Part 3…Final technology story…Tom’s Mother and technology…

Many side streets have offices and building for sale or permanently closed due to poor economic conditions.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

A fisherman on a tiny homemade raft most likely fishing for squid which is caught close to the shore.

Tom’s dear Mother Mary Lyman,  born in 1909, gave birth to 11 children and lived almost until her 99th birthday. If great health, excellent memory, and instant recall are indeed heredity, we may have many good years ahead of us for Tom to continually answer all my endless questions about dates. 

As mentioned earlier, he remembers every date, both past and upcoming while my head is filled with statistics, a fact perhaps due to my heredity with my father, a mathematical whiz, educated at MIT. 

In approximately 1997, Tom’s mother became ill and was placed temporarily in a nursing home for convalescence for a lengthy period of time. Eventually, she was able to return to her home. Totally blind for many years Mary had a keen sense of the world around her.

A highly decorative statue in the village.

While Mary was recuperating in the nursing home for a few months, family members rotated a schedule to be at the facility with her most of the daylight hours Self-employed, I chose the 6:00 am shift when Tom took over before lunch.   

Tom’s siblings covered the remainder of the day after he left for his afternoon shift at work. Out of her home and in unfamiliar surroundings as a blind person, it meant so much to her that her beloved family members were at her side when nursing staff had little time to assist her. 

It meant so much to all of us to be there with her. Mary was one of those special people who never complained and seldom asked for help. In many ways, these special hours I spent alone with her, left me with precious memories I’ll always treasure.

The concept of a Hindu area of worship adorns almost every location whether it’s a private home or a business.

Mary was not only blind but had poor hearing only adding to the difficulty of communication, the one source of pleasure in her life. For some odd reason, she could hear my voice if I sat close to her better ear and spoke in a normal tone.  

Mary and I spent all those mornings chatting and telling each other stories of our lives. When does a daughter-in-law have an opportunity to be alone with her mother-in-law for so many hours and really get to know her? Often those relationships can be complicated and challenging based on what one gleans when everyone is together as a group.

There was nothing complicated or challenging about my or other family member’s relationship with Mary Lyman. She was straightforward, kind, nonjudgmental, generous, and emotionally strong. Would that we all could be so blissfully predictable and dependable in our relationships.

It often surprises us to see current models of cars and trucks, when the cost to import them is so high.

One morning, after breakfast as we sat together in her room, she in a wheelchair, me in a chair at her “good ear” side, our idle banter flowing with ease as always, she asked me, “Jessica, what is email?”

I giggled to myself. Of course, she’d heard snippets from discussions when the word “email” entered into conversation.  After all, by 1997, email was as common as apple pie.

“Ma,” I replied, “Do you want me to explain what the Internet is and tell you about email?” 

We crossed this bridge on the way to and from Negara.

She replied an enthusiastic “Yes!”  Nerd that I was (and still am) I had learned quite a bit about the Internet by this period in time and the prospect of putting into terms a blind person could “visualize” I could hardly wait to begin.

For hours, I told her the “story” of the Internet while she listened attentively, occasionally asking questions and frequently expressing considerable surprise and wonder.

Who would ever think that an 88-year-old blind person would be interested in the technological details I shared with her that day? She grasped it all and was in awe of how the technology worked and communication had changed over her lifetime. She was even more enthusiastic than Tom, her youngest, had ever been.

Small roadside stands sell foodstuffs for the locals. There are many laundry facilities along the highway.

Over the next many days, our conversations continued. When there was no more to tell on this topic, she thanked me profusely. But, I thanked her for the honor of sharing this topic with her leaving me with a memory I’ll always treasure.

We returned to our usual wide array of topics as engaged and interested as we’d been long before our technology talk. But, interspersed on occasion, she’d ask, “How does that work on the Internet?”

More Hindu decorations.

I’d smile from ear to ear, feeling lucky and blessed to know this fine woman and to have shared this special time with her. Ma quietly passed away during the night on May 31, 2008, a few months shy of her 99th birthday. 

Often when an older person passes away well-wishers say, “She/he lived a long life.”  And that’s true. May we all live a long and fulfilling life. But, however old a person may be when their time comes, it doesn’t lessen the sorrow of those of us left behind feel from the absence of them in our daily lives.

The clothing and trinkets for sale at roadside shops contain similar products, many to appeal to tourists.

Instead, we embrace the memories, reliving them over and over in our minds and in conversations with others who also loved them. Life… every day is a gift, one that we keep opening over and over again to revel in its treasured contents contained therein. 

May your gift of life and the gift of life of those you love to be filled with treasured contents.

Photo from one year ago today, June 12, 2015:

One year ago today, the early morning lights of Luna Park, Sydney. Soon, we’d be disembarking the ship to fly to Cairns, Australia where we rented a car for the short drive to Trinity Beach to our new home for three months.  For more photos and the final tally on the cost for the cruise from Honolulu, Hawaii to Sydney, Australia, please click here.

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