Friday, June 17, 2016

The chair...

The chair...  A few weeks ago I bought a fancy electric reclining chair for my mom to use here in Utah.  With a simple hand-held control, the chair's back could be moved anywhere from lying almost flat to sitting up straight.  Likewise, a footrest could be placed at any desired angle.  On top of all that, the seat would rise high enough to stand you right up, and then go back down to normal chair height.

Mom never had a chance to use that chair.  The day after we set it up, she was admitted to the hospital, and she never returned to her independent living apartment.  After she died, we owned this very useful chair - but nobody in the family had any need of it.  What to do?

After some thought, I decided that mom would want us to find someone who could use it - preferably someone local, or a veteran ... or both.  I've come to know my predominantly LDS community well enough to know there's a good way to search for someone in need of particular help: the bishop of the ward we live in (Paradise ward 2).  

So I called our bishop and explained the situation to him.  A few days later he called back to tell me that he couldn't find anyone in ward 2 - but the bishop of ward 3 had a great candidate: Roy and Maxine M., whose house is less than a mile from ours.

Last night my brother Scott and I picked up the chair from mom's apartment and delivered it to Roy and Maxine.  We had the pleasure of getting to know them a bit - mom would have called them "salt of the earth", and she'd have liked them.  Roy has a number of physical challenges, and that chair will be a big boon to him.  Furthermore he has back surgery scheduled for next week, and he'll be unable to bend his back for a few weeks - making the chair a very timely gift for him.

Roy is local, and he's also a veteran.  Mom would have loved it that we found someone like him to give her chair to.  On the short drive home from Roy and Maxine's place I had a big smile on my face - it felt so right for mom's chair to be there for Roy...

Slo-mo puppies!

Slo-mo puppies!  Just go enjoy...


Obituary...  My sister Holly and I collaborated to write an obituary for mom, one that we hoped she'd approve of.  But when I called the Trenton Times (the paper she read every day for over 50 years, even after leaving New Jersey) I got quite a shock: the cost for published her short obituary would be well over $500.  Even more shocking: the tiny little newspaper in Lincoln, Maine would charge over $300!

My mom would never forgive us for wasting perfectly good money on something stupid like that.  I can almost hear her hollering at me for even considering it.  So instead, I'm going to self-publish it right here, where anyone searching the Internet for her name will find it:
Elinor Bernice Dilatush, 83, died peacefully in Logan, Utah early in the morning of June 8, 2016. She was the daughter of Donald and Mable MacLaughlin of Red Bank and Locust, New Jersey. For most of her life, for reasons that nobody really understands, Elinor lived voluntarily in New Jersey. Almost 50 years of that time was with her husband Thomas Jobes Dilatush on the Dilatush Nursery, along U.S. 130 just south of Robbinsville. Her only escape was the many summers she spent at Long Pond, Maine and camping all across the country with her family. She is survived by her four children: Mark, Holly, Scott, and Tom. While Elinor thought her children and their progeny were all extraordinary and superlative examples of humankind, an objective observer would almost certainly be less charitable – but she loved them all anyway, warts, questionable characters, and all.

Elinor loved flowers, ornamental plants, weeding, watering, birds, four-letter words, playing cards (almost any kind would do), and talking about creative ways to eliminate liberal politicians, ignorant voters, and religious fanatics with violent tendencies. She owned a .357 revolver and knew how to use it; allegedly she even occasionally hit a target when practicing. Elinor was a talented crafter: painting, sewing, and creative decorations were all in her repertoire. Her teasel Santa Clauses and gingerbread villages were famous; articles about them were published in the Trenton Times. Her cooking was legendary amongst friends and family; anyone lucky enough to eat at her table would remember the experience the rest of their lives. Her willpower was extraordinary; amongst her feats of self-control were her instant cold-turkey smoking cessation when the Surgeon General's report came out in 1964, and control of her diabetes through diet alone.

Elinor's favorite place on Earth was Long Pond, just north of Lincoln, Maine. She had much to cherish there: many friends, the natural beauty of the pond and its surrounds, and most of all the good times to be had fishing, paddling on the pond, and playing cards with the delightful cast of characters who frequented her cabin on the pond. Per her wishes, Elinor's ashes will be scattered in Long Pond so that she can look at the fishes, the loons, the people, and the pond she so cherished.

Elinor asked that no service or ceremony be held at the time of her death – she had an aversion to the very notion of formal mourning. Instead, she asked that family and close friends gather at Long Pond at an appropriate time to scatter her ashes and celebrate her life, and this is exactly what we are going to do.
We miss you, mom...