Last Wednesday, my Mother, Dolores M. Downs, went to her eternal reward.
In her last six of seven weeks, she has been visited often by her eight children, many grandchildren, one great-grand, and other friends and family. Her final year and a half were in assisted living at Riderwood, and she received tender and loving care from their nurses, aids, and other residents.
My Mother has been the rock in my world since I was born and was always a loving, firm presence who delivered wisdom to me—not always solicited. I have always known she wanted only the best for me. She was a guide, mentor, and also the dearest friend.
I am the third of her eight children, and we all had different, evolving relationships with Mom until the end. This past weekend we celebrated a long-planned family reunion at my sister Teresa’s retreat center, Three Otters Eco Retreat, in Paw Paw, West Virginia.
The weekend became a family memorial, with many stories and memories shared. One thing I have learned to appreciate about celebrations of life is how little we know about the loved one. We have our connection, but sharing various angles of a person adds excellent depth to understanding their character and facets.
Several siblings shared that Mom encouraged them to share their life details while growing up. I specifically recall her saying repeatedly, “Do I need to know this because you don’t have to tell me if I don’t?
I will share two bits of her wisdom passed on to me.
You’re at your worst when you’re right.
She told me that often and it stuck. I have learned that I am often a “Know-it-all.” Being right often doesn’t matter.
When Mom wanted a favor done, she would ask “Can you make yourself useful, as well as good looking.”
Give that a try. Who could say”No.”
I have avoided spending too much time in remorse. As the family attorney, there are lots of loose ends to tie up. I will miss her always and was so lucky to have had her as my North Star for so long.
I am also very proud of my siblings, as we have gathered together and been on the same team through Mom’s ups and downs.
We work as a team in our firm to aid those dealing with losing a loved one. I appreciate at a different level the importance of that task and as least a few of the challenges our clients have faced so bravely all these years.
A special thanks to my Coworkers at the Downs Law Firm for their support, understanding, and prayers over these last few months.
With much love will be much loss.