There is a season for all things. I lost my mother on Sunday. She was 93 years old. The picture above was taken on her honeymoon in August of 1951 in Duluth, MN. She was the last of her generation within our family in many ways. My father and his four siblings and my mother’s four siblings all passed before her. She and my father had a combined eight children. One of her sons died four years ago, but seven of us are still here. Many of us along with several grandchildren were able to spend some of her last hours with her over the weekend. She will be greatly missed.
After leaving the nearby nursing home late on Sunday, I drove over to Como Zoo for some time alone. I stood outside the wolf pen, hoping so see the two resident wolves behind the fencing. I’m sure they saw me, but I did not see them among the murky shadows. A car slowly approached me across the parking lot. I expected a security guard to question my presence. Instead a gentleman rolled down the window and said, “Oh, it’s you”. Then I recognized him as someone who had been standing in the lobby of the nursing home as they brought my mother’s remains out for the last time in her walk of honor. He offered his condolences to me. The man had been visiting his mother at the nursing home and had two teddy bears that he was carrying out to wash for his mother. Her health was declining and she would be moving floors and into the Alzheimer’s unit the next day. When she was a bit more robust they would drive over to the Zoo in his car with the teddy bears, roll down the windows and commune with the wolves. The teddy bears were on the front seat with him where his Mom used to sit. He said she wasn’t mobile enough to make the short drive over to the zoo anymore. The gentleman told me the wolves know you by your smell and can recognize you from up to two miles away. He said if they got used to you and trusted you, they eventually came out to see you in the dark. He said the wolves knew him, his mother and the teddy bears by their smell. He told me the names and history of the Como wolves. Denali was the darker wolf and Shy-Anne was the white wolf. The Shy-Anne name because she was shy. After a lovely conversation, I turned to head over to my car to head home. There was Shy-Anne sitting and watching us. I took that as a good medicine sign to help me find some peace.
Grief is a tempestuous sea.
Rogue waves conspire,
But we paddle on.
Bad news may seem a tsunami.
Yet gentle breezes of peace interlude.
We simply need to recognize them.
Sometimes the business of death
overtakes the business of grieving.
But the waves are never far away.
She loved and was loved.
The beat fades away,
But the love gently laps the shore.