Milestones – the Influence That Continues
by Beth Kozan
I think and write a lot about community and building modern communities of like-minded people. Harmony Community (in Floyd County, Texas) is where I grew up on a farm, and I felt loved and supported by all the people in all the families in the community where I lived.
Harmony Community, now, is pretty much an abandoned place. The farms have dried up as the water table has dropped and the land is unable to sustain the number of families who once lived there. The people have moved on.
My mother’s birthday this year – and the realization that it’s been 10 years since she died – has put me in this locus of pondering.
Raised on “What will people think?” we four sibs worried that people would think we’d abandoned our mother since she died alone on the family farm. It was the mailman who noticed the full mailbox and went to the door. He saw her on the floor and called the authorities. My sister, who was on the way to take her groceries as she did each weekend, got a call from Mom’s nearest neighbor to alert her before she drove up on the hubbub at the house. (Thank goodness for cell phones!)
For 20 years after our dad died, when one of us would visit Mother, her parting plea would be: “Please don’t make me go to a nursing home.” She was no stranger to nursing homes, as she was a faithful visitor to many friends, family, and former neighbors once they moved to what she saw as a life of despair. Each time one of us would leave, it was with a heavy heart knowing that no amount of “but things are different now” would change her viewpoint.
At my mom’s funeral, the nearest neighbor – someone I’d gone to high school with – said, “When I go, I hope I go just like your mother did; I don’t want to die in a nursing home.”
I realized “What will people think?” isn’t as important as what I think. And I think we honored her last wishes.
Beth Kozan is the author of the book Adoption: More Than by Chance and the forthcoming Helping the Birth Mother You Know. Beth worked in adoption for 35 years and retired to write. She has many more books than these titles to write and will emphasize and explore the concept of community in her additional books. “Growing up in a close agriculture-based, rural community in Texas, I felt the comfort and bonds of caring for others which is often missing in our busy lives today. Exploring and building communities for today is my writer’s goal.” Follow Beth on Facebook or visit her website, where she reviews books and films featuring adoption.