Someone else is about to become the oldest living graduate of Kamehameha Schools, as my mother–Class of 1931–prepares to relinquish her hold on the informal title.
She’s getting the best of care. She is resting more comfortably than any time in recent months. But she is no longer responding to the world. She apparently is no longer hungry or thirsty. She had feared death, but now appears to accept it. She seems relaxed. She is ready.
Here’s how quickly things can change. Not long ago, she announced that Harry & David was having a sale, and so she ordered a two boxes of pears. She remembered that we were going to Maui for a few days and wanted to make sure that we would be back when the pears arrived. That was then. The pears were just delivered to her home in Kahala, but she won’t be back to enjoy them. It’s all matter of timing.
There are many lessons here. The Big One–enjoy it all while you can. Seriously.
In the meantime, I can say this. I am my mother’s son.
She taught me the basics of getting around the kitchen and making simple breakfast treats. Pancakes, muffins, popovers. But then she added the big lesson. When I pestered her for more information about the next level of cooking skills, she said simply, “If you can read, you can cook.”
Look it up, read about and learn from the experience of others, but find your own way.
It applied to cooking, and then to the rest of life.
When I had those typical kid questions–why is the sky blue, where does lightning come from, and so on–she pointed to the set of World Book Encyclopedias that probably took up six-months of her discretionary spending. The message was the same. If you can read, you’ll find the answers on your own.
Meda and I have jokingly referred to my mother as “the woman who knows everything.” Hawaii history, families, events, flowers, cooking, genealogy, plus the common sense gained from the experiences of a very long life.
Our world is going to be different without her.