"THEN Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My mom's anniversary

Nine years ago today, my mom died. In my family, we haven't been delicate enough to use any euphemisms since our mom forbid us when our Dad died in '84. Right there is the number one reason why - although I can pass with my accent and love of Alabama - I will never be a *real* Southerner. My neglect of the slight bow and the use of "s/he passed" prohibits my entry to authentic Southerness. Ah well. (That and my inability to fry chicken to any edible state. My children have inherited this gene from their paternal Grandma and for that I am eternally grateful!)

So, today, I would ask your prayers for my family - my sister, my brothers, my aunt and uncle, the repose of my mom's soul. We loved my mom and we miss her.

My mom was a tough Lady, she'd call herself a no nonsense kind of broad who was proud of her willingness to speak her mind no matter what. She moved to Alabama in the 1995 after X-years in Philadelphia. She was tired of the crime and the expense of the city. She didn't always like Alabama, but my brother and I and my family was there and it was considerably cheaper in Alabama than Pennsylvania. And warmer. No nasty winters, no snow to shovel. No amusements. So she got a job at Wal-Mart. She enjoyed that. She became active in the ladies Altar Society at our Church. She hung out with us and terrorized my kids.
Tenderly terrorized them. She wanted to toughen them up a little so they wouldn't be such "wimps." They are farm kids, she thought they were just a little too sensitive and that I was over-protective. LOL "It is not my fault," I'd tell her, "that people are just nicer here." At my kids' elementary school, before they were homeschooled, there just wasn't a whole lot of unchecked meanness like many kids experience growing up in the inner city.

She smoked for many years, and it eventually caught up with her. She rejected the diagnosis of COPD. And occasionally was heard to say that she'd never been sick at all until she quit smoking. I guess if you don't count all the coughing and hacking everyday, she'd have been right. She lived with this trial for a couple years. At one point, we asked her please to go on oxygen.

"What? No way!  I don't want to get addicted to it!!"
I replied, "Oh, you're right. Why should you be like the rest of us mere humans who are already addicted!"

Yeah, there is so much irony there on so many levels, that I think of it and laugh every time. She did get an oxygen machine and eventually a portable tank, so that she could have her fix of this horribly addictive chemical! Any sign of weakness was a bad thing.

I never saw her grieve over the illness, and she rarely complained about pain or suffering with it although we know that she had her share of these things. She was happy when we came to see her and worried about being trouble.

The night before she died, the pastor came to see her and give her Last Rites and the Sacrament. It was good.  Her nurse was there, and told her that things were not looking too good. I told her to hang in there. My sister was flying in the next morning.

"Jen will be here in the morning," I said.

"Oh, really, Jen's coming?" She smiled and drifted off to sleep.

There wasn't much else. I kissed her, told I loved her and that she was "my best mommy."

To this ridiculous show of sentiment, she shot back, "Yeah right." LOL
That would be typical of my mom.
The next morning, she just slipped away. No drama, no fuss.This is what I sent to some of my best friends. And if you will bear with me, I would like to share a few memories of that day.
These are the little bits of sunshine on an otherwise brutal day.

David: "Well, I guess Dad needs to go dig a hole now. Ya know so we can bury

Cymmie: (whisper) "Are they going to cover Grandmom with a sheet and cover
her chairs with sheets?"
Me: "Why?"
Cymmie: "Well that's what they do in the movies..."

My sister, Jen: "Oh I just wanted to say goodbye" small sob.
Me: "Jen, look, as much as you and I would have liked it and craved it,
there was never going to be a wonderful deathbed experience with all the
hugs and tears and stuff."
Jen: "Oh I know but (ARE YA'LL READY FOR THIS?) it's so nice when you watch
it in the movies."
Jen was not there when Cymmie made her remark about the movies. And Jerrold
was and he and I were just laughing.

Me to Buddy quietly in the car: "Aww man, I'm an orphan now."
David with his super-ears: "Well then I am an orphan, too."
Me: "Well no son, an orphan is someone whose mom and dad have both died."
David: "Oh well then, ya'll two are orphans."
Me: "No, dad's mom is still alive."
David: "Oh he's just a half orphan then."

I keep making this mental picture of my mom walking towards Heaven's gates.
She sees her mom & dad and some other folks and there just behind them is my dad.
And she says: "What the hell are you doing here?"
Then she looks around and says: "Oh! What the hell am *I* doing here?"
My mother, may she rest peacefully in Heaven with Jesus and the saints, had lots to offer up that year and she did it quietly and bravely and with minimal complaining. I am proud of her - she fought the good fight. She deserves the crown.

Thank you , Lord, for your most Holy Mercy.
But we still stay her head stone should really read: "I wasn't sick and I'm not dead either!"
Miss you, Mom.


  1. Nine years already? I can't believe that. Do the anniversaries ever get any easier? I had a really hard time this May - my mom's birthday and Mother's Day right after. Remembering all the things we used to do for those days, both as children, and then as a mom myself. I hope our moms are friends now :-) Praying for you and yours

  2. My condolences about your mother; she sounds like a she was a good egg and reminds me a great deal of a certain mother I have. I'd love to talk with you; you can find me at quinn@quinncummings.com


About Me

Welcome! The most important bread is the Bread of Life. I am Catholic and do my best to know, understand and live what that means that I might "know Him, love Him and serve Him." My husband, Bud, and I have been married for 24 years and we have seven children. Because of his job, we travel the country in an RV with five of them, learning as we go.