Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," solemn today as we await the moment when our family matriarch crosses through the veil.
My husband is 55 years old, and his grandmother is still alive. She was an enormously active woman who only sat still while she was eating, and then only if everyone else had everything they needed. Born in 1914, she worked in a shirt-making factory to support her family while her younger sisters got to go to high school. She always resented the fact that she wasn't able to get a high school diploma.
Even without the diploma she made good. Married, bought a row house in South Baltimore near Fort McHenry, and worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 1952 she pooled her resources, and she and her husband bought an undeveloped waterfront property on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis. They towed a house boat over from Baltimore, built a pier, and spent all their spare time there, gradually improving the place until they constructed a split-level house up on the bluff, a beach house by the water, and a 100-foot pier out into the bay.
Mr. Johnson spent many a happy hour on that houseboat with his youngish, vigorous grandparents. They taught him to fish, to drive a powerboat, to crab, and to swim. When he took me to meet them, I was bowled over -- not only by the magnificent view from their property, but also by their perpetual motion. Mom Mom in particular was a dynamo.
Whenever the topic of mortality came up around Mom Mom, her response was the same: "I want everything and anything done to keep me alive." She wouldn't sign a Do Not Resuscitate order. Maybe you wouldn't either if you'd never, ever been sick in your whole life.
Finally, at age 98, she fell and broke her hip. So you know how that goes. We went to see her in the rehab center, and we knew right then and there that her time among us was short. My throat is choking up just telling you about it.
Except for one thing. The faeries are there with her.
She is in hospice at the home of Mr. Johnson's aunt. One evening last week she told Mr. J's aunt: "There was a little girl with red hair in the doorway. She said, 'Come on, it's time to go.' But I told her I didn't want to go."
Long-time "Gods Are Bored" readers will recall that my dad, after breaking his hip, saw Peter Pan in the doorway of his hospital room.
It cannot be a coincidence that two people in my life, my dad and my grandmother-in-law, both have seen red-haired children just before dying. (I never told Mom Mom about my dad. She never liked to talk about death.) Clearly these are faeries doing what faeries do.
Portal beings take non-threatening shapes to greet those who have lived good lives and are about to cross over. In my husband's grandmother, the faeries have found a very unwilling candidate for the Summerlands. They will guide her. I just hope they don't expect her to rest once she gets there.