Number 68 Across

zero-to-heroMy mother received her unlikely gift the day of her funeral. A New York Times debut. Not in the obituaries where you might expect her to show up, but in the Sunday Times paw2014-scrossword puzzle. On Easter Sunday, she was Number 68 across: a seven letter word for the clue, Open up. I have a copy of the puzzle framed in gold leaf on the wall outside my home office.

I remain certain these were her last words of advice. Mom didn’t believe making something easy, made it better. Not surprisingly the advice appeared in written form, in a puzzle. A respectable way to catch my attention and memorialize her reminder – don’t close off, open up.

Image 4The ability to talk with her, hug her, even disagree with her – which I did heartily and often – ended with her life. The emptiness that first took root was as futile and infinite as a swim across the Atlantic. In the dark. Mid February. Alone. I’ve recovered mostly and there is beauty in this. Which Mom understood intuitively. Her legacy is a family that loves and misses her, and remains close.

Post Script: The seven letter word that answers Number 68 across is Blossom. My mother’s name.

About wendykarasin

I am complicated and seeking - joy and sorrow, country and city, competition and cooperation. After behavior of a gregarious nature, I require down time to refuel. My loves are children, family, friends, reading, writing, blogging, fitness, and health. I feel most alive when I stay true to my core values. Beauty makes me happy, pain helps me grow.
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12 Responses to Number 68 Across

  1. Pingback: Number 68 Across | Wendy Karasin – Musings of a Boomer

  2. mimijk says:

    Loved this post Wendy – it gave me chills. Wonderful…I wish I had better words.

    • wendykarasin says:

      Thank you, Mimi. Sometimes (often?) truth is stranger than fiction.and sometimes there are no words. There aren’t many people I feel a close affinity to, you happen to be one of them. If you’re ever in NY, coffee’s on me!

  3. David says:

    Very Cool!

  4. This is so sweet. Enjoyed reading it. Loved your fond memories, the flowers, and her message!

  5. This piece gave me chills; it was so relatable to my own experience of losing my mother. I believe the departed watch over us and cherish us; I’ve witnessed proof of this over and over. Nothing is lost, only changed; that is the first law of thermodynamics, but to me, it’s the definition of faith. I, too, would have framed that crossword. Your mother left you lasting gifts and that is the hallmark of a life well lived. How lovely that you honor her, and your relationship, in your writing!

  6. Pingback: Number 68 Across | Wendy Karasin – Musings of a Boomer

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