Updated: Jul 19, 2020
I wrote the below in 2007. The only change made was the # of years Moms has been somewhere else. It was 13 years in 2007.
26 years ago, Mom and I spent a cold and rainy November afternoon together. She wasn't feeling good, so we snuggled up with some blankets on her bed. When I asked her if there was anything I could do for her, she said yes.
"Go to my desk and bring me the blue three-ring binder and the pile of yellow spiral notebooks next to it."
I brought them back to the bed. For the rest of the afternoon, we read every loose-leaf page in the blue binder and every yellow lined piece of paper, front and back, in the spiral notebooks. When we finished, she piled the yellow spiral notebooks on top of the blue binder, pushed the stack over to me, and said, "Finish."
My memory cannot recall the seconds that followed. I quite vividly remember my verbal reaction once I was able to think and speak again.
"No, no, no!" I don't know how many times I said "no" before I could formulate a real sentence. "I can't. I won't. I don't want to."
"Yes, you can," she reassured me. "Yes, you can."
"No, Mom, I can't. I can barely even write an essay for English class without your editing help. You know my grammar. You know how much I hate those rules. Please, Mom; please, don't tell me to do this. I can't. I don't want to. Please don't."
Her pale face was still and silent, almost unrecognizable, more serious than I'd ever seen. "Why, mom? Why are you doing this to me?"
"Because I know you can, and because you're the only one of my four daughters who listened to me when I talked about God."
Our conversation ended. Three weeks later, I witnessed Mom take her last breath. It was a magical sight, as beautiful and miraculous as I imagine the birth of a child.
Moments after, I heard a voice in my head. "Write about your experience. How did you feel? What did you see?
And so I've been writing since...
Mom clearly knew me better than I knew myself. I was only 20 when she told me to "Finish." Ever since, though, somewhere deep down, I knew I'd someday be able to figure out what she was directing me to do on that cold and rainy November morning. I now understand she was not telling me to FINISH her book. She was telling me to finish carrying out the messages in her book, but in my way - Hence YERWAY.
On Sunday, June 7, 2020, I tried to figure out what photo to include as the cover for this post. I looked at the blue binder on my desk with Mom's work in it, put it on the area rug, and took a photograph of it. I then left my computer to make breakfast. When I came out of the kitchen, I saw Franklin with his head on the binder. This was not staged. My heart melted. Here is one instance where website pieces magically came together.