Source: When life gets you down…
Source: When life gets you down…
Eliza Manus Dover. Nothing. Nowhere an obituary. Her tombstone clearly states she died Sept 27 1939. For years, almost a decade, I’ve looked without success in and around September and October 1939 for a death certificate, obituary, bible reference, something. This year, by happenstance, looking for an obituary for someone else, a headline grabs my attention. Take a look and, bingo, there she is. Mrs. D. H. Dover (David Harvey). Another female ancestor relegated to Mrs. so and so. Definitely her.
The article is dated March 7, 1939. She died the day before on Mar 6; not Sept 27.
Whatever the impetus for our conversations, whether it was Granny or me bringing up the past, we pulled out boxes of photos and labeled them. That was 1984. Decades later my parents and I pulled out their boxes of photos which included Granny’s (now deceased) photos. It took me by surprise, having forgotten, to realize on the back of many photos the cursive handwriting was mine. We labeled more and returned them to the old photo trunk. Recently, I came across an envelope in the trunk. Inside, wrapped in tissue, was a tiny coated glass image of a young man in uniform (from the south, Civil War no doubt). No name. Fortunately, my Dad remembered. The young man was his great grandfather, Robert Randolf Adams. I took a HDR photo with my iPhone and uploaded it at home.The tiny glass is back in its tissue and envelope, labeled and the digital image archived. Now, if only I can do the same with the thousands of images across my family’s digital devices!
The last day I spent with my mother, we held hands. I sat in Dad’s recliner and she in hers. We watched Tom and Jerry cartoons and Too Cute! She struggled to breathe but didn’t complain and marveled at the beautiful colors.
There were long stretches she seemed comfortable. It was easy to forget Dad needed to run errands and Mom could pass away any moment.
I wasn’t afraid (although it crossed my mind) of what would happen if she did. Nothing was going to happen. Not then. Maybe not ever. Forget the reality of the situation. I was watching cartoons and cute puppies on television with my mother. Reality didn’t stand a chance.
Dad stayed home. No errands today. Instead, we sat quietly together, brushing aside as best we could the drone of oxygen machines.
Touching Mom gave me comfort. I wondered if the same was true for her.
When she felt smothered, we looked each other in the eye and waited.
“Breath in the roses, blow out the candles…breath in the roses, blow out the candles.”
Didn’t work. She resorted to batting at her mouth, pulling off the mask. Check the tubing. Where is the second tube? Need a smaller mask. Check the pulse oximeter. Wait. Wait. You aren’t dying today.
Dad was tender, attentive and on the verge of tears but held it together as oxygen levels returned to manageable levels. We returned to our places, settled back into television and conversation. Made time.
After a little flan (her favorite) and a few sips of water, Mom raised a fading arm and joked, “Do you believe this? I can’t even get up and get my own drink!”
She knew it was a silly thing to say. A show of faith holding up that cup; defying the odds. Mom was precocious that way.
“I loved my life.” She squeezed my hand before I left to make the long drive home in the dark. “I would do it all over again.”
As if she knew what I was thinking, how reluctant I was to leave, Mama smiled and told me how much she loves me, kissed me and said go home, be safe.
She sent me on my way with love to family, adding (like it was my birthday), “Remember, you made me a mother.”
(Mom, two years later and I feel your hand on mine. The look in your eyes, the sound of your voice and the kiss we shared envelops all that I am.)
Benjamin Franklin Welch, only son of John Harvey and Hazel Keen Welch, was born in Thomaston. His parents lived and work at Martha Mill (better wages, moving from Glenwood farm) until WWII when they moved to Savannah where John worked at the shipyard along with Hazel’s brother George L Keen.
http://home.windstream.net/tuarch/tmhistory.htm “Martha Mill Brief History”