This post is a celebration of my mother, Evelyn H. Yardley, May 14, 1929-December 17, 2017, pictured here with my father, W.T. Yardley, October 26, 1925-June 10, 2016.
I wanted to pay tribute to her, but mainly to brag a little about her skills and craftmanship as a quilter and artist, and pretty good cook, also. When my brother and I were growing up, she worked at various full-time jobs, and the major sewing she did was in making clothes and repairs. However, in her later years after she had retired, she turned her many talents to quilting and painting. Along with two of my cousins, she had an arts and crafts store several years in Strawn, Tx. In her last few years, they even offered her crafts on Etsy.com. She also was an excellent cook, skills both my brother and I share, thanks in large part to her example and tutelage.
Christmas 2017 was one of my worst Christmases, as well as her’s I guess, as she technically missed it. I had just been out for a trip to Big Bend via I-20, which passes 20 or so miles from her house, that November and had spent several days visiting with her in route to Big Bend, going and coming back to my home in South Carolina. On December 17, I got an emergency call from my brother who was with her in the emergency room in Eastland, Tx. He was frantic as the staff and doctors were pretty much ignoring her pleas for help. She was in severe pain. She died as I was there on the phone with him, right there in his arms. This got the staff’s attention–finally. They tried to resuscitate her, even as my bother was screaming at them that she had a DNR! Their efforts was to no avail. Her heart, as it turned out, was too far gone and just gave out. There was no restarting it.
After just driving the 1,000 miles out and back at the beginning of November, I found myself back on the road driving back out for her funeral and to start the process of closing out her estate in mid-December. As it turned out, I ended up spending through Christmas and New Years out there, missing my family’s Christmas back home and having to spend it with my brother. We have a very tense relationship, to be nice about it. Her death, funeral, and closing out the estate, really put pressure on our already often-unpleasant relationship. (The joys of sibling rivalry issues still not worked through even though in our late years. Sigh.)
That was one miserable Christmas. This Christmas with its raging COVID pandemic ranks second in not-so-fun Christmases for me. At least here though, I am home and my family is close at hand. With the vaccines now coming online, I can see an end to this long period of social isolation, thank goodness. I’m an introvert and pretty much a hermit, but this has been over the top even for me.
On that earlier November trip she had told me, “I’m not afraid to die. I’ve lived a good life.” This was as we stood out in the garage while I was checking something out on her car for her. Dad, in contrast, had been terrified of dying. He held on and fought it to the very end, through three long years of misery as his body and mind went farther and farther down the rabbit hole. In the end, as nothing more than a skeleton with skin covering it, I remember him telling me on my last visit with him, that he was going to vote for Trump. I knew at that point his mind had finally gone. It violated everything he had stood for.
Mom’s Christmas quilt was her masterpiece. Here it is hanging in my dinning room:
Here are couple of examples of her painting. No Rembrandts, but pretty good for a country girl:
Anyway, on this cold, wet, COVID Christmas season, “Missing you, Mom and Dad.” Next June, I’ll write a memoriam for my Dad. I really miss being able to talk to him. Well, I talk, maybe he’s hearing me.