There might be many reasons for prolonged absences from this blogspace, and all of them, except for maybe one, aren’t worth a damn as excuses. You are lazy, messy, useless in all ways, I remind myself. Make no mistake: You are a bad human being.
The month of February was lost to me for all normal discourse and activity. I was spotty at work, worthless when I was there; a ghost to my family. This Website just sat there. Even the Seahawks’ Super Bowl went by in a haze, though I watched the game, because that was the day Mom went in the hospital for the last time.
In that last month of her life, I was not a bad son.
Part of my mother’s life, a small part, in the final accounting, was a charity golf tournament in Kelso, Wash., in the early 2000s. She knew nothing of golf, nothing about putting on a tournament, but she’d heard somewhere that a golf event was a good way to raise money. So she threw in, all in, and took the lead for the first Habitat for Humanity golf tournament in the Longview-Kelso area.
Mom was a person of ambition and accomplishment, evident in the broad outline of her life: early graduate of high school so she could go work for the wartime FBI in Chicago and Washington, D.C.; Iowa State home economics major, later a home ec teacher, later yet an elementary- and middle-school counselor; mother to five children, grandmother to seven, great-grandmother to two.
We learned later that Mom had a broken back that day at Three Rivers Golf Course. I knew she was in pain, and it was plain on her face, but she didn’t yet know she had a fractured vertebrae and she didn’t tell anyone how badly she was hurting. She hadn’t shirked on the heavy lifting, apparently literally, in the work to get ready for the tournament.
It didn’t make a ton of money the first year — who knows how much? It’s in a ledger somewhere. What’s important is there is still an annual tournament for Habitat, and as far as I can tell it’s grown in size and sponsorships every year. They don’t call it the Verian Potter Memorial Tournament for Habitat for Humanity, but that wouldn’t be a bad name.
Mom died on Feb. 26, 2014. We gave her a hell of a sendoff at her old church in Longview. I did the eulogy for the family. It was an okay speech — it was easy enough to be funny, easy enough to be proud, easy enough to move the audience, that audience, to tears, especially when I was near to breaking any moment. It was a good and proper good-bye to a hell of a woman, and that day, at least, I might have been a good son.