Mom (age 96) excited about her trip to Rockport, MA
Mom was a twin and the youngest of 14 children. She grew up on an Iowa farm with no electricity or running water. I remember her telling me how she learned to cook by helping her mother prepare meals for the large family most of whom were out in the fields helping my grandfather plant and reap.

Some of my memories of her include her making our lunches every day and always have a hot meal on the table for dinner. I remember going to the church with her on Saturdays to help her put flowers on the altar or deliver newly ironed vestments that she took care of. As she aged, she aged gracefully maintaining her sense of humor to the end. When she was 98 I asked her if she would send me a sign when she got to heaven letting me know she was OK. She smiled and said she would send me an email, then pausing she said, "No, I will send you a butterfly." I also asked her if she believed in reincarnation and she told me she loved being our mom but she did not want to return since she worked so hard to get to heaven.
When Mom died, she was going on 100 years of age. She had been in a coma for two weeks, never opening her eyes even once. The night before she died, I was sitting up with her all night and getting ready to leave and get some sleep as my sister was about to take my place. I got up on her bed, removed her oxygen mask and getting about 4 inches from her face told her it was ok for her to die, that I knew she wanted to see her parents and family. She quickly opened her eyes wide, looked right into my eyes and said, "What will you and Jim and Sally (my siblings) do without me?" I told her gently that we were all in our sixties now and though we will miss her terribly, it is ok for her to go to Jesus. Then she said, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." and died 45 minutes later.
I thank her on this Mother's Day for the deep love she gave to all of us;
the sacrifices she made and
her determination to provide for us through many difficult times.
I know she is with me yet as are so many I have lost.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mom!
Those who know me know that my buddy and companion Golden Retriever Bentley, was diagnosed last summer with a slow growing form of lymphoma. When the UW (University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine) could not determine the cause, they recommended I send his blood to Colorado State University (CSU) where research to determine why 60% of our Goldens die of cancer when the rate is 40% for other breeds. They are both too high but that is a subject for another day.  The Goldens in the CSU study diagnosed with this newly identified form lived 6 to 33 months and some did not die of lymphoma. This length of time is quite unusual. They also see, now, that some of their symptom free (i.e. normal) subjects (sweet Goldens) also have the cells found in and used to diagnose Bentley. This is early in the study for them to know all the pieces of this newly identified form of lymphoma. So far, one year later, I am blessed to have Bentley with me and doing fairly well. He is happy, eats well and outside of periodic rounds of infections, hot spots and loose stools, he is comfortable and I believe, pain free. As I write this on May 8, he and I are dealing with his fourth round of problems in as many weeks.


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