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My mom gives me one great, last lesson.

Now listen, I wanna, it’s pretty audio executive sitting here and I gonna leave you with this.

So I’m gonna say goodbye to everything. Everybody stay.

But I’m gonna say goodbye but just let it flow down the last word here. Okay.

It is the beginning of the Lenten season ▪ and I visited my sister’s grave.

Many of us Christians consider this Saturday before lent is the original all souls day.

That’s the time to honor the debt.

My niece is buried with my sister or my sister was added with my niece.

I can’t remember our families like that.

They were laid to rest in the family plot of my nieces grandparents out in Plymouth near the courthouse, just outside the right field fence of the old municipal ball diamond.

I couldn’t bring myself to sweep the snow from their headstones because I’m not sure the names have been added.

That thought makes me weep.

My, grandmother of my niece has her name chiseled into granite and I’m not sure if the woman has passed yet.

How strange. I thought standing there. How we all fall away.

There were some withered wreaths near the headstone blanketed in ice.

I said my piece for my kin and I left the tobacco offering ▪ and then I drove to see my mother afterward.

She lives on Joy Road about 10 miles from the cemetery, my mom doesn’t visit their plot much either.

Too many memories, too much pain. My mom doesn’t like headstones and doesn’t want one.

She doesn’t say it exactly, but her day is coming upon her.

I hope her days will be long and happy.

But a time comes when we must all repay our loan from the maker ▪ and be at peace with it.

Mom lately has been giving things away furniture and old copper pots and such.

She says strange little things now like I want to get a puppy, but it would be unfair to leave it behind in an upstairs closet.

She keeps the remains of her third and favorite husband and her second and favorite son.

When I go, she says put us on a Viking raft together, set us out to see and shoot fire arrows at us.

This manner of dispatching mortal remains does not comport with the law of the faith, nor maybe do some episodes of my mother’s life.

But surely my mother has conducted herself in the spirit of it. ▪ To that I can bear witness.

There was always room in a raucous and crowded house for the wayward teen or the troubled child or relation in need of an airing.

There was always warm coffee.

There still is and there’s always buttered bread and a compassionate ear in my mother’s home ▪ and now in this season of sacrifice, my mother teaches me a last great lesson how to conduct oneself in the fading rays of life.

Behaving with dignity and grace and courage while treating each new day as though it was no different than the one just lived.

There’s nothing to fear. A life passes but a mother and her Children’s bond is forever ▪ and so we didn’t dwell on the modeling.

We watch Tv and smoke cigarettes and talk the talk of mothers and sons without looking at one another.

The cable news droned on train wrecks and egg prices and mass shootings on the college campus.

She considered the future. ▪ Do you think it’ll get better? She asked. Sure. Just change the channel ma.

No son. I’m worried about the grandkids. ▪ Yeah, me too.

They say every woman dies twice once when she’s buried or set to sea and once when her name is spoken for the last time.

That is how some people become immortal.

I’m not wholly certain of what awaits any of us on the other side of life. Store.

I’ll pray and reflect upon it during this Lenten season.

But I do know this for certain ▪ headstone or none.

My mother’s name will be spoken for generations within her circle of blood and beyond it.

Good deeds, make good persons and good persons are remembered ▪ or as my mom says, what does it hurt to be kind?

I love you.

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