My mom, Sally, who was in an assisted living apartment and then a nursing home in White Bear Lake, died early Tuesday morning. She was ninety-six years old and passed in her sleep. She had only been in the nursing home a couple of weeks–thankfully, because she hated it there. But at the beginning of January, she had started falling regularly, and could no longer stay in her apartment. As of last Sunday, she had not eaten anything, drank anything, or taken her medications.
She was born in the spring of 1914, before the beginning of World War I, in Lime Township, Blue Earth County, in a farmhouse built in the nineteenth century. I imagine she spoke German at home until she started school. There was likely no indoor plumbing, no electricity, and no telephone. Cars were a rarity. Youngest of six, she is survived by her sister Marie, 101, who is a nun.
Her funeral will be Saturday noon at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato. Members of her family, her ancestors, had been active in that parish since before the Dakota War of 1862. Her parents were baptized and married there, as was she; her children got married there, too.
This will likely be the last gathering there of her descendants. Now, we are busy and scatter across a world of technology–cars, phones, electricity–and more. With her passing, the connections she maintained will disperse like the grains of sand of a mandala caught in a swirling wind.