diamond in the rough. To appreciate, more than any other could, what he has found. To hold her aloft, cherish her, adore her, to build a castle fit for his queen on his land and devote himself wholly to her every wit and whim. And that is precisely what my father-in-law did with pride and love… till the very end.
It was my courtship and marriage to her daughter that brought to me into the gracious presence of this refined lady. There was initially apprehension, fear that I would not make par. However, she soon became my favorite audience. She got my humor, the sideways jokes and found laughter in my myriad impressions. Tension gone, acceptance accepted and calling her “Mom” came quite easy.
Initially we visited every weekend but gradually time and life got in the way and our visits were less frequent. We’d talk of rectifying that, only to succumb to distraction. There was guilt to be sure, but there was plenty of time…which all too soon ran out and became regret when she got sick.
The last year has been a blur. Sparing the details of 365 days filled with diagnosis, hope, attempts, tears, joy, fighting, acceptance and heartache. There is very little consolation in getting to make her laugh one last time… it shall be a treasured, bittersweet memory.
In the beginning, there was never the right moment and towards the end never enough time to tell her what she meant to me. She inspired me to do better, try harder and be a better person. Not just for her little girl’s sake but for my own. She was that type of person who could indirectly bring the best out of you… whether she realized it or not will forever remain a mystery.
Now as a beautiful soul ascends we are all left with wonderment of where she has gone, memory of where she has been and promises to keep for the sake of both. These are unspoken, and to each their own, but not to be ignored.
Why Autumn’s Fall? Her favorite time of year was Christmas, a festive occasion to be shared by gathered family on its Eve. But, for reasons that perhaps only make sense through this writer’s eyes, she was always autumn. Maybe it was the anticipation of the holidays, perhaps the merriment she and her husband sought as they drew near. Whatever the reason, as Fall fell she seemed to shine the brightest, not in the moments to come with the season but in radiance of savoring those just before. Looking forever forward and casting her brilliance out to call together those she loved. Her light still shines and we shall still gather in her memory.
Dedicated lovingly to my mother-in-law, 2nd Mom, autumn and favorite audience,
Karen Morgan NOVEMBER 12, 1957 – MARCH 30, 2020.
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Hope to hear from you, until then try and stay focused. See ya!