Final Photo with my Mom
The statement “There’s a first time for everything,” has likely passed the lips of most Americans. There comes a point when instead of merely counting new experiences, we must make peace with the reality of lasts. Such is the case with this picture. Standing in the church parking lot, feeling a light breeze and the sun warming my back, casually embraced for a quick photo before dashing into service…I almost objected to the delay, then decided being another minute late was better than an argument and ruffled feathers. So, impatiently but politely, I acquiesced.
I can hear Mom say, “Oh, you look so pretty. I just love that jacket on you.” She smiled and I knew she was proud to be my mom. Under my hand on her waist rested her gun belt. Mom liked jackets, and it served her well since she was always locked and loaded with her concealed carry firearm. If one looks closely at the photo, the bulging jacket near the hemline belies the holster.
Some months later I hugged Mom at a restaurant in Oklahoma City after not having seen her for an extended time. The inside of my arm pressed on the flat hard leather holster. When I pulled back a bit to look her in the face, my hand naturally rested on the gun covered by her denim jacket. Not a word was spoken about it. None was needed. Her slow smile, tilted head, assessing glance, and the constant presence of her gun were all as much a part of her as breathing.
Nobody told me that would be our last hug. But it was. One seldom knows when the parting of ways at a given time will be ‘the final parting.’ To the extent possible, make every parting a pleasant one. You’ll be glad you did, given enough time.