June 19, 2016

My mom passed away yesterday at the age of 92. She never liked people making a fuss over her, and if you started throwing compliments her way she’d always find a way to kind of pooh-pooh it, but this is one time she’s not going to get a say in the matter. And while I’m guessing she wouldn’t want a big deal to be made of her passing – certainly not to the extent of a blog post such as this – I think deep down she’d feel proud and honored by the sentiments expressed here. And knowing her as I think I do (after all, it was rare for Mom to share her innermost feelings with just about anyone), just seeing how much she was loved by all of us and how much she will be missed, I think would suffice, only as long as we all promised to get on with our lives and be happy while keeping her close in our memories. I think she’d be satisfied with that. At least I hope so.

If someone were to ask me to describe Mom in one word, it would be that she was a MOM. It’s what God called her to do as her life vocation, and she did it well. While she did many other things in her life between work, church and travel, more than anything else she was a mom, even to those who weren’t her children. Whether it was Tracey (who saw her as much of a mother figure as her own), or to Tracey’s twin Tammy, or to my various friends over the years, Mom had that way of making anyone feel welcome. Growing up in house with three other boys all born within 3 1/2 years of each other (two brothers and two cousins) both Mom and my Auntie Marge put up with a lot when we were young, and even more so when we entered our late teens. But no matter how much we might have screwed up, and how put out with us she might be, never once did we ever think we weren’t loved.

And, I guess, speaking as her oldest son, that was always the most important thing to me. Unlike parents today, Mom and I weren’t friends, or buddies, or pals, or whatever the heck parents these days try to carve out as a relationship with their children. She was my mother, I was her son, and I never thought otherwise. Growing up, it was Mom who was the disciplinarian in the house; while I think I got the strap only once, you knew damned well you had messed up simply by the tone in her voice or the look on her face – that was usually enough to get the point across.

Once we kids were grown and pretty much on our own, Mom and my dad enjoyed traveling but remained home-bodies at heart. Unlike so many New Englanders, neither Mom nor Dad ever had the itch to snowbird their winters in Florida. And while my Dad has always enjoyed taking walks outside and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation, I always found it funny that Mom was never much of nature person. She was a faithful church-goer until her later years, but she never stopped being faithful to God: she kept a cup on her bureau that she would put a quarter in each day as a way of giving thanks. And until her feet gave out, she enjoyed volunteering at our church’s “Thrift Shop” and knowing all the regulars who frequented there the days she worked. She had a melodic voice, loved music, and loved to sing: she sang in church choirs for years, and her habit was to sing harmony to any music that might be playing at the time. I told her many times the greatest gift she ever gave me (besides a mother’s love, of course!) was my ear for music.

It seems that for someone who lived nearly ninety-three years there should be oodles of experiences to write about, but at heart Mom was a very simple and down-to-earth person. She loved whenever family would come to visit – especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and it seems especially right that her last full day on earth was spent surrounded by family, a visit from two of her great-grandchildren, and the news that she had become a great-grandmother for the fourth time. The cycle of life! She faithfully watched her “story” – General Hospital – each day, and loved watching her game shows and the Red Sox (not baseball, the Red Sox!) who she missed dearly until Spring Training came back around. She enjoyed an occasional trip to the casino (Sam’s Town in Vegas until both she and Dad got weary of air travel), then Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun for just a day with the money she’d saved strictly for that occasion, and when it was all gone (she rarely won anything gambling!) she was content to leave it until the next time.

In her last decade of life things got kind of tough. Losing her youngest son (my brother Mark) at such an early age wounded her deeply. And while her health issues accumulated began to accumulate she had spent the first eight decades of her life in pretty good health and kept her wits right until the end. Increasingly, she would bemoan all the medications and treatments that she felt kept people alive long after they outlived their usefulness; I know she sometimes felt like she was a bother to us, but nothing could have been further from the truth. When the end came, both she and her body were more than ready to go, and we are all grateful and comforted that she went out the way she did – in peace and surrounded by loved ones.

It’s going to feel strange not having a mom around to talk to, to share things with, to just call and chit-chat with, and to get cards from on special occasions. I’m sixty years old, and losing my mother makes me all of a sudden feel old and rudderless. I’m sure over time that will pass, but it’s hard to think of someone who has been part of your life from the day you were born not being there anymore. I know for her it is all for the best – she’s now at rest and in God’s hands – but it’s gonna be tough for the rest of us who must carry on without her love, wisdom, and abiding presence in our lives.

Her name was Dorothy Geraldine Richard, but to me she was Mom. As your oldest son, I hope I lived up to your expectations more often than not and that I made you proud. I love you and will miss you greatly. Rest in peace.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 08:29 | Comments (7)
7 Comments »
  1. Well said ..

    Your dear friend

    Steve (aka Killa)

    Comment by Steve — June 19, 2016 @ 10:39 am


  2. Sending my love and condolences to you and your family. What a beautiful tribute you have written about you “mom”. I so enjoyed hearing and reading about your parents and how supportive they were of you and all the music that was played and listened to you in your home. May her journey onward be filled with peace and calm and knowing the love goes with her.

    Comment by Jana — June 19, 2016 @ 5:35 pm


  3. Dear Doug: A truly wonderful tribute to a truly wonderful person. And she was always that way for the 85 years that she was part of my life. Not only was she my big sister but she was my dearest friend, my closest confidante, my sounding board and always there when I needed to blow off steam. There are no words to express how much I will miss her and no one could ever replace her.

    Comment by Auntie Marge — June 20, 2016 @ 8:13 am


  4. Hey Doug, so sorry to hear about you mom. I never had the privilege of meeting her but she sounds like a wonderful person. You were blessed to have her in your life for so many years. Hope that all of those wonderful memories of her are with you always. Take care … Kevin / Goose

    Comment by Kevin — June 21, 2016 @ 9:39 am


  5. Thanks everyone for your kind comments and lovely thoughts. She was a peach!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — June 24, 2016 @ 5:03 am


  6. Sorry to hear, GWS …

    AllTheBest,
    Rob&Patsy Ferrara

    Comment by Rob — June 24, 2016 @ 8:00 am


  7. Thank you Rob! Hope all is well with you down in Louisiana. My Mom always remembered fondly getting a “Happy Birthday” call from my since-departed friend Rock who wanted to send her birthday wishes while I was visiting him down in Grand Isle one day. She thought being called “Miss Dot” by a real Louisiana man was very flattering.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — June 26, 2016 @ 4:20 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


goodboys.jpg


Search The Site



Recent Items

Categories

Archives
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006


Blogroll

Syndication

4 Goodboys Only

Site Info