Have you ever heard the story of someone being at the bedside of a dying loved one and telling them it’s time to go? Then at that moment, the loved one takes their last breath? Have you ever experienced this yourself? I had always heard these stories and on February 3, this happened to me. My 92-year-old mother had been living in a memory care facility for the past 6 years. It was so very hard to see her deteriorate to the shell of a person that she once was. She eventually stopped talking and was completely bed ridden. My mother was vibrant, lively and active and if there was a plug to pull, she would have pulled it herself! She would have never, ever wanted this. Who would?
When I got to her room, she was breathing pretty heavy and my dad, who is 96, hadn’t arrived yet. I went to my mother’s bedside, stroked her hair and said it was OK to get going on her next journey. It was time for her to leave her old and tired body and go see her parents, sister and other family. Right then she took her last breath.
We had prayed for her to be let out of her prison, but when it actually happens, the reality sets in that our mother is GONE! The woman who gave birth to me and my sister, raised us, and helped take care of my son was gone forever. Our mother.
If you had an awesome mom that you lost much too early, I am so very sorry. That sucks and has to be so freaking hard. My mom was 92 and it was still hard.
The American Dream
Eloyce M. Miller (later Cornett) was born in Shawnee Oklahoma in 1924. When she was 2 years old, mom, dad and her baby sister, Lowetta took a Model T car over a wooden plank road to California where there was promise of work. My grandfather Pete did many things to keep the family afloat during the depression. He was a ditch digger, a baker, a miner, a gas station owner, a farmer, a house fixer-upper, you name it. My grandmother Thelma worked right along with him. They moved around a lot! Northern California (Nevada City, North San Juan, Auburn) then to Arizona. They moved up and down the state of California from Los Angeles to Northern California a couple of times.
Eloyce graduated from Nevada City High School in 1942. After high school, she worked as waitress, a dime store clerk, a machine shop worker, and a telephone operator. She eventually joined the Army and was stationed in Ft. Benning Georgia as a parachute rigger with the 82nd Airborne Division. It was there where she met my paratrooper dad, Marvin Cornett, who had just returned from the war. He was a Jump Master, teaching new recruits how to jump out of planes. My dad owned an Army surplus Harley motorcycle and they rode in the rain to the courthouse in Phoenix City Alabama and got married by a Justice of the Peace, who by the way, had tobacco stains on his shirt! In 1946 my sister Marleen was born. My dad got out of the Army briefly to try his hand in the civilian world. After a year or so, he re-joined the Army and made a career of it for 28 years. The Army moved them all over the place from four years in France to various Army posts in the states. I was born in 1959 in Illinois where my dad was an Army recruiter. We lived in a mobile home and my mother hated every minute of the nine years we lived in snow country.
She was very happy when my dad retired from the Army and we moved back to Northern California to be close to her family and out of the snow.
In the 1970s, Eloyce worked at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento CA as a secretary, an avionics repair technician, and in a warehouse where she worked on a conveyor belt boxing and moving military supplies. She even drove a forklift.
When Eloyce and Marvin retired, they traveled.. They spent several years driving their motor home from Northern California to Mazatlan Mexico and would park there for six months out of the year. They took trips all over the US, Europe, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Alaska, Canada, Panama Canal, and the Caribbean. (I may be leaving out some spots)
Eloyce was a gifted artist (oil and acrylic), craft maker, seamstress, golfer, clogger, bowler, guitar player, belly dancer, world traveler and party hostess. (She loved to throw a party!)
Safe travels Mother! See you on the other side!
To read my mom’s entire memoir in her own words, click here
There are a ton of pics and it’s a pretty awesome read.
Click here to see the music video to the song I wrote about her mom and dad. The lyrics were taken almost word for word out of her book.