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November 30, 2006


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Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my Mom's death. I have always remembered dates well...sometimes for silly things and always for big things. It has been good and it has been bad. I just wanted to share with my group a bit about my Mom and what I phsycially lost a year ago tomorrow but have learned to carry with me in spirit since that day.

My Mom was bron in Illinois on a July day in 1943 and was the oldest of 3 daughters. She grew up among the many soybean and tall corn fields of the Illinois River Valley and excelled academically in school. She met my Dad in her tender teenage years and in 1961 they married and soon moved to Arizona.

For them, the move west provided a new life together with new opportunities. My Mom's maternal grandparents had already been living in Arizona for nearly 20 years so they at least knew someone there. Both of my parents worked for a goal and they rented a small house in central Phoenix...considered the north end of town back then. Not long after, they purchased their first home for about $13,000.00

With the new home came the desire to be a Mom. I don't know the reasons whey but she was not to become a parent the natural way. However, adoption was the route they made my Mother a Mom...three times over. First with myself, and then 2 sons to follow. My Mom provided the gentle embraces and special touches to birthdays and holidays. Although they may not have been fancy or expensive they were always thoughtful and full of love. I also remember just her sharing time with me...teaching me to play games like Scrabble and cribbage and the fun we had just passing the time.

She loved to do crafts which included: needlepoint, crochet, ceramics and during one summer she did an oil painting of a landscape. That painting hung in our family room for many years and it still does at my Dad's. She enjoyed camping with friends and listening to a silly joke from her Mom during her weekly Sunday call to her. She enjoyed her morning crossword and word jumble in the newspaper. I showed her Text Twist on the internet (something she rarely played with) about 6 weeks prior to her death and my Dad said she loved to play that.

She was our very own private duty nurse. Tenderly nursing us back to health from a simple cold or a bout of pneumonia. She bandaged many knees and gave a swift flu shot that you barely noticed breaking the skin. Once, I broke my leg during a softball game and my Mom (who was recovering from a bad back injury) took me to the ER after trying to track down my brother on the basketball courts. She was also a huge help when I had both of my daughters coming to stay the first time to help nurse me back to myself and then to entertain a precocious 2 year old when a younger sister joined the family. When I was young, she even took in her ailing grandparents to our home and then worked at the nursing home my greatgrandma eventually ended up having to go to.

My Mom was the driver to countless baseball games, softball games, karate lessons, golf lessons, piano lessons, trips to the pool, movies and friends. Often times, she was carting around other people's kids as well. She worked full time as an RN on the swing shift and still made dinner for us with instructions on how to heat it up when we got home from school and our Dad from work.

What I miss most about my Mom is her always and ever present ability to listen. When I was little I always felt comfort seeing my Mom at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a friend...usually our neighbor Aunt JoAnn or Mrs. Solar. The laughter would drift through the air and it now brings a smile to my face as I recall seeing my Mom with a dear old friend.

My Mom loved it when she and my Dad moved to Payson in 1995. For some reason, she became less tolerant of the Phoenix heat and moved to a town like her rural Illinois roots. She enjoyed the change of seasons and the tempered climate that the high elevation had to offer. Here she volunteered for her church, started a catering business for several years but went back to nursing at one of the local nursing homes. 3 weeks prior to her death she had taken a new position with hospice visiting patients in the nursing home or at home keeping them comfortable the last days of their life.

Since November 30th of last year I have probably only been up to my parent's home a half dozen times. Now when I visit I look around and it is there I feel her presence the most. The photographs of family gatherings with relatives full of smiles where my Mom probably prepared a meal of celebration. The crocheted blankets on a recliner she would endlessly work on in the evenings while watching TV. There is even one unfinished still in the magazine rack in the family room. Needle still in place and I can still hear her from last Thanksgiving telling my daughter, Maddie, about varigated yarn. The shelves are still full of many knick-knacks to let you know who she was....a wife, a mom...a sister...a daughter...a grandma...a friend and a nurse.

It's a day like today that makes me realize how loved I have been by such a wonderful woman and I had the honor of calling her Mom. It's a day like today that makes me cherish each and every memory she has given me, a photograph and trinkets. It's a day like today that marks a milestone in a new relationship with my Mom, but yet something stays the same...I still talk to her...and she still listens.

This was my Mother. I miss her more than I can sometimes believe myself. I know because of her I have been able to carry on...my life has been better because of her.

My Mom: July 8, 1943-November 30, 2005

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What a beautiful tribute. The world is a better place because of parents like ours. We all get our strength from the people we came from. I wish I had known your Mom. I would have liked to have shared a cup of coffee with her. My Mom is drinking a cup with her in heaven now.

Missing my Mom,


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