A Poem, And Love For Mom At 103
Mom at her 100th Birthday party.
A Mother's Love
A mother's love is warm and sweet,
A safe abode, a warm retreat.
Yet more there is than meets the eye,
Your mother's love's not "where" or "why."
'Tis given without thought...it is,
Throughout the years it mirrors His.
And when at last her days are done*,
And brilliant day is setting sun,
The light she gave will linger on,
The promise of a coming dawn,
When lasting love waits at the door,
Where mother's love can part no more.
© 1998 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
* Mother passed away at age 105, nearly 105 and a half, at home and only bed-ridden for the last few days as the cells in her body simply wore out and failed her spirit. She was and is Viola Winslow Jasper. (1908-2014)
When I wrote that poem for Mothers Day in 1998, my mother was 86. Today she is still doing very well at 103.
Yes, she is rehabilitating from a hip which broke in multiple places as she was sitting down just a few weeks ago, but that physical therapy is going very well. She will be returning to her own home in "another week or two" according to her rehab center.
I count it a rare privilege and an extraordinary blessing that my whole family can enjoy the wisdom and shared experiences this special Mom/Grammy/Great Grammy still provides for us. We love her.
Her life started with her being born "at home" the thirteenth and last child in a large, Maine, farming family. That year a man named Wilbur Wright flew some 30 miles in just 40 minutes! And, a new company named General Motors started business.
Her brothers and sisters have passed away now, though one was 102, and another sister was 98. Her father died tying his shoes at age 94, and my Dad succumbed to heart valve failure at 92, after a married partnership which had survived the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and almost 30 years of retirement together.
At her first of two birthday parties this month, Mom was asked "How does it feel to be 103?" She replied, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, that it felt about the same as it felt to be 102! Another gal rehabilitating in the same facility is 105, and the two of them have been looking for another two there to make up a foursome to play Bridge.
What does an otherwise healthy woman do at age 103?
Mom reads, quite typically having two books she is in the course of reading. She reads several newspapers daily and masters their crossword puzzles. She clips coupons for shopping and mails some to other family members. She watches television when "it's anything I care about." She enjoys going to her hairdresser regularly, spends some of the nice days and nights at a cottage near the ocean in the summer, and enjoys going out to eat and having fine meals my sister or niece prepare at home. (Her daily breakfast for years now has been an English muffin with cottage cheese and marmalade, a glass of orange juice, a vitamin, and one or more cups of her favorite hot tea.)
Most of all, Mom enjoys time spent with my sister Mary, and almost daily phone visits with me, during which we talk about each other's events of the day, other family members, and some of the wonderful memories we share. She especially enjoys hearing the latest doings of any of her 17 great grandchildren who are spread across the country from New Hampshire to Washington State with 11 in the Utah and Iowa grandchildren's families.
I asked her one day what the happiest day of her life was. She replied, "The day I married your father." Asked what she most regretted, she answered that she had no real regrets, "life has been very good."
Other people ask me, "What's her secret?" I speculate that it might have something to do with "the water supplied by her well" and the fact that she and Dad had grown, and frozen or preserved, fresh vegetables and fruits after moving back to Maine in 1948. They also raised chickens some of those years, and Dad was an avid hunter and loved fishing, too. Questioners usually acknowledge there are likely merits in living such a basic lifestyle.
It certainly doesn't hurt Mom's longevity that Dad had a reasonable retirement income and health coverages which continue to keep Mom's life free of many of the stresses which even much younger Americans experience today.
And then, there are her genes.
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