Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Today, I attended a Mother's Day program at Mom's assisted living facility, and read her tributes written by myself and my sisters. When I arrived at the Manor, Mom was napping in bed yet. I was able to wake her up, but she was so fatigued she wasn't able to attend the program. Instead, I sat by her bed and read her each of our tributes. She looked at me intently as I read, and listened closely. She didn't say a lot, but I could tell it meant a lot to her hearing the words. As I was finishing reading to her, an aide came by to invite Mom down to the dining room to have strawberry shortcake. She slowly got up, dressed in a houserobe with my help, and we walked down to the dining area. Chris was with me. He had patiently waited by the front door while I read to Mom, and joined us as we headed down the hallway. I sat with them both as they ate their shortcakes; I just drank a 'rasberry tea' (both Mom and I decided if there was tea in it, it was a very old and weak bag!) Mom kept saying, "I really hate Cool Whip!" as she contemptuously removed it from the angel food cake and strawberries. I laughed and agreed. She even had seconds. I teased her saying, "Well, at least you got some fruit inside of you today!"

As I left, she was sitting in her rocker chair. We hugged and kissed, and she sounded so sad. "All I do when I get up is sit by myself and look at photos...it's very lonely..." I never know what to say. She is weak, tired, sad, and alone. She will not be young again, not be held by Dad again; her dreams for the future have come and gone, and now she wants to leave this world. Every moment we have together is a gift. But then, it is for all of us...

Mother's Day Remembrance 2003

I am the middle of three girls my mother had.

What can I say now to tell you about my life with her and what she gave me?

There is too much to say in this brief moment in time but these are the things that come to my mind.......

My mother was what every child dreams for - I was always well fed, warm and loved. She cared for all my needs and gave me the wonderful "gift" of childhood that not every child gets.

I had all the pretty Easter dresses, hats, and gloves. The Halloween customs and many Christmas presents that we sometimes found out about before hand - but never told Mom and Dad.

My mother taught me how to clean a house by giving me chores to do every day and more on the weekends. We all had to help. But, without us knowing it, she was teaching us and training us to be responsible, caring and respectful adults.

My mother taught me how to be a good cook and to bake. I learned to make homemade cocoa fudge from a very young age and now passing it onto my own children.

I learned all the practical things too like; sewing, canning, berry picking, making mud pies, caring for animals, going to the dentist, attending Sunday School and church, attending country Vacation Bible School and summer Bible camps.

She paid for piano lessons and instilled the love for a WIDE variety of music, and not just one kind. Which I have also passed onto my children. She attended all my boring music concerts and plays at school - not because they were so good - but to show me that I was important and loved.

Don't cry Mom, but if you do let them be tears of joy and great satisfaction. You did a great job - one I hope someday my children will say of me.

I love you Mom, always and forever - no matter what.
Betty Jeanne

Happy Mother’s Day!! I wish I could be there to see your smiling face.

But let me reminisce. As a mother in the baby boom years after World War II, you gave so much of yourself to me and my sisters---your time, talents, wisdom and instruction, solid Midwestern values, and a rich
Irish/English heritage, for which I am eternally grateful.

I can remember playing endless games of Monopoly with you, chomping on fresh peas, potatoes, carrots from the garden, playing the game “anti-anti-I-over” with you over the garage, and sneaking some of those sweet
strawberries and raspberries while picking them with a straw hat on my head and a tin can with a handle in my hand.

There were lots of warm, lazy summer afternoons to bike, read, play house in my own playhouse, catch butterflies and insects for my biology class, play hopscotch with Betty or with my friends etc.—just to be
creative and have fun. What a great place to grow up! You gave me the gift of a marvelous childhood where I could truly be a child free from the too early encroachment of adulthood.

You taught me all the essentials and then some for being a good wife and mother. I am so thankful that you taught me how to cook, bake, clean, organize and be disciplined from an early age. More than that, you
communicated and demonstrated by example how important it was to be honest, hard working and a person of integrity.

Thank you for believing in me and my abilities when I decided that I wanted to be the first from our family to go to college. Thank you for being willing to let me go to the big city, Chicago, so far away, when it meant that your first born would no longer be close to home. I know that this was hard for you. But your love was great enough to launch me on my big adventure.

I love you very much, Mom, and always shall.


When I look back at my childhood, the overpowering memory is one of security. I never had to worry about a roof over my head, food in my mouth, or clothes on my back. I never lacked for hugging or snuggling or kisses. I remember marvelous conversations about a wide variety of topics…and this was just at the dinner table.

Responsibility was so integrated to the way I was brought up, that it was organic in my perception as how life just…was. Time and experience has taught me otherwise. I’ve found out that many people never have that luxury of security.

My parents were the foundation of that security. Both of them were very special people in my life, and I knew it to the degree I could know it, even when I was a growing up.

Mom was always there. She made fantastic meals! She created and sewed really cool clothes! She supported my dreams and was there when I really needed her. I fought with her like cats and dogs over things I can’t even remember about. I sometimes think we fought simply because we rubbed each other the wrong way, not really knowing why. Through it all, I always loved her, and I know she loved me. There was never a question about that.

Mom, you are still here for me. I treasure these times we have had in the last couple of years, despite the sad reason of Dad’s passing being the reason that made it possible.

We can never tell those we care for enough, “I love you…” I love you, Mom.


Monday, May 12, 2003

"Where in our brains do our memories lay down? What is it about our memories that enable us to function as capable, sentient beings?"
A daughter reflects on her mother's loss of memory...