My mom was a woman of words.
She taught us the words to “Jesus Loves Me,” and she told me what menstruation meant.
When I was 8, she gave me a blank book, with an inscription: “To Katherine, for your poems.”
A former English teacher, my mom taught me the meaning of “colloquial” when I was reading my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” I used it in an essay on the book for my 9th grade Honors English class. I got an A.
Her final words, uttered 13 years ago today, were perhaps her most important. I feel fortunate my Dad and I were in the hospital room to hear them. Not all families have this opportunity, I know. I wish my sister and brother had been there too.
She had been quiet and unresponsive for several hours when we noticed her struggling to speak.
“I want to say that I love you,” she told my Dad, in a stronger voice than we expected. “And I love the kids.”
Thank you, Mom, for the words.