A loving goodbye

Posted on March 9, 2016


dear Mom

My dear mother passed away on Sunday. I was so blessed to be with her as she took her last breath.

What words can describe the love between a mother and her daughter? Love, gratitude and strength. This is Mom.

Try as she might, Mom couldn’t quite grasp the concept of a blog. She called it “blabbering.” So Mom, this blabber post is for you.

I am so grateful for all the time I was able to spend with my dear mother over the past several years. I would go to daily mass and then call Mom. We would joke that it was her wake up call. When I called her and asked if she was awake, she would inevitably respond, “Of course I am awake, sleeping late is a waste of time.” I would also ask her if she needed anything at the grocery store and she always said, “No, I can’t think of anything at the moment.” Of course, as soon as I got to her house, she would have a long list of grocery items she needed. Her explanation was that when I called her, she was upstairs and wasn’t thinking about groceries. I guess she could only do that in the kitchen.

Every morning, we would sit and enjoy coffee and toast with peanut butter. She loved to sit by the large picture window in the kitchen. “Getting her Vitamin D” is what she called it. We would also quietly read the newspaper together.

I would also call her for her nightly check in call. She would answer the phone, “all checked in.” Even though she had caller id, I doubt she looked at that. So I smile to think what telemarketers must have thought when they called at that time and she answered the phone that way.

She had her wits about her. She was more with it than I was, that’s for sure. She would remind me to do something, I would agree to do it and promptly forget about it. Then she would remind me again.

She wasn’t just a homebody though. She played bridge at least once a week. And she was a very good bridge player, even though she claimed she wasn’t.

And I can’t forget her weekly hair appointment. Nothing should interfere with that, not even a snow storm. Sometimes I had to make her doctor’s appointments on hair day and this was not a good thing.

In her younger days, she was an avid tennis player and a skier. I credit my love of exercise to her. When we were out and about in Needham, we would inevitably run into one of her former tennis ladies. When I would ask who that person was, she would usually reply, “Um, I can’t recall her name, but I know I used to play tennis with her.”

She had her quirks. Mom grew up on a farm. She hated strawberries. Her explanation was that she had to pick strawberries as a child and the strawberries sold for $0.25 a quart. To this day, she can’t face a strawberry. But the funny thing was her dear sister, Whitey, had to pick strawberries too and she didn’t mind strawberries. Who can figure?

Mom loved her coffee hot, scalding hot. So hot it was practically boiling. Of course, any coffee was not hot enough.

Mom loved to wash windows. A few years ago, I told her that I didn’t want her doing that anymore because I didn’t want her climbing up on a step ladder. This was the only time I heard her complain. She really wanted to wash windows. Now if that were me and someone told me I could no longer wash windows, I would be celebrating.

Mom was a rock. She was a very strong person. I thank her for teaching me to be strong.

How can words describe Mom? This little story may help.

Mom was always, always thinking of others first. A few weeks ago, she saw a big ad in the paper for a silver necklace. She showed it to me and said, “This necklace would look so nice on you. I know you love silver jewelry and this one is pretty and different. Why don’t I give this to you?” So I went and ordered the necklace. I am happy that she got to see me wear it. I also wore it every day when I visited her in the hospital.

pretty silver necklace

This necklace isn’t just a “thing,” it represents my mother’s love for me. I am wearing it today to honor her.

Thank you Mom for everything. I love you and I am going to miss you.

This post is dedicated to my dear mother, Irene Briggs – 1922-2016.