Just yesterday we five siblings were together for a family funeral – an affable and vibrant elder who lived to be 92 years old. He left behind his love – and so – his blessing.

As happens at family gatherings – stories roll off tongues. Next eldest brother Greg is a fun-loving storyteller.

Our mom died at 54. We five ranged in age from 17 to 23. My sister and I were at college through much of Mom’s sickest times. Our oldest brother newly out in the working world of Connecticut. Our two other brothers were home.

As it was, our dad could not believe or accept Mom would die and, so, was angry. “He berated her,” was how one brother put it. Our mom, knowing Dad was finding it too hard for her to be at home, told Greg she needed to go back to the hospital but didn’t think she could broach the subject with our dad.

“Well, Ma, what do you want to do about it?”

“I’ll take care of it, Greg.”

Later on that day our mother apparently slipped into a coma. Dad couldn’t roust her – neither could the nurses (Mom had a way with folks.). Greg called his police and firefighter friends. They couldn’t get the stretcher up our narrow winding staircase, so they carried Mom down in their portable canvas stretcher.

“When she passed by me, her grey wig pushed halfway up her head,” (Mom always wanted short grey hair – at 54 her hair was long and chestnut brown with a touch of grey at the temples.) ”she turned her head and winked.”

Two weeks later our mother died peacefully in her hospital bed with Dad sitting by her side.