The other day we were all driving to Zack’s first swim lesson of the season. Out of the blue he asks me, “Mom, how did your Mom passed away?” I could have gone one of two ways with this. I could have gone down the path of sadness, being quiet and choosing not to really talk about it, but instead I took the opposite approach. “She got really sick.” I told him. “And she couldn’t get better so she died, and now she’s up in Heaven?” he asked. “Yes.” I replied. Zack went on to say “That makes me really sad because I never got to meet her.” That just about broke my heart.
I explained to Zack (and Brayden listened quietly too) how my Mom was now an Angel up in Heaven and just because we can’t see her anymore, she sees us. I told him that it is hard for me to have the reality of he and Brayden never knowing my Mom, their Grandma, but that she knows all about them. She sees them and she is with us always. We can’t hear or touch her, but she knows all we do and she is in every breath of air we breathe, every leaf that flutters in the wind, every drop of rain or snowflake that gently hits the ground.
Zack seemed to take it okay, and I told him we could look at pictures of Grandma when we got home, and whenever he wanted. I have lots of pictures!
We got to swimming, Zack did amazing – as if I expected anything less – and we came home. I forgot to get out the pictures of my Mom (I’ll have to make myself a reminder note). It was a touching moment to have Zack ask what he did and to genuinely feel the sadness and love. To have my five-year-old with such deep expressions of emotion… it humbled me and made me proud.
Yesterday I got an email from my Dad regarding a memorial for my Mom from the hospital where she had been cared for. It also was very touching, and the timing couldn’t be any better. I posted it on Facebook, but this is what it read: “In 2005, Olga Sommer, a long-time patient of Sequoia Hospital received the unfortunate news that her lengthy battle with leukemia and lupus was nearing its end. Rather than retreating quietly, Olga and her husband, Fred, openly approached the Sequoia Hospital Foundation to see what they could do in support of the hospital’s Infusion Center that had so compassionately cared for Olga. Their first gifts helped purchase comfortable chairs for those receiving infusion treatments. Next, they funded a blanket warmer for the department, followed by a patient scale, and a television. They had only just begun. Olga passed away late in 2006 but not before instilling in Fred the importance of providing for Sequoia Hospital’s future. He continues to give passionately in her memory, and to assure that Sequoia is cared for even after his passing. Fred Sommer has joined the Foundation’s Legacy Circle by including Sequoia Hospital in his planning with a charitable gift annuity. When the new Sequoia Hospital opens this year, the Infusion Center’s waiting area will be named in memory of Olga Sommer, loving wife and mother. The dedication to Olga is a lasting honor to the impact she and Fred have had on the care provided to Sequoia’s patients.”