Donna Olson died at 55
For several months Mom was at Columbus Park West Nursing Home. She had suffered her fifth stroke and was unable to come home. Each day she got weaker, and it got harder for her to respond to words and touch. Watching her fade away like this was the worst thing most of her family could imagine.
There were days that she would respond. On occasion she would wake up and give you an answer that made her seem like her old self… but then she would slip away.
Her body weakened and on Monday, August 4, 2003 she died in her bed at 7:00pm.
Well it’s only been a few days and in a few hours there will be a memorial service for her at the funeral home. And while the idea of seeing her there in that casket twists my stomach, I find a little measure of comfort in browsing old photos and remembering all the good times.
Most people throughout all history never had a chance to meet my mother. My niece was born only days before mom passed, and even she will not be able to meet her Grandmother. Mom never wrote any great novels or broke earth-shattering news to the world. But this is what I can tell you about my Mom, Donna Marie Olson.
Mom made the best berry pies that anyone in the world ever made. She liked to tell jokes and play pranks and make people laugh. She loved her children deeply and made them all feel special.
Mom was a sweet person. Kindness ran through every fiber of her body. After hearing of some abominable incident on the news (such as cruelties committed against children), she would feel sorrow and disgust and say, "Who in the world could do such a thing to an innocent child.”
She had three children, but wanted at least another girl.
Mom loved gardens and flowers. She liked to plant flowers in Spring. I can see her walking around her yard to inspect their progress, a serene smile on her face. She always wanted to move out into the country where she could have a little farm. While that dream never came true for her, several friends allowed her to plant gardens on their land over the years (such as her brother Bob Himes, Burt and Christine Smith, Eugene and Germaine Alexander, Earl Alexander … all friends of the family).
Going out to the park with friends and family was always one Mom’s favorite activities. Cooking out and sitting around to talk while the kids played… it was always a happy event for Mom.
It’s so sad to see her go. She was only 55 years old, and I never dreamed I would lose her so soon. I keep on thinking of strange little things I haven’t thought about in years. I remember on trips to church as a little boy where Mom would rub her forehead against mine and just smile and laugh. I also remember running my fingers through her thick, smooth hair on those trips; her hair was soft and warm from the sunlight.
I keep seeing her quietly walking around the flowers and dreaming about the countryside. Well Mom… that is the way I will always remember you because I love you and want to keep your dream alive.