N is for Never Ninety

I wanted my mother to live forever, I guess. Even though I knew that wasn’t realistic, I was hopeful that she’d live well into her nineties at least. After all, her grandmother lived to be 91 and great-grandfather lived to 92. Her Aunt Bertha lived to 96 and Aunt Vina to 94.

Those are all from the Tower line in our family. It’s pretty remarkable for people born in the 1800s to live that long. I was hoping that those Tower genes would carry Mom along into the nineties too.

We had worked together to complete the two books, Mom’s memoir and the collected stories about Dad’s life. I’d hoped the three works-in-progress gave her some incentive to hang around. I really needed her input on our Civil War ancestor’s book and on Aunt Bertha’s biography.

The book includes her prize-winning essay on "My Mother's Apron."

My mother’s memoir.

They say that having a passion for something contributes to longevity. Sadly, she did not regain her zest for writing and research and genealogy after Dad died. Her health issues and missing her spouse of 67 years dragged her down. She died of a broken hip followed by a heart attack at 88.

Now it is up to me to make those books happen. I worry that there will be gaps that I can’t fill without her knowledge of family history. I worry that I can’t tell the stories like she could.

Knowing that they won’t be perfect, I need to go forward with the projects. It is what she would want. Here’s hoping I live until 99 to complete all the family projects.

The book about Dad.

The book about Dad.

6 thoughts on “N is for Never Ninety

  1. Well, 88 is pretty darn close to the 90s! And one of the greatest fears of their generation was ending up in a nursing home, so she and Dad were spared that at least. When she was in the rehab center for her broken hip (and first 2 heart attacks), she was mentally writing a mystery story that was set in a nursing home. I think it involved a staff member being murdered by a patient–her way of venting some frustrations, I think!


    • As I sat by her hospital bed, she told me about a dream she’d had. It was a post-apocalypse setting though she was in El Dorado, but the people were all gone. She followed a badger into the countryside and it led her to a rock overhang with sort of a cave under it. She was going to hide there from whatever terrible thing had happened.

      I wonder if she would have written that story if she had survived the whole medical episode.


      • How interesting. A few days before her fall, Mom and I had visited the oil museum in El Dorado and saw a mural depicting pioneer days–with a cave under an overhang and a badger nearby. It looked like her pet badger Jolly and we talked about her writing a children’s book featuring Jolly. I took photos of the mural for her to use as inspiration.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sad your mum passed away, Virginia. What an extraordinary lineage. I hope you will live a long, healthy and happy life to tell these amazing stories. And from what I have read so far, you have got nothing to worry about: you will do your mum and other ancestors proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think most of us don’t want our parents to die. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 50, it terrified me. Fortunately my mother is a fighter and it looks like she’s going to pull through fine. I’ve also thought of putting together a book of my parent’s lives. I think it’s a sweet gesture, and definitely a good way to preserve a memory.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have been doing a wonderful job and have certainly inspired me to keep at it. I know you will accomplish much more however long you have on this old earth!

    Liked by 1 person

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