( May. 28th, 2016 07:25 pm)




It's been eleven years since that Saturday afternoon when Mom quietly slipped away while my brother and I were gone from her hospital room, but sometimes, like today, it feels like a lot less time has passed. I put it into much better words, of course, on the Book Face in 2009...

"Mom was a hard worker. She was a secretary or office assistant through her working days, and a damned good one. She'd work all day and came home and worked some more around the house. She loved to garden, especially flowers. She hated shopping, but she loved going to rummage sales. She also liked having rummage sales of her own. She didn't have a whole slew of friends, but the friends she did have were like family to her, and her whole family, both immediate and extended meant the world to her.

Christmas was her favourite holiday. She loved decorating the house and really enjoyed shopping for presents every year, though she hated the crowds with a passion. She lived for the look of surprise on a person's face when they opened them.

In addition to decorating the house, she also made pine wreaths and sprays by hand. She did this for as long as I could remember. Grandpa (and for awhile Dad) worked at the cemetary and after the wreaths were taken off the graves at the end of winter they would gather decorations, rings and stands for her to recycle into her own work every year. They were absolutely stunning. She made them for people for their loved ones' graves and to hang on their doors and never charged a cent for them. The last Christmas she was alive she wasn't able to make the actual wreaths, but she still bought a few from her neighbor's grandson who was a Boy Scout and embellished them with more decorations so Dad and the Grandparents would have nice wreaths for their graves. She tried to show me how to make them, but I never got the hang of it, something I feel bad about. I would've liked to continue the tradition...

She bloomed after she retired. She was finally able to devote time to doing things she loved and found new things to do that she loved as well. Mom and Dad bought a trailer in Arizona and "snowbirded" down there for a few years before Dad died. She would spend her winters making new friends from all over the country and taking part in the various activities around the park. Her favourite was learning crafts--her favourites being quilting and making butterflies out of two litre plastic soda bottles (sounds sorta weird, but they were so damned beautiful). She even learned how to shoot pool and a bit of taekwondo! After Dad passed she was able to go down there one last year before she got sick and she was so proud of herself for doing all the driving by herself.

Quilting. Ah, the quilting. She was a quick study, learning most of her skills from my Aunt Sharon. Aunt Sharon lived up north about 6 hours away, and Mom would drive up there and spend a few days quilting and talking about everything and nothing. Her first big projects were Irish wedding ring quilts for my brother and I, which she gave us for Christmas one year. Neither of us had any idea she had been making them, even though she worked on them at both at home and at Aunt Sharon's. She later told us how she would have to scurry to put everthing away when either of us would stop by without calling first.:) She gave my niece a quilt right after she was born, which she used til it wore out (the last I knew she still has it, but I haven't seen it in awhile...)

She loved butterflies. She didn't collect actual specimens of them, but she collected all sorts of butterflies in made in different media--porcelain, metal, wood, and the plastic ones she made by the dozens for both herself and friends and family.

She absolutely adored her granddaugher. The angels truly sang the day she was born, she was (and continues to be) such a gift to our family. She took turns babysitting Cassie with her other set of grandparents while John and Karen were working. She absolutely loved spending whatever time she could with her! It was something to watch, the doting grandmother.:)

She and I didn't get along very well during my childhood and adolescence. We clashed like oil and water. I prefer not to look back on those years. In my twenties we finally started to mend those fences, letting each other know how sorry we were for the bad times and how we both did the best we knew how during those bad times. We eventually became quite close, as a daughter and mother should be. It wasn't always rosy, but we were able to communicate through the rough times and move forward.

She died from complications of a very rare blood disease called primary systemic amyloidosis. It's so rare that only about 3,000 people are diagnosed with it world wide every year or some such, if I'm remembering the statistics correctly. What happens is the bone marrow produces too much of a certain protein which ends up in the blood stream. The protein then builds up on major organs, eventually leading to organ failure. It primarily affected Mom's heart, which is what I think hastened her death. She died less than five months after her diagnosis. I was with her the last night of her life, trying desperately to comfort her as she fought death, both when she was semi conscious and while she was unconscious. It was the toughest thing I've ever gone through in my life. It was my final gift to her, and despite the pain I went through, I'm ever so glad I was there for her in those last hours.

Mom was definitely unique, and a very strong, loving woman. I hope I can be half the woman she was.

I love you very much, Mom. As I said yesterday for Dad, I wish you peace and happiness whereever it is you're hanging out these days, and I hope you're with those you loved on this Earth who passed before you and have passed since you left us."

I also post this song, as an homage to her, and the very last night of her life that we shared together, as she went onto the last part of her journey.



"Of all the things we should've said,
That were never said.
All the things we should've done,
That we never did.
All the things that you needed from me.
All the things that you wanted for me.
All the things that I should've given,
But I didn't..."

Do ya think I've a little bit of guilt, this daughter? Yeah...yeah, I do...And I always will, therapy be damned, though she'd kick my arse hard if she were here to do it. I'm trying to get past it, Ma. I really am.

Love you and miss you dearly, Ma. Hope you're having a ball Out There in the Great Beyond...
...to Heaven, for my Mom. Today's her birthday--she would've turned 74 today had she lived. For the first time in the ten birthdays that have passed since she's been gone, I did not find myself in the birthday card aisle looking for a birthday card for her. That's progress and a sign of healing grief, right? :/

I'd like to imagine she's kvetching with all her loved ones up there, including my newly arrived Uncle Ron, whom we lost last Sunday night (I'm going to post something about that in a bit). She'd never say she had a favorite over her two brothers, but I think Ron was her favorite of her two brothers, LOL, and they were quite close when she was alive--despite a several years' age difference. I'd also like to reckon that she's going to be golfing today, tending to her flower beds, and watching some of her favorite old (and new for all I know, LOL) television shows. ;)


The picture below gets so much mileage because I love it so much, and also because I have to get offa my duff and get the few other pics I have here with me scanned in and on my PC...It's just...*her*...She could be a wacky broad, and I so loved that about her...

