Ninety-something Veva Mahs and i were getting acquainted in her nursing care residence long years ago, asking each other questions and telling stories, the way ya’ do. When i told her i had seven sisters, she looked at me with that Veva sparkle in her eyes and said, “Pig.” She had no sisters, as i recall. Though i’d had nothing to do with how many sisters i had, i felt a tad guilty. Veva and i laughed, and then she wanted to hear about each of my sisters.
They’re on my mind even more than usual, these sisters, because we got together a few weeks ago, our first “sistahfest” since Labor Day 2012 when Precious was nearing the end of her days due to pancreatic cancer. She died October 22, golden autumn outside the window of her hospice room in what we called the “new hospital” for decades, where she had been born, re-purposed now for hospice care. What a circle, eh?
Precious was her official nickname in the sister circle. At our first fest, Lucky had found eight matching white bathrobes and on the pockets Baby had embroidered the name we’d each chosen. Alas, Baby didn’t make this shindig in deference to her husband’s family reunion. We missed her effervescence and youth, and seven would have been heaven, but each pea seemed in its rightful pod.
Kooky, funny, and tell-it-like-it-is Bunky hosted this recent gathering in Park City UT near her home, which was perfect as traveling is too challenging for her these days. Challenging enough for all of us. In fact, Mad Dog has begun to wonder which plane ride will be her last. (Maybe the one to Park City three weeks ago!) Anyway, Bunky was a regular Perle Mesta, locating a comfortable Air B & B, grocery shopping enough to keep us out of busy, noisy restaurants, mostly, and helping transport between mountain home-away-from-home and airport.
Kitty brought quilted hot pads featuring fairies and such (see picture), one for each of us, that she had picked up at a fundraiser for one of her many causes. Kitty is our Susan B. Anthony, our Winifred Banks. Thoughtful PJ brought sister necklaces for all (see picture detail) AND a button/pin that said, Shh–no one cares… We placed the button in the middle of the dining-gaming-chatting table and made use of it strategically, ha! Our distinct senses of humor add up to lots of laughter and occasional groaning retorts. Foss may well be the wittiest of us all, definitely a gifted impersonator often called on for repeat performances. We celebrated Lucky’s birthday under the shadow of impending major surgery, but she’s well-constituted for come-what-may–and she’s Lucky!
Mad Dog and Foss called advisory sessions for life situations. Helpful results came from our council, supremely qualified by caring hearts and also bringing the skills and experiences of an attorney, a mediator, a counselor, a CNA, a special ed teacher, and a non-profit professional.
We have left scars on each other and helped each others’ wounds heal. We are crones now, powerful and wise, who have lived and loved, failed and triumphed, laughed and cried together for a very long time. ‘Tis good to bloom where we are each planted, to be ourselves because everyone else is taken, to meet and greet each passage of life, not perfectly, but together, failing and forgiving, trusting and loving. GRATEFUL.
Okay, Fossum sisters who read this, additons and corrections welcome. Sorry, too late for subtractions! Foss–and maybe others–sorry about the crone thing; maybe in ten years it will look different to you, kid…
Comments/responses also welcome from other readers, as always, if anything above trips a thought or memory…