Sadly, my mother passed away gently on the 19th of January, almost nine years and a month to the day since the passing of my father.
My mother’s passing wasn’t completely unexpected, but I was still unprepared when it happened. Can you ever be? Even though we weren’t particularly close, I was still swamped with feelings of sadness, loss, regret, remorse … the bonds that tie us run much more deeply than we realize.
I’m posting a couple of photos in memory of my parents – Larry and Margie Faggetter.
May they find each other again in the Summerland.
Even after 9 years, I still miss Dad. I have dreams where I’m talking to him, telling him all about the things I’ve been up to. Sadly, he passed away before we began homesteading. I’ve always wondered what the “old man” would have to say about that. He was a farmer, a tinker, a rockhound. We were always so different – he was a staunch conservative, I was a socialist anarchist – but we were just beginning to learn how to talk to each other before he passed. I’ve missed that.
Mom knew about our experiences out here, but I was never sure how much she really understood. I would send her pictures and bits that I’d written, and a friend of hers would read them out to her. Then she would transcribe a letter back from Mom.
I feel strange and unconnected without them. I know they will always be in my memories, but I miss being able to phone them and catch up on news …
Thanks to all who have expressed their condolences during this time of sadness! I know that many of you have been through your own tough times, and I truly appreciate that you are able to reach out to me now.
I am heartened by those of you who remember my mother kindly and with fondness. You provide me with images to hold onto throughout my own storm of memories.
During all the years that I had known her, my mother suffered from a largely untreated mental illness, most likely schizophrenia. This illness was hidden by the family, as there was a terrible stigma associated with such illnesses in the past. However, as a child growing up in this environment, I learned that my mother had two faces – the gentle and kindly one, and the dark, unpleasant and sometimes violent one. I will forever struggle with these contrasting images of the same woman.
Unfortunately, untreated mental illness will ultimately burn out the brain (excessive excitation of brain tissue by neurotransmitters). By the time my father passed, my mother was already showing signs of the resulting dementia at age 72. What followed then was the long and difficult process of finding the necessary level of care for an individual who insists on independence. In the end, my mother became a ward of the government, but this finally allowed her illness to be treated and for a system of care-givers to be established to keep her safe. It became necessary, although sad, that I, as family, had to step aside and let the process follow its course. Thankfully, in the end, my mother got to enjoy a life that was probably better than she had ever know living sheltered and hidden with my father. I have tried to remind myself, during the past weeks, that my “hard love” turned out to be an act of compassion that gave my mother 9 years of an active, engaged life with friends that she would not have otherwise had.
To those of you who have assisted my mother during her last years, I offer my heartfelt thanks!