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Happy 74th birthday, Mom!! I love you and miss you. I'll be keeping an eye out for any and all butterflies you might be sending out to say "Hi" to let me know you're doing alright. Hoping you've been resting well...
( May. 28th, 2015 10:04 am)
Ten years ago, on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon, we lost my Mom to her battle against the evil disease of primary systemic amyloidosis. She was a week shy of her 64th birthday...

Mom and I had our moments, that's for sure. We didn't always get along--our relationship was colored by emotional, physical and verbal abuse during my late childhood, teen, and young adult years. Somehow, though, we ended up coming to a sort of understanding with each other and ironed out most of our differences sometime during my mid-20s and began to have a more positive relationship. The last ten years of her life were basically the best times we enjoyed together as a mother and daughter. I treasure all that time we shared together relatively peacefully...

Death is a strange thing. I still find myself, even this long later, having the urge to pick up the phone to call her to talk to her about my latest adventures with my cats or find myself wandering down the greeting card aisle around Mother's Day or her birthday wanting to pick out the Perfect Card or realize I'm holding something I want to purchase as a Perfect Gift for her for some occasion...but she's not here for any of that any more and hasn't been for...like...awhile, now...

I still "talk" to her from time to time. She still comes to visit me in my dreams every once in awhile, which is sorta freaky, LOL. Every time I see one of her beloved butterflies I always say "Hi, Mom." because I take them as a signal that she's trying to say hello from Where Ever she is now.

I wonder, like I wonder with my Dad--what if she were still alive? How much different would things be? What would she think of my life choices--would she support them or would she be upset by them? Would she still be as active as she was before she fell ill or would she be slowing down by now from something else? I don't let the "what-ifs" dog me for long, though--they'll drive you mad if you let them hang around for too long.

Mom--Thank you for being my mom. I'm ever so glad we were able to figure things out and have a wonderful and decent mother/daughter relationship at the end of it all. I think of you often, and I love you very much and miss you very much, too. I try not to dwell too much because I know you wouldn't like that very much...but it's hard not to on days like today...

Try to get in at least one good round of golf today Where Ever your soul's hanging out these days today, tend to those wonderful flower beds I know you've still got, and I really hope you see some of your beloved butterflies floating around nearby as you do all that stuff... <3

A couple of pics of my incredible Mom...that I just shared on Mother's Day, LOL

Mom in AZ back in spring of 2004...
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Mom on the golf course, some time in the early '00s
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The last Mother's Day I celebrated with my mother was in 2005, which makes for nine that I've been without her. I still find myself drawn to the special section of the greeting card aisle to pick out a card for her, still find myself wistfully looking for little tchotchkes to pick up for her that she so loved to get every year...It's a tough time of year, this time of year, and I miss and love her even more than usual...

Figured I would post a couple of pictures of my wonderful, quirky, loving, maddening Mother for your enjoyment...

Here's one of her from her "snow birding" days in Apache Junction, AZ back in spring of 2004. It was the last trek she made down to her winter haunts before she fell too ill to make the trip. The Superstition Mountains are in the background. This is one of my favorite formal pictures of her...
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Here's one of my most favorite pictures of her, period--formal, serious, or silly. It was taken sometime during the early '00s while she was golfing with a friend on a ladies' golf league back home. My Mom was an expert at being silly for the camera--we've got tons of goofy shots of her, some of which I hope to some day get ahold of from my brother to scan and share online, LOL. This is where I get the art of the silly face in photos from, people. ;)
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Happy Mother's Day in Heaven (or wherever it is your soul's hanging out these days...) I hope you manage to get in a round or two today (with or without Dad, LOL--remember: he doesn't really like to golf...) and that you have a really happy day. John and I both love and miss you very very much, and think of you always...
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Christmas was really great this year, but two people especially were missing--my parents. It's my 11th year without Dad and my 9th year without Mom but I still find myself wanting to get them something special, still find myself reading the Mom and Dad cards in the card aisle...then I remember they're gone and I feel sad.



Today after spending the bulk of the day with my brother and my niece, we stopped at the cemetery on our way out of town to pay our respects. I cried as we left because I still miss them so. Ever so glad the brother person was able to get wreathes to put out on not only their grave but our grandparents' graves as well. As you can see, it's a lovely addition to their "home".

mom and dad xmas 14


Sigh. I was silly and thought it was getting easier to deal with them not being here. Most days are fine. Just The Important Days are still hard, especially Christmas, because Christmas was Mom's Holiday (TM). She would go all out and spoil us all rotten with lots of well-thought out presents. Now I try my best to take her place. Someday I'll get to her level... ;)
( Nov. 24th, 2014 12:58 pm)
On this date in 1962, my parents were wed. They managed to stay together until my father's death parted them in 2003. I would like to imagine they remain together today, only now it's in The Other World, wherever that may be in your belief system. I'm not sure if that's in a Christian God's Heaven or elsewhere, but I believe it's A Good Place for them and that they are alternately loving each other and driving each other crazy wherever it is that they currently reside together.

Happy 52nd anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love and miss you both... <3


Mom and Dad at their wedding reception, 11-24-62

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