|Dad often gave mom flowers for her birthday; after he died, her kids stepped in. On this birthday with her and Diane in the 1990s, I decorated her cake with yellow tulips. Mom would have been 97 on Sunday. (Photo by John.)|
Her journal entry on Feb. 19, 1995, reads: "+ 11 C and rain most of the day. Carol, Diane & Betty phoned. Dad gave me a card and flowers. He was feeling sick this morning."
What she didn't write, and what I learned later, is that he'd bought her the flowers and card the day before (something of a feat because his breathing was very poor and he couldn't walk far) and left them in the car overnight. In the morning, he felt too ill to even go outside to get them, so he asked her to go to the car herself.
It was her last birthday bouquet from him. He died less than a month later, on March 15, 1995.
In the years that followed, we children did the best we could on mom's birthday, with phone calls, visits, gifts and flowers. She appreciated our efforts, and never complained about dad no longer being there to celebrate with her. But I suspect that nothing we gave her ever meant as much as those flowers she had to bring in from the car herself on the last birthday she and dad had together.