Honoring A Promise To Mom

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Mom and Dad bought a condo on Hutchinson Island in Stuart, Florida in the late ’80s.  It became a special place for them.  When Dad retired a few months after they bought the condo, they began to spend more and more time in this enclave of seagrass, windswept beaches, and crashing surf.  I think Dad would gladly have moved down here full-time, but Mom wanted to keep a place in Columbus to spend time with kids and grandkids.  So they compromised, as successful married couples do, and split the years equally between their condo at Suntide and a condo in Columbus.

They spent many happy years here, and made many friends.  The kids and grandkids enjoyed the condo, too.  It was a great place to take little children, with a sunny pool and a beach and sandcastle building and boogie board riding and shell-gathering only a few steps away.  Kish, Richard, Russell and I came down here regularly, and so did my siblings and their kids.  We all have strong memories of this place.

Dad died in 1997.  He wanted his remains to stay here, and we honored that request.  The kids got older, the visits to the condo became less frequent, and Mom wanted to spend more time in Columbus with her kids and Columbus friends.  Eventually we sold the condo at Suntide, but Mom always said that after her death she wanted her remains to be brought here to be with Dad, always and forever.  We promised we would do so.  And this weekend all of the kids and grandkids are here to honor that promise and think once more of Mom and Dad and their little piece of paradise.

Mom and Dad and the condo are gone, but the sand and surf and sun — and memories — remain.  I got up early this morning to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, and it was as beautiful as I remembered.  Mom would have liked it.

Remembering Agnes

IMG_5099We had the calling hours for Mom today, and it was a very nice occasion.  My siblings decorated the room with photos of Mom and produced a terrific video as well, and we were surprised and delighted by the people who had journeyed from near and far in a driving rainstorm to pay tribute to a woman who had a life well lived.

One of our friends who did not know Mom, but who stopped by to pay their respects, mentioned that the room really didn’t feel like a mournful occasion — and she was absolutely right.  There was a very positive vibe as old friends reconnected through their recollections of this kind and positive woman.  It was exactly the kind of upbeat event that Mom would have wanted, and appreciated.

The photo above was placed next to the sign-in book.  It is one of my favorites, of a fresh-faced, bright-eyed, dimpled ingenue just back in Akron after two years at the Mount Vernon College for Women in Washington, D.C.  The inscription, made out to Dad in Mom’s careful handwriting, reads:  “To Jim, As Ever, Agnes.”  I think it is a fitting coda.