I’ve heard her say that a few times in my life. Mom was a tough lady, not taking bullshit from anyone and calling you out on it. She was strong willed and always spoke her mine. When we watched sports her toughness would come out, yelling at the players, be it in person on in the back yard on the small portable black and white TV.
During the cool summer nights we could always grab a six pack, a few limes, the salt shaker, and sit in lawn chairs, just staring up at the bright stars. Some nights silence filled the air, speaking volumes between us, sounds of popping beer tabs breaking the silence from time to time, while other times roaring laughter late into the night between our family and the neighbors.
Good beer and good conversation.
Mom’s children were grown now, with some scattered across the country, having families of their own, but one thing was a constant over the years, good beer and good conversation. Every time someone came to visit, laughter would fill the house, often starting with, “Do you remember…” and ending with tears and soar sides.
Sometimes the conversation would get heated, treats of being knocked out until next Wednesday were thrown out, and then someone would leave in a huff, dragging their children out the door behind them. Anger may have lasted for a few days but that’s what siblings do and mom reminded us of that often.
Once again, we find ourselves in a rough spot, but instead of being at each other’s throats we are holding each other tight with hugs. Mom has been on her death bed for a while now and has maintained that she will go out on her terms, the tough lady in her taking over. All we can do is to honor her request, she’s lived a long fruitful life and has earned it.
It’s hard to watch this strong woman who has taught me so much to slowly leave us. She can barely eat or drink anything but she tries. With spring around the corner the weather was perfect for sitting outside and watching the world go by. One morning mom asked that all of her children come to the house at dusk, and to make sure we brought beer, limes, and the salt shaker.
As the sun was getting ready to fall below the horizon, the stars faintly visible at the same time, the lawn chairs were set up and mom was brought outside. We all sat down, beer in hand, and watched silently as the sun grew smaller and smaller in the distance. Laughter filled the air as a smile spread across mom’s face, drinking her beer slowly, enjoying an old friend.
Mom listen to her children relive memories of their childhood and tell stories of their children and grandchildren. Everyone was happy, the sadness in our lives being solved by good beer and good conversation. We were so engulfed with laughter than we had not noticed mom had fallen asleep for the last time. Mom helped us all to heal with good beer and good conversation.