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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: Her Living Legacy
By Linda Buskirk
05/20/09


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She is going through motions of life. Not in a sad way, really. She occupies her time with what she enjoys and what her body allows her to do. She attends meals and Bible study. It’s a good thing meals are provided in her rent, because her apartment’s only table is overflowing with newspapers and magazines. She clips coupons, makes notes, copies poems and historical facts she finds interesting. Every day she goes to recycle bin in the laundry room and pulls out more.

But before… she was the motion of life. Starched white cap, white uniform, white hose, white shoes – bustling to make lunch for her daughter, lunch for herself, out to the freeway, into the hospital. She managed a lab, had compassion for the patients and pride in her work.

Her husband died when she was only 50, and on she went. She kept up the house – new roof, new siding, new appliances. She put her daughter through college - driving turkey and dressing 250 miles for Thanksgiving celebrations in the dorm.

She gardened - grew rhubarb, washed it, cut it, froze it and made cobbler year ‘round. It seemed she made jam out of everything – grapes, rhubarb, zucchini.

Retirement did not stop her. She drove the “old ladies” to church and they all went out to eat afterwards. She drove to doctors’ offices around the metro area collecting outdated medicine samples and headed up a ministry to count them, label them and send them off to Appalachian and third world clinics.

Slowly, arthritis and dementia slowed her pace and her ability to process all that action. A walker and a cane replaced the car and the garden tools. Her memories of “before” come into focus with melancholy. “Oh, a McDonalds… there was a McDonalds back home.” And endless questions about possessions and whatever became of them. “What happened to my shovel? Who has my Revere Ware?”

It is good to reflect on her vibrant past, rather than dwell on the duller now. Her legacy is still alive – caring, serving, loving. Perhaps the best way to honor that legacy is just to do likewise.


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Jeanne E Webster 05/25/09
What a lady! Well written article, perhaps about your mother? A fulfilled life, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing.