Thoughts of a progressive Episcopalian. There's a lot more to my life than that, though.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Laura Mellen 1916-2007
My mother died from double pneumonia on Thursday, April 26. The picture above was taken at her 90th birthday party this past December. Here is a link to her obituary. I wrote a good deal of the obit, but it owes its good features to Liz. She found the picture and she composed the last few sentences, including the apt quotation from mother's tribute to her aunt Esther. We were working towards a deadline (which we missed.)
It is fortunate that we were in Binghamton when she was hospitalized -- in fact, we arrived at her room in the nursing home on Wednesday just as she was being taken to the ambulance. We spoke to her and then we got to the emergency room just behind the ambulance.
Liz just wrote this to a group of church friends: "Unlike many who are not quite so blessed, she had her wits about her all the way to the end, and was able to say to a beloved confidant just a couple of days before she went from nursing home--where she'd gone 3 weeks before for 24 hour supervised care--to hospital, that she was not as young as she was, was not herself, did not enjoy being in this weak state unable to function as she liked! and was ready to go. She was trying to say that to us, also, in the Emergency Room at the hospital Wednesday evening. Up until that time, she'd continued in good spirit albeit in a diminished way, to take on whatever was happening, to enjoy people and whatever life was offering. Pretty amazing."
After we spent a couple of hours with her in the emergency room, we went home to let down. (I was still in the third day of recovering from my dental ordeal.) According to what the doctor had told us before we left for the evening, I expected that mother would be admitted for a few days' stay and then return to the nursing home. She was admitted late Wednesday evening and died shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday. The nurse called us just about 7:30 and told us we should get there as fast as we could. By the time I got there, she was gone. Liz and I immediately went into high gear (actually it started with some calls I made on the cell phone on the way to the hospital.) Father Mark Giroux from St. Mark's got there shortly after we did and after we had some prayers, we went on in high gear until we were able to leave for home at about 11 on Friday morning.
To quote Liz again, "We are relieved for her now, and for ourselves as well. It has been a long watch."
I'm a retired math teacher with a keen interest in English Literature. I have been active at my local Episcopal church for more than 50 years. My current project is to complete a history of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Manhattanville, which will have its 200th anniversary in 2023. I'm also working on
a family history for my first and second cousins and I hope to publish on the web a version of my Masters Essay on The Dunciad.