My Celebration of Mollie Mae Blue

It has been three years since my dad died. My mom and dad were married for more than 70 years. She has spent the last several years grieving, adjusting to living alone, and living her life to the fullest.


Several months ago I received a call from my brother saying that mom was very sick. I called her and knew the minute I heard her voice that she was struggling. Normally invincible, she was experiencing a lot of swelling in her legs, pain all over, and almost no energy. She said her heart was tired and that she was ready die. I will never forget the shockingly forthright and open conversation we had about dying. I was in shock and not on board with her decision yet.

Her condition improved; however, it was apparent that she was nearing the end of this life. Sue and I quickly planned a trip out to see her but it would not be until the end of August—four weeks away. My mom told me that she could not guarantee living that long. I began negotiating with her the terms of her last days. Eventually she agreed that she would intend to live and not die before seeing Sue and me again.


How many people are so blessed to have this kind of conversation with their 95-year-old mom? I was filled with inspiration at her recognition of her power. She understood the power of intention and the complexity of death—in some ways it is outside of our control and in other ways we have been given a lot of say-so. Her focus for the month of August was recovering and living until we visited. We talked several times a day and I was monitoring her condition. With every day she gained hope, strength, and aliveness.


She not only lived until our visit, she thrived. Her doctor determined what was wrong (Polymyalgia Rheumatica) and the medication she received helped her renew her strength. By the time we saw her she was zipping about the house exuding energy and joy. Somehow, I knew she would do it. Seeing her was such a blessing; however, it was not long before I was bugging her and she was trying to reign me in. Some things never change.


My greatest memory of our visit was when my mom told me that she had something to talk with me about. Historically, I had been the one to initiate these kind of heart-to-heart conversations. She told me that she had been praying for the opportunity to share her concerns about my expression of anger. I couldn’t believe it.  I was both shocked and thrilled. To use CLE lingo, she wanted to “clear” with me.


She shared with me her concerns and I listened. I shared my perspectives and she listened. The intensity of the conversation grew, as did the aliveness. I was noticing that we were having a respectful and responsible fight.  There was no room for this kind of discussion in our home growing up. I was ecstatic.


Suddenly my fear surfaced. What if she died while we were fighting? I saw the scary masks of guilt and shame trying to divert me from the joy and aliveness of the moment. On the contrary, what better way to die than to be truthfully and passionately engaging with one another in the pursuit of intimacy? When we were finished (2 hours seemed like 2 minutes) my mom and I were radiant and energized. I was inspired and filled with joy and gratitude. What a testament to the work we have done to repair and deepen our relationship over the past 25 years. Thank God for my anger!



Mollie Mae Blue was born on October 16, 1916 in Chicago. (You do the math; this will diminish her upset with me for revealing her age.) 1916 was the year the light switch was invented and the Chicago Cubs won their first game in Weeghman Park (currently Wrigley Field) against the Cincinnati Reds. Mollie Mae was born during World War I (1914-1918), which resulted in the death of more than 9 million combatants. Democratic President Woodrow Wilson narrowly defeated Republican Charles E. Hughes.


Mollie and I are continuing daily to enjoy our honest, alive and feeling-filled conversations. I am a blessed son and man.

One Response to “My Celebration of Mollie Mae Blue”
  1. Don Waterman 18 September 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Great article Rich! Thanks for publishing it.

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Published: 17.09.2012 / 05:03 PM

Category: Grappling with God,Health and Fitness,Relationships,Spiritual Growth

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