Celebration of Life and Death

Ruth Allbright 1917 - 2012

Ruth Allbright 1917 – 2012

The fall of 2012 has been bittersweet. My art opening was so fabulous but there was one missing ingredient – my mother, Ruth Allbright. She had a mild stroke three days before the exhibit opened so she was unable to attend the gala. She recovered well enough to make a trip to Terlingua and Lajitas the following week – she viewed beautiful sunrises, attended a party at Desert Sports and made it to the Sangregado Gallery to see my show. She loved it! Especially the gallery-wrapped photo image of the Coryphantha cacti which I immediately ordered for her Christmas present. My sisters and I knew the stroke had effected Mom to the point she needed more care so after her 95th birthday party on Oct. 21, we moved her from Alpine to El Paso to her own room in a beautiful assisted living residence – The Regency – where one of my sisters works as a nurse. I told Mom it was a journey on a cruise ship where she wouldn’t get sea sick. We filled her room with art and family photos and her comfortable furniture. She jumped right into the activities…exercise classes, dancing, bowling (even bowled a strike), making new friends and eating healthy food. My visit at Thanksgiving was fun, but I knew she wasn’t quite right. The drive to the Franklin Mountains and through the Upper Valley to see the brilliant orange trees only stressed her. “Have we been to Kentucky?” she asked. It was the day after I left that she had another stroke that left her unconscious. The three sisters came together to help her through her final days under the gentle guidance of Hospice of El Paso. We held her hand, talked to her, sang songs for her and told her we loved her. She struggled at first, but her last full day was peaceful. It seemed that she held on until I told her, “I know you love us, and it’s okay to let go…you will see your good friends and dear family that have gone before you.” My sister raised the window and a cool breeze filtered in. You could almost feel Ruth’s spirit leave to join the fluttering leaves in the lovely, tall cottonwood tree just outside her room. She loved the outdoors, and that is where I plan to spend more time and continue Ruth’s Celebration of Life. The art exhibit at Lajitas Resort in the Sangregado Gallery is extended through New Year’s and then it is on to more music and art in 2013! Much love to my sisters, my family, and to the friends of Ruth Allbright!