On the eve of her death, my mother carefully places her wallet on top of her appointment book, her passport inches away neatly aligned.
Unknown to her husband and children, there are documents nearby that she quietly signed the year before that cover her cremation. In her closet, there is a polished wood box arranged to catch the eye of anyone walking in.
Inside, there is a simple black container. It is designed to hold her ashes.
Christmas is not far off. But Alice Whiting has lived through 89 Christmases and missing one more – and, perhaps, more after that – hardly matters. Unable to drive or walk without a cane, her world has shrunk. She is in pain, she knows her mind is slipping away.
Yet her happiness is as strong as her will is resolute. Just as she cared for her children and her husband, she will be master of her fate.
Now living in Laguna Woods with the…