The family is gathering this week to catch up with each other, and to remember my mother, Allene Robson, who died May 31.
Here's a representative sample of the group, including Mom (in the light blue sweatshirt), at a previous August gathering:
We drove and flew and got here any way we could, put together a collection of photos and other items, and held a private, informal remembrance: we sat in a circle and told stories. Each of us learned something new about her to treasure.
Some of the items included in the collection above are songs and quotes we found in Mom's desk and other papers.
Mom sang and whistled. We have lots of memories of music.
Many of the photos include both Mom and her sister, Virginia, two years older, who died a few years ago.
They were close all their lives.
Iowa; Oklahoma; Taos, New Mexico; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; and more.
Virginia, my grandfather, my grandmother, and Mom, recovering from the Depression.
There were a lot of tiny bottles and vases in her cupboards, for just a few flowers, here and there and everywhere.
With a high-school friend whom she kept in touch with all her life:
Shy and adventurous, always warm, always ready to see the best in life. . . .
And with neighbors and long-time friends (the first of these two photos includes my grandmother, her mother, as well):
Friends everywhere, and in many forms. . . .
That's my three-legged cat, Wow, in her lap, and the Goldens are Taffy and Banana.
The pilgrimage back to Taos: me, my cousin Christie, Virginia, Mom (Allene), my sister Meg, my cousin Colleen. Two cars full and a lot of laughter. I'm so glad we made it happen.
Virginia at lower right, below the same set of cousins, Mom, my sister, and me. . . .
Among other things, Mom left this behind.
The paper is a copy of a short piece called "A Parable of Immortality," attributed to Henry Van Dyke.
Kevin, my brother-in-law's brother (who's in the first photo), e-mailed the rest of us the day after our gathering, in which he participated: "I always thought Allene and I got along great.....and she made me feel happy, and funny, and interesting....(now that's a difficult task)..... because she always put others before herself......but I've come to know that she pretty much got along with everyone she came to know.....(so maybe I'm not as special as she made me feel...still made me feel great)...."
Kevin, you are as special as she made you feel. Her interest and her affections were the clearest and most trustworthy I've ever experienced in a human being. She found you interesting because you are, of course, and one of her gifts was to both perceive and communicate that sort of connection.
Miss you more than I can say, Mom. Love you forever and ever. I hope you and Ginny are laughing again together.