Save, save, save, save, save…      19 times. Every few months, “press 9 to re-save”.

While I did transfer the messages to a recorder for posterity, I still hold on to the voicemails left by my mother. They start out with a cheerful message of a visit she had with an old friend.

The second one starts with “Happy Birthday” but then quickly goes, “I wish I had better news for you, but I just came back from the doctor. He mentioned the C-word.”

I knew what she meant.

The rest continues to chronicle her journey through endless doctor’s visits and hospital stays, until the last one.

“I’m stopping all treatment… and I’m OK with that.”

The last few years were really good. Giving her grandchildren softened her and opened her up to deeper conversations. I got to see her a couple of times during this period and she was stayed strong and mentally sharp right until near the end.

She never knew about Mini-D and the other tribulations that I was going through. Had she been healthier, I would have had to reveal it all. Knowing it was coming to a close allowed me to keep that part of the story to myself. It would have devasted her.

“How are the boys?” she would ask enthusiastically.

“They’re fine,” I’d reply. “Everyone is where they need to be right now.”

Grace was more important than the Truth.

She left the world soon after, knowing that everything was OK.

And it was OK.

Just a different kind of OK.


The biggest gift I want to give my son is a trip to England in April 2023 when I’m showing my art in a gallery in London. Please help make this dream come true. Every little bit helps.

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