My mom, Kris Woodger, died on Oct. 18. She was my confidant, my friend and my Uber driver.

For five months in the spring and summer of 2018 she shuttled me from my home in Plymouth to Woods Hole and back every week. As part of her “Platinum Package of Brad Woodger Elder Care,” she was allowed this honor. I gave up on the car radio in her Toyota Rav 4 early on in our pilgrimages — Mom was going to provide all the background noise I could hope for. Any brief pause in her monologues was inevitably filled with an observation of sorts: “Oh, would you look at that seagull, he looks like a vulture with a hat on, (he didn’t). I wonder where he’s off to?”

Picking me up at the SSA, she’d get her preferred handicap space where I could confidently find her — her fuzzy head just barely breaking the threshold of her side window, her eyes searching the disembarking for her shuffling son.

Spotting me, she’d extricate herself from the driver’s seat, maneuvering her bum and legs in several series of small movements until she could pull herself up with the door frame. She’d wander around to the passenger side where she would flop herself into the seat like a scuba diver entering the water. She’d greet me without fail with a “hi hon” as I’d take my place behind the wheel and then she’d be off: “There was a dog and a man and a woman and they were just standing there and they were not paying any attention to the dog, and. . .”

We called mom The Penguin, The Hobbit, The Weeble and The Pink Marshmallow (this last name gaining traction from her well worn, rose colored bathrobe ). She took all these names in stride, having developed a thick skin from raising three boys (and only boys), but also a gentle pride in the attention she received. Mom walked with a distinctive waddle in her later years, her feet obviously upset with each other as evidenced by their efforts to proceed in differing directions. Her toes didn’t help her cause — they tended to lean in toward her middle toes, contorting themselves in awkward angles like teenagers attempting to overhear what the popular kid was saying. Only in her last months though did she require help in walking. Apparently, her limbs and appendages made a pact long ago to work together to keep the old lady moving, no matter how silly it looked.

As a child, my mom moved from Albert Lee, Minn. with her mother, Mary, and sister, Kari. Their father, a doctor, had died young and unexpectedly so they found themselves at age 38, 13 and 7 headed back East to start over. Mary knocked on doors in New Haven, Conn. until she found them a home in a wonderfully kind old lady’s home. They stayed there for years until they moved to the Berkshires where my mom met my father Bruce.

Throughout, however, Chappaquiddick remained a constant.

As young girls they spent summers at The Big Camp with Frank and Molly and an assortment of voluminous amounts of relatives. Whatever loneliness they may have experienced in the winter months was surely countered with a surplus of love and attention in the summer. Then, later, with a trio of her boys in tow, she’d manage to settle us into The Playhouse, a converted chicken coop, for a summer month on Chappaquiddick every year. We’d drink from jelly jars with Jughead and Archie fading on the glass, and eat Pilot Crackers with peanut butter for lunch. We’d run and swim and dry off and swim again, and then sleep in beds with sandy sheets. It was heaven.

At the end, mom didn’t want to keep going. She didn’t want another round of dialysis with its needles and itchy skin and leg cramps. She didn’t want people to change her wet bedding yet again. She didn’t want another wound that wouldn’t heal and another pain that wouldn’t subside. She had fractures in her pelvis and spine. She had rips and tears and headaches and tremendous fatigue. She had three artificial joints and only 3/4 of her lungs. She had intestines that imposed themselves in her diaphragm and fingers twisted in arthritis.

And yet she was beautiful. And funny. And wonderful. And my mom. Our mom.

She left behind three sons — two living and one waiting for her on a rainbow with unicorns and more dogs than one can count. She left behind a sister who loved her dearly, and she her. They would talk every Sunday, about stuff sisters talk about.

She left behind three grandchildren that sustained her heart at its most desperate. She left behind my dad, long since away, but never forgotten. She left behind years and years of the most easy, entertaining and simply nice days of being together between a son and his mom.

My mom died peacefully. She really did. She died in her hospital room with nurses that adored her (she was the best patient), and she adored them, particularly the one who gave her morphine.

She told us she loved us all so very much. And then she died. She died with me, her sister, my brother Scott, and his wife Daria there next to her — talking to her and then to each other as she drifted away.

I live now with little having changed except that there is another space in every place I walk, sit or sleep. I cannot see or touch this space but I know it’s there — beside me, inside me and surrounding me.

And now and then I find myself reaching into this void to hold my mom’s hand or touch her forehead. Hi hon, I hear her say.

Brad Woodger is a resident of Plymouth and Chappaquiddick, where he manages the Royal and Ancient Chappaquiddick Links.