One Sunday in December 1999 when I was at my mother’s house, she came into the living room and said, “I don’t feel so good. I think you should call an ambulance.”

We spent 12 hours in the emergency room. She was in horrific agony. A terrible flu was going around at the time, and they gave her medicine for nausea. Then they gave her stronger stuff.

Much later, they realized she’d had a stroke. But not in her brain; in her bowels.

They did exploratory surgery, and her intestines were black. No circulation. There was nothing they could do for her but ease her pain. That Monday evening, I was the one who told her she was going to die. She lived until Thursday.

At the time of my mom’s death, we weren’t getting along so well. For the last twelve years, I’ve been a little bit numb about her. But I find today that I want to celebrate her. She was one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever known, and I’m so glad she was my mother.

I’m not religious, by any stretch. And yet I feel that she knows – right now, right this moment – how much I loved – love – and admired her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Norma Colleen Bedwell Rigel Van Liew.