I Remember Mom: The Last Flower

By Richard Mabey Jr.


Miracles often come into our life, without a great deal of fanfare. Sometimes, the miracles of our lives do not involve a parting of a sea or a burning bush. Sometimes, the gentle brush of an angel’s wings is so subtle and ethereal that it can easily be overlooked. Simply put, some of the small miracles in our lives, may well be taken for granted. But none-the-less, they are very real miracles.


Such a miracle came to my mom, Janet Ethel Kemmerer Mabey, in the time of early Spring of 2018. My mom, my sister Patti and myself traveled the long car ride from Florida to New Jersey. None of us knew it at the time, but it was to be Mom’s last visit to Knothe Farms, the home of her beloved sister, Alice Kemmerer Knothe. 


When Spring Time comes, my cousin Peter Knothe is all so busy managing his family farm. It is a long standing tradition that one or two of his many greenhouses will be the home for rows and rows of planted flowers. It provides a poetic panorama of a rainbow of colors of all the various types of flowered plants that Peter has growing on the wooden tables inside his greenhouses.


One of the long-standing family traditions of Mom and Aunt Alice, is to take the time to walk the length and breadth of the flower-filled greenhouses to find just the right flowers to plant at the grave sites of their late brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. It is a rather solemn and heart warming kind of thing. It was a tradition that would always have a quality of reverence about it.


When we reached the cemetery, I carried the many flats of flowers that were to be planted at the portion of the cemetery that was devoted to the Kemmerer Family. As I knelt upon the grassy ground, digging out holes to plant the many flowers, I could not help but to overhear my mom and aunt talking.


“I think this is the last time, I’ll ever get to visit Mom and Dad’s graves,” Mom quietly told her sister.


“Oh come on Janet, you’ve still got a lot of time on this old earth,” Aunt Alice replied.


“No, Alice, I can feel it in my bones. I can feel the angels calling me Home,” Mom solemnly replied to her sister’s attempt to uplift Mom.


“Don’t talk like that Janet, you’ve still got a lot of years ahead of you,” Aunt Alice replied, in what was a bit more of stern reply.


“No, Alice, I just have this inner knowing. It’s a feeling that I can’t really explain,” Mom told her sister.


After I planted a good two dozen flowering plants, Mom, Aunt Alice, Patti and I left the cemetery. I remember that we had a late lunch at the Randolph Diner. I saw something in my Mom’s eyes. It was gladness tinted with a ray of solemn sadness. Mom knew, for sure, that it was the last time she would ever visit the graves of her precious loved ones. Mom told her sister that God gave her a miracle, to be able to visit the graves of her loved ones, one last time.  


It was a strange thing. When we got home from the farm, Mom’s episodes of having severe chest pains became more and more frequent. It was a long process of having many cardiac medical tests. But in November of 2019, Mom was operated on, to have an Aortic Valve replacement. Sadly, on the twenty-third of December, of that year, Mom went Home to be with the Lord. The valve replacement did not take. 


I often reflect upon that morning at the cemetery, where Mom told Aunt Alice that she knew it would be the last time she would visit the Kemmerer grave site. I often wonder how Mom knew that. 


Life is short. Love one another. Forgive people for the wrongs they have done unto you. Find the good in people. For truly, life is too short to hold grudges and ill feelings toward one another. Love is the key element of miracles.        


Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He hosts a YouTube Channel titled, “Richard Mabey Presents.” Richard most recently published a book of poetry and short stories. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com


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