Saying Good-Bye to Helen


This photo of Helen Flatten Williams was taken long before I ever knew her, but I prefer to remember her as this young, vibrant, woman. Although, saying good-bye to anyone tears you apart, knowing she is no long ill and in pain, makes it easier.

For almost two years, every morning I would walk to her home, the guest house just a few yards from our house, open the door and announce, “Knockey, Knockey.”

Helen would always answer, “Hi Sweetie.”

The routine would continue with: “How’s the mom?”

“Fine, how’s the daughter?”

And so our day would start. Throughout the day, I would pop in and check on her, some days we spent a good bit of time together and other days not so much. Some afternoons she would come over to our place and visit for a bit. Helen liked to cook, and she did until she went to the hospital. We shared lots of dinners over the past two years, some she made and some I did. Sharing was always fun.

Kevin and I were lucky enough to spend the last few days of her life with her in her home. We were there, holding her hand and rubbing her forehead during her last hours. We were there to say good-bye. Although, because of her illness, the last hour was hard, she seemed to be at peace to be with us, in her own home.

Mom, didn’t want a funeral or any fancy tributes to her life. So we will honor her wishes. She did say if her siblings wanted to get together and go out to dinner on her, that would please her. Those plans are in the making.

Helen, lived her life the way she wanted. As the song says, she did it her way. Now, we remember the good times and learn to live without her. I wonder how long it will take before I stop wanting to go to her place first thing in the morning or looking over to her place at night, making sure her lights are out and she is sleeping? Time will tell.

So not with a heavy heart do I say good bye to my mother in-law, but with fond memories. She drove me crazy at times, but isn’t that what mom’s are suppose to do? But more so Helen, I will always remember how we would cut up and have fun, even at the doctor’s office.

I’m not sure but if there is an afterlife and it’s allowed, Helen is having a dirty martini, a cigarette and joking about something while playing poker. And that’s alright too.





4 responses to “Saying Good-Bye to Helen

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