The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

November 9, 2013

Don McAllister: Mom had a thing for holidays

You’ll quickly note this column is different from others because my material deserves more preparation than I’ve had these past weeks, and because a fellow ought to be able to say something nice about his mom now and then.

First, please attend one of the public observances for Veteran’s Day tomorrow.

Before her funeral my son pointed out that his grandmother had a thing for holidays — being born on St. Patrick’s Day and buried on Halloween. It was an awful sight that Wednesday morning when I found her on the floor.

The stroke kept her from pushing her button so she had been there for several hours. If any good can come from this, it’s that I can urge you to get the new device that automatically detects a fall. I didn’t know about them until it was too late.

Thursday looked grim, but she still had her mind. Friday morning this determined lady was trying to speak in sentences and was able to drink thick liquids from a cup. That afternoon she was on a walker taking steps and using her arms to move on the bed. It all changed over the weekend when she went into pneumonia. One more week of intense struggle and she was gone — 12 days of misery against 96 years of being able to live in her own home — remarkable, but still hard to watch.

Marguerite McAllister was no hayseed. Her young photos showed that she could be quite glamorous. Still, at the core of things, she remained a country girl from Willow Hill, Illinois. She often said “was” when she should have said “were.”

I would see people cringe and think, “You go Mom!” for she was staying true to her people. They were the ones who guided her family after her father died in 1918 and her mother lost mom’s sister in 1919. These were the family and friends who helped them survive and formed her character.

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