Pictured here is my mother with Don Shelby the former anchor of WCCO TV News. Don Shelby always kept an Emergency Clown Nose on his desk at the television station. He told my mother that when the stress in the newsroom would get too high he put on his Emergency Clown Nose to break the tension.
I’ve been recording my mother’s stories for several years. I think it’s something everyone my age should do if their parents are still alive. The reason I started recording her stories began with a phone call.
The Phone Call
The phone rings. I pickup and hear my mom’s voice, “Do you have a minute?”
I say, “I’m on a deadline Mom. Are you coming to our circus next weekend?”
My mom assures me she has it marked on her calendar, but tells me that’s not why she called.
“Okay?” I respond hesitantly, not sure what her tone means.
In a clear confident voice she says, “I’ve decided what I want to ask each of my children to do for my end of life needs.”
My heart skips a beat before I ask, “What do you mean, Mom?”
She responds back, “Well, I’m 83-years old and I’m about to spend a year in Africa.
I knew she has been planning her fifth trip to Africa. This time she is going to establish a school for counseling at Iringa University in Tanzania. She clearly wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
I ask, “Mom, are you feeling your mortality?”
She laughs, “I just want to put my life in order here at home before I go abroad again.”
She tells me that she has already spoken to my brother Jerry and my sister Linda. Jerry has agreed to take care of her Financial Estate.
I feel like I just dodged a bullet. As the eldest, Jerry is the perfect choice.
Then she tells me that my sister Linda has agreed to act as her Healthcare Advocate.
Another bullet whizzes past my ear. Linda, the middle child is again the perfect choice. As the youngest I couldn’t think of what was left to do?
Mom then says to me, “I want you to be my Spiritual Advocate.” A bullet hits me in the heart.
My first thought was, “What the hell is a Spiritual Advocate?” I don’t even belong to a church.
My mother has lived the life of a Lutheran Mother Theresa. Why is she choosing her son the professional clown, to be responsible for her soul?
Mom hangs up the phone without leaving further instructions.
To be continued…