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This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother, Ruth Metzler Longenecker. To say I miss her is an understatement of the highest order. Technically, I could be considered an orphan with both my mother and father gone. However, with my own extended family and considering my age, I doubt that such a designation applies.

Is there a word for my status without a living mother or father at my age? I wonder.

Mother lived a full life with many happy moments and good health until a few days before her death on July 28, 2014. Over her lifetime, she had seen phenomenal changes in American culture, including technological ones as shown here:

Mennonite Women_new phone_p89

Anna Catherine (Herr) Houser was speaking/listening on this candlestick phone in 1919 at the time Mother was a year old.  Credit: Mennonite Women of Lancaster County, Joanne Hess Siegrist, 1996, page 89.

The last photo I snapped of Mother with her finger hovering over my iPhone captures the moment she looked up momentarily from “paging” through photos of her grand-children and great grand-children.


David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea

The death of someone closest to us is always a form of salutation, a simultaneous Goodbye to their physical presence and a deep Hello to a more intimate imaginal relationship now beginning to form in their absence.  (46)

A “deep Hello to a more intimate imaginal relationship”? We’ll see . . .

“Her children rise up and call her blessed.” Prov. 31:28
 Christ Church Frederica, St. Simon’s Island – Tiffany glass

Have you experienced the death of your mother or grandmother? If a mother, is there a word for one’s status now, bereft of a mother and father? Your suggestions always appreciated here.

Coming next: The Longenecker Sisters’ Road Trip, Part 1