While the rest of America observes Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, I will be observing something else: the 6th anniversary of my Mother's passing.
Unlike MLK, who was brutally and violently taken from us, Mother's cancer had run its course, and this was the day, in 2004, that she was to choose her hospice care nurse. My sister Sue, who had the day off, took over the interviews, while I chose to go to work, a decision I've regretted ever since.
Mother was terribly uncomfortable that day, and couldn't relax. Only one nurse was able to sooth her, reset her pillows and put her at ease. Sue hired her on the spot. With her daughters playing in the backyard, my sister arranged a starting date and saw the nurse out. When she came back to check on Mother, she was gone. She had passed away with the sounds of her grandchildren playing through the open window.
A much more idyllic scenario than Reverend King no doubt, but one equally heart wrenching. We had lost Dad unexpectedly just the year before, and now Mother. My brother, sister and I were now complete orphans.
Nothing happens by coincidence. Why did Mother day on this day? Is there a connection? Well, Mother was not a civil rights activist, didn't march for equal rights. She just took care of her family and her home. But she had a strong sense of right and wrong, which she instilled in all her children. Truth be told, they were both members of the human race who cared about others. That's connection enough.