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Cluster images fill our family photographs.  Mom and her kids gathered around a birthday cake.  Our family huddled around the Christmas tree.  Her three little ghosts in homemade costumes for Halloween.

Mom brought her kids together.  She gathered us in the apron of her love from the miracle of each child’s birth through all the events of our lives.  She pulled us close to fill the pages of our story.  The still images give silent testimony of her desire and her ability to draw us together.

Mom gathers her kids

Mom holding her kids

Time passed and we developed the capacity to fly away.  One by one we left home to start our own lives.  The miles between us faded our connection as brothers and sister.  Disagreements between her children were like water poured down a hill.  She couldn’t know the path it would take but hoped for limited relationship erosion.  In the last year of her life the heavy lifting of health care stretched the tie between her kids nearly to the breaking point.

We came together during the last days of mom’s life in hospice care.  We sat around her bed one night and played Plinky Prompts.  The ice breaker answers were a glimpse into parts of our life she couldn’t have known.  The laughter we shared with each other must have been sweet harmony for her heart.  She couldn’t speak and had closed her eyes for the last time days earlier but I’m certain mom smiled inside.  She is gone from our sight but we still feel her last embrace.