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Five years in a heartbeat
Marg-Ins 4-17-24

As I write this column, it has been five years since I lost my mom. She passed in April, 2019 – it was just a few weeks before my daughter and I were flying back east to visit for Mother’s Day. We still went back; but we had my mom’s funeral while we were there instead of sharing Mother’s Day with her.

She had been ill for some time and wasn’t living at home; she was in a nursing/rehabilitation facility and I would call each weekend to visit. When she knew Ally and I were planning a trip to see her, she really wanted to get strong enough to return home. But I vividly remember getting the call from my dad on a Friday night – I know where I was and what I was doing when the call came in. Since they are three hours ahead of us and it was nearly 9 p.m. here, I kind of had the feeling that my dad calling at almost midnight his time wouldn’t be good news.

Five years has gone by fast and so much has changed. My mom met her future grandson-in-law, Judd, on a previous trip and she often talked about wanting to travel to California for Ally and Judd’s wedding, which was in October of 2019. She was with us in spirit.

As I look back on the last five years, there are a few things that stand out – of course, the pandemic that shut everything down in the spring of 2020 and lasted longer than anyone thought possible. It literally changed the way we did so many things. I was just reminiscing with a friend in Escalon about the ‘drive thru’ graduation that the Class of 2020 had, courtesy of COVID-19. They drove in to the high school parking lot, got their yearbook and their diploma, any scholarship awards they had been selected for, congratulations from the staff and then they were on their way. Instead of a Sober Grad night party, the seniors all got gift cards, each receiving the same amount to use as they chose.

The last five years have also included the wedding of my daughter, the birth of my granddaughter, the opportunity to travel back east a few times, including one trip when we took Lorelei to meet her East Coast family.

When she was born in January of 2022, we were still being asked to mask and social distance, though it wasn’t mandatory at that time, just recommended and encouraged. I was to be among those in the delivery room but there was always the possibility that privilege would be revoked if we had a spike in coronavirus cases.

Luckily, I was able to be present, and for that, I will always be grateful.

My mom has definitely been in my thoughts ever since the calendar turned to April, especially as we neared the anniversary of her passing. It is hard to believe it has been five years. Now I call my dad every weekend to check in with him, we update each other on the weather and all the goings-on; he lets me know what projects he has underway at his shop, I let him in on whatever adventure Lorelei has had during the week.

It’s also interesting that, growing up, I didn’t give much thought to all the ‘stuff’ my mom took care of. She was the family’s finance director, did the billing/bookkeeping for my dad when he had his own business, was an occasional substitute in the lunchroom at our school, was involved in the fire department auxiliary and active in church organizations. All while raising three kids and making sure we all sat down at the dinner table together. Later, she helped with the food pantry at the church and for many years assisted with the summer Vacation Bible School.

She could whip just about anything into a tasty dinner and somehow always found time to bake up a batch of cookies.

Five years … I don’t think you ever get over the loss of a parent, but at least with the passage of time it’s the good memories that have come to the surface for me. Those are the ones I hang on to.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.