Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

I can do


Man,  I so don’t want to make you cry, hell I don’t want to make me cry. So I have been hesitant to write lately… my mother yet again is in the hospital. I knew that at some point she was not going to rebound and demand to be sent home, to catch up on the news, write a letter to the editor or read the latest Louise Penny book. I fear this is the time.

When we first moved to the island the majority of our new friends still had at least one parent to worry about.  In the last year or two a lot of our new friends have lost their guardian generation. The majority of the parents lived good long lives into their friends who are reading this.. you’ve all been here. You know where I’m coming from. Share my feelings.

What is the definition of a good life. Mom always said she had a “good war”.  She spent the Second World War in the airforce at a pilot training base. The pilots wanted to dance every night before they left for Europe…Mom had a blast. Sure, she lost friends and family. Her fiancée was shot down over France… but she chose to remember her war as a good one.

Mom says her family was perfect. Sure her husband was a piece of crap. But she says she had ten years of happiness which is more than some marriages and it gave her three children who by all evidence at the hospital this week, love her dearly. She chooses to remember her family life as a good one.

There is a TED talks about the secret to longevity,  I haven’t found the talk about how to make those years happy too. But I suspect the secrets of a long life are muddled in with the secrets of a good life. With all of the challenges thrown at my Mom, she always chose to make the best of it. To soldier on. To fight to be happy another day.

She has outlived all of her friends and most of her family. Almost ninty six and honest to God I have never heard her complain about her life. She never had the money to travel or go to restaurants or drink expensive wine.  Anything she was missing in life she got from her books. Until last week she was still reading a book a day.

But she is done. She no longer wants to fight. No more tests or prodding or drugs or blood pressure tests. She wants to call it a day. My brother quite rightly expects it’s because she can’t read anymore… she is too tired. The definitive moment in my mothers life.. when reading a book brings no joy.

So perhaps living a good life includes having a good death. To part this world on your own terms. When the fight is gone but the comfort of knowing you made the best of every opportunity will be your legacy. When your children and grandchildren only ever speak of you with love and respect. That, what was important to you is important to them… 

I have spent fifty nine and two thirds years with this woman (I am not sixty yet!) and except for my wild teen years, we have always been honest with each other. I know her wishes, she knows she can trust me to make them so. She has always been there for me. On more occasions than I can count she came to my aid. It’s what Mothers do. I have always  promised to be with her for this passage.  That we would do it together. If at all possible. I will be there. It’s the very least

 I can do

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

20 thoughts on “I can do

  1. What a legacy she has passed on to her children. She must be so proud. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family and your mom.

  2. Moira this is such a beautiful tribute to your mom. Having never had the privilege to meet her, from your writing it sounds like you are so much like her.
    I do hope that she has a timely, peaceful passage . Our hearts are with you.

  3. I second bekeats’ comments. Your love for your Mom so shines though your post. May your wish to be there with her be granted. You have a very special and wonderful bond, each, I’m sure so proud of the another. This is a difficult passage, but you will always be grateful for your Wonderful Mom, and that is saying a lot in life. My own Wonderful Mom was a blessing to have had. I’m guessing that your Wonderful Mom is a good reason why YOU are a Wonderful Mom. What a legacy. Hugs

  4. Beautiful. Thank you for writing it.

  5. My mom died too young (64) and it was sad..hard to deal with. My father died basically on his own terms and it was much better..almost good. Still, I missed them both. Loved them both. And friends have died. Dogs have died. All of it was a painful loss but I have reluctantly come to terms with it, I guess. What makes it more acceptable, of course, are the intimations of my own mortality. I will get there, too. The only comfort I get now is that, when the life is long and well lived, the passing is not only accepted but longed for by the traveler. So, it must be OK.

  6. Well it did (make me cry), but how could it not. So bautifully written, Moira and such a wonderful testimony. I hope your mom will be able to read this one last thing before she goes. My thoughts are with you. Love Syd

  7. Oh, Moira, of course I shed a few tears with you, how could I not after such a poignant post? My heart is with you on this journey.
    Hugs, Lorenda

  8. Moira, what a beautiful tribute to your mother! She’s such a remarkable woman. My thoughts are with you.
    Big hugs, Lynne

  9. yes we have all been there. I guess that makes it a little easier but not much. Our hearts are with you.

  10. Xoxo

  11. Hi Moira,

    I read your lovely tribute to your mother the other day and hope that you are well in these sad times. What a time it is when you are going through life, death and memories with your mother and family. Your mother sounded like a wonderful woman who embraced life and made it better. I was sorry to hear the news. You have written lovingly about her for years.

    My mother died unexpectedly on January 3 this year and I try to be like her more than ever. I have her diaries from about 1948 when she was 20 years old. Turns out she kept a diary for all of her life as I found the ones for more recently when she and my father were living in Comox near us for three months a year. She had written down what she served for dinner when we came over and any tale from Tom and Elizabeth that she found amusing. I found the three month and the four month mark two of the toughest times after her death. Still feels very strange to all of us.

    Always funny to find the sun comes up again the next day and life goes on. I call my father as often as I can to see how he is doing at 87 and alone for the first time in over 62 years. He is very pragmatic and resilient but still it is not easy for him. He is in the family home of 55 years with friends all around. He is very lucky. He is worried about his neighbour, Stephanie Deutsch, who fell recently and is in the hospital. She is 100. I thought my mother was good for into her nineties as she was so healthy. Didn’t know about the cancer! Neither did she!

    We will see you around the island as the sun starts to shine and the air warms.

    Take care,

    Heather >

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