Thursday, July 07, 2005

Lilies for Lillian

We planted lilies this year...for Lillian. Her friends called her Lily; we called her Mom.
My mother died May of 2004, just one year ago. I wanted to write about her on the anniversary of her death, but it was too painful. We planted the lily bulbs in the fall in a very special place. It was my brother's idea for the plaque. (I thought that was kind of morbid, but he surprised me with it, so it's there.) My mother is not buried there. Her body was buried in a cemetery in Brooklyn, where she grew up and spent her entire life. My father is buried there too.
These lilies are in my backyard. Why there? Well, there is a story.
Lillian spent the last two months of her life with me. Up until that point, she was 88 years old, and lived alone in Brooklyn. My father died in 1994. Anyway, her illness came suddenly, and after testing, doctor visits, hospitals, and such, we found out she had colon cancer that metastized to her liver. There was no hope. They gave her just a few weeks to live.
I could not have her go to a nursing home...knowing that this was the end of her life. My husband, who is a good, kind person, agreed. So she came here.
Well, if you knew my family you would understand. The entire family was here (we are five siblings) almost every weekend. We celebrated her life. We cooked, laughed, drank, danced...and told her we loved her.
I think she was happy.
She died after two months.
Well, I almost forgot the story. While she was here, we were having a patio replaced. It was something we had scheduled for a long time. I was going to work in the day, a nurse's aide came for a few hours. I was a teacher so I came home by 2:30.
Anyway, I told my mother in the morning that I forgot to tell the workers I wanted a certain shrub moved, not discarded. When I came home from work, I saw it was moved to the desired spot. My mother had told the workers while I was gone. Now you have to understand that at this point she could barely walk. She couldn't eat and lost lots of weight, but she got up, before the nurse's aid was here, to talk to the workers. They told me the story.
Well the shrub died, so we planted lilies. And that's the story. Aren't they beautiful?


KayseaLove said...

Those Lilies are beautiful, I love the photo collage you made too and the plaque is a brilliant idea. That’s awesome your family celebrated her life and had a good time her last days. I’m sorry for your loss.

Mary A. said...

Okay Alida,
So,sister Linda told me to read your blog and bring alot of tissues. Hah!I said,"I'm tough,at work, I'll be fine" Well, Here I am crying like a baby and all the girls are wondering what could be wrong.You certainly brought all the feelings I've tried to surpress to the surface. The flowers are beautiful, what a tribute to mom. Love, sister Mary

Carol Ann said...

Bring on the tissues. What beautiful flowers to plant in memory of your mom. What a wonderful expression of your love for such a wonderful woman. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes.