One of the great blessings of my life is that I got to spend every day of the last 3 weeks of my dad’s life with him while he was in the hospital and then hospice. I treasure our early morning talks over coffee when he was the most clear headed.
Now unexpectedly, I got to spend nearly every day of the last 6 weeks of my mother’s life with her. Because of the seclusion of her apartment, she had her days and nights mixed up. That fact probably contributed to her falling into her walker at three in the morning. She suffered a bleeding stroke from taking Coumadin, a blood thinner. The hospital released her to a rehab facility to get her strength back. While the nurses and I worked to help her get back on daytime alertness, we never fully succeeded. So the best visiting times with her were in the evening when everyone else was winding down.
When she was feeling better, I shared with Mom my excitement about signing up with YourTango. I explained how they were publishing my articles on lovemaking from a Biblical standpoint while I interceded for her with the nursing and therapy staff and her doctor. She did not know my brothers and I were quietly searching for the right 24-hour-care facility where the other residents were still mentally sharp like her. It gives me tremendous joy that Mom shared my enthusiasm for the great door YourTango had opened and was moving forward without my personal attention.
The blessing of growing up witnessing married love
When my dad died in 2006, it was very important for me to speak at his funeral. Here’s a little bit of what I said:
My earliest memory of my parents is of my dad coming home from work and hugging and kissing my mother. She was always his first attention when he came through the door. My last memories of my parents are even better.
After we retired from Washington and moved back to Texas, Dad liked to take Mom and me to a neighboring town for steaks. When we would arrived home, his custom was to stop at the gas station and fill up the Escalade. Then he’d drive through the car wash to get rid of the paint-eating grasshopper guts. One time while I sat unnoticed in the back seat, I watched as the whirling washers hid the inside of the vehicle with suds. Then Dad leaned over, put his arm around Mom and pulled her closer. No quick pecks for my parents--they engaged in serious smooching.
It was the same on the day my dad died. Dad was in a double room and hospice let me sleep in the extra bed. When I woke that morning, he had pulled off his oxygen mask and was laying with head thrown back. When I summoned the nurse, she replaced Dad’s oxygen mask and said, “Call your mother and tell her to get here right now.”
By the time Mom walked in, Dad had rallied. When he saw her, he raised up to kiss her. He lay back down. Then as if that were not enough, he rose up again and kissed her. By then, I knew what I was witnessing and I caught him with my camera using the last of his strength to kiss his lover of 63 years a third and last time. Within hours he died peacefully in his sleep. I treasure that memory more than any other.
I always knew my mother and grandmother liked sex
My mother and grandmother grew up on farms and I always knew they both liked sex. From working with women, I’ve observed many times that farm girls often enjoy healthier sexual attitudes than city gals. I suspect this is akin to the Song of Solomon when the young Shulammite’s mother taught her about lovemaking by telling her to observe the mating habits of the gazelles and antelopes. Unfortunately, animals are often much more loving than humans.
While growing up, my mother did not talk to me about sex. At the same time, she didn’t talk against it or men. I learned by observing the love between my parents. Thus, my mother spared me from growing up with ignorant Victorian morals and hateful rants against men swirling in my head like those that plague many women.
Mom started talking about sex
After all of us kids married, my mother began to mention sex. Obviously, she was comfortable with both my dad’s and her own sexuality. She casually told me one time, “I was getting a piece of action, and I started getting a Charlie horse. I just said to myself, I’m not having you! And that Charlie horse disappeared.” You know—that works! But Charlie horses early in the morning—they’re a different breed.
One time when I flew home to Texas from Washington to visit, the 2-hour trip to their house from the airport was miserable. The next morning I asked, “Mom, what’s wrong with you? You were so irritable all the way home yesterday that I literally wanted to jump out of the car.”
She began to complain that all my dad wanted to do when he got home from work was sit down and relax. She wanted to go out and meet people. She was very angry because she was staying home all the time.
I said, “Mom, what’s keeping you from getting out and meeting people during the day while he’s gone? You don’t have to wait on him to do things when he’s tired. You can do anything you want.”
The next morning after Dad left for work and my youngest brother had gone to school, Mom said, “I wrote on two paper grocery sacks last night, ‘I’ve been a little cranky lately. Please forgive me.’” She said she put the sacks on their pillows for them to see before they went to bed.
She paused, then continued, “This morning when your brother came to breakfast, Dad looked over at him and asked, ‘Have you noticed Mom being cranky lately?’ Then they both laughed great big like that was the best joke they’d ever heard.” Mom smiled, “I knew I was forgiven.”
After I returned to Washington, Mom called and told me the rest of the story. “The next day after you left, when your brother went to school, I asked your dad, ‘Would you like to have an affair with a woman whose been having a lot of problems with her husband lately?’” She laughed and said, “Well…of course, he would!”
She continued, “Dad said his work was going good. The next day was Saturday and we spent the whole day shopping for things for both the house and me.” The best part is Mom started getting out and meeting interesting people and doing things with others. My folks revamped their relationship because my mother could say she was sorry, change her ways, and initiate lovemaking like the Shulammite promised to do in the Song of Solomon.
About 10 years before my dad died, Mom sent a fax to my brothers and me saying something to the effect, “You know your dad just had prostate surgery. I can testify that you don’t have to be afraid of that kind of surgery because it doesn’t ruin your sex life.” What a blessing that was for us children.
Then after my dad died I took Mom to a new female doctor for some bleeding problems. Mom asked me to fill out the paperwork for her. I leaned over and quietly said, “Mom, I’m sorry, but I have to ask you this question…. It wants to know how many people you’ve had sex with.”
Without hesitation, Mom whispered, “Your dad is the only man I’ve ever been with. And if he were still alive, we’d still be having fun right now.” What a heritage she passed on to my brothers and me of the love she had for my father.
My mother’s YourTango blessing
So it’s no surprise that when I told my mother during one of our evening visits at rehab that I was now a lovemaking expert on YourTango, she gladly gave her blessing. She was especially excited that YourTango has a readership of over 13 million people. What a final blessing of love for not only me, but also for my readers.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for being lifetime lovers and sharing your love with my brothers and me.
Your grateful daughter,
(In memory of my father, Ray Snodgrass, who died April 24, 2006 and my mother, Ocie Lue Snodgrass, who died June 7, 2014)