On November 23, 2012 at 4:23 AM (EST) under hospice critical care Demetria Capps Murray slipped into eternal sleep. I am so completely saddened by my mother’s passing but I am joyous at her passing at the same time. She was in my home, comfortable, resting peacefully in her own room as we’d planned for this event and she was under the constant care of the hospice nurses, myself and my daughter Lisa as she took her last breath, quietly, and without struggle. She simply stopped breathing. It was a beautiful passing and one I’d wish for any other person on earth. Truth be said: I lift my hands up to the Lord, in thanks that His blessings gave me peace and strength to provide this for my mother.
When this time came I was not certain I could write about this and I am struggling to do so now but if memory serves well time will allow for the flow of words to be written. Mother’s passing places me in an awkward position, that of becoming the Matriarch of the family. Although I do not feel like a woman who rules or dominates a family as is indicated by the word itself, nonetheless, I am now the head of mine. It is rather odd to me, at the age of only 67, to be the eldest in the family. And although I do not wish to rule anyone, long live my reign, for I plan on dying in my garden at 102!
Demetria Capps was born in Havana, Arkansas on November 1, 1924 to General Washington Capps and Nannie Pearl Toney Capps and was the eighth of nine children. She grew up as a farmer’s daughter in rural America in the house that her father built for his young bride some years before. She attended elementary school in one room red school-house, and church in a two room church building, both also built by her father. The two room church house was later converted to a first home for my mother and father when they were married in 1939. When the war broke out in 1941 and my father’s enlistment took him to California she followed, alone, at the age of seventeen, by train from Arkansas to California barely speaking a word to anyone she met. At one of the stops, two young men in uniform boarded. One winked as he asked her name to which she replied “Well, Sir, I’m General Capps daughter” and the young man kept on walking. At the same stop an older woman also got on and sat next to mother for which she was thankful because not seconds after the woman was seated the same young man walked back past her and said: “You’re not fooling me there is no General Capps in the Army!” Mother simply smiled and replied “No, that’s just my father’s name, Sir.”
Listening to my mother’s stories of her childhood and youth transfixed me to a time in our country that seemed so uncomplicated in many respects although I am certain from 1924 through the mid 1930’s life didn’t seem uncomplicated for a lot of Americans. On the other hand, growing up on a farm where food and the necessities of life were plentiful mother often told me that she was unaware of the plights many others encountered during that time. Her life was plentiful and graceful and remained so for eighty-eight years and twenty-three days, four hours and twenty-three minutes.