mom and me laughing

Because I have a new baby, I am up a lot at night. This is bad and good.

Bad because, well, duh.

Good because I get to think. And read. And after the baby goes back to sleep, sometimes write.

My mom passed away last Friday. It was expected. She’d been sick for many many years with alzheimer’s disease which is a gradual horrible no good terrible illness that she feared all her life. So we knew it was coming but when I got the phone call, after days of sitting by her side with my family, when I got the phone call that she was gone, I felt like I’d been kicked. Hard. It was like a physical reaction and I just broke down.

My boys watched that. I can’t tell if that’s bad they saw me sobbing or okay that they saw me sobbing. In any case, it was much harder than I expected. Not because I wanted her to stay–she was so sick. I know it was better. It was harder because she is my mom. My mom and one of the best people I’ve ever known.

So late at night, I’ve been reading my old journals. Looking through scrapbooks. Trying to sift through my emotions. Sometimes I feel sad because I worry I can’t remember anything about Mom beyond the sickness that overtook her. Then I’ll see a picture or read a journal entry or find a ticket stub that triggers a memory.  Instead of just thinking about that memory, I’m writing it down as fast as I can. I don’t want them to disappear. I don’t want her to disappear.

Even yesterday when I was sorting through my boys’ books I found so many that my mom used to read to me: Corduroy, The Little House, The Funny Little Woman, Ira Sleeps Over, Leo the Late Bloomer. I sat on the floor and cried.

So now more than ever I’m committed to not only writing my own life, but writing those of the people I love. It’s a gift I can give myself, my boys, my husband, my future grandkids, my siblings but most of all my mom. I love you, Mom. I always will and you’ll never disappear.



by | May 21, 2013 · 10:18 am

20 responses to “Gifts

  1. A beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so sad to hear about your mother’s passing. I’m glad you have some wonderful memories of her that will stay with you forever.

  2. Kelley Paystrup

    I know how hard it was when my mom died. The tears came readily and easily–not like when I lost my dad. His tears were stopped up and finally began seeping out months later one or two at a time. But my tears for Mom burst out like a broken dam, and I wept like a wounded child. Three days later, I took out a fresh journal and began writing to Mom, telling her my gratitude for all she had been to my life and finally saying what I had needed to say. She and I had a chance to heal things that I didn’t know needed healing.

    Your post was beautiful. God comfort you on your grieving journey. It will be your own, different than mine, and in the end, it will be a good one.

  3. CLW

    Oh Ann Dee. This beautiful post tells what we become and who we are and all that is good about us because of our mothers.
    I am so glad you have a mom who was a real ‘Jewel.’ I hope with all my heart I have been that kind of mother to my girls.
    What you have been through puts all my sill struggles in perspective.
    Don’t forget, you will give to your boys what your mom gave to you. And that’s a way she will live forever, too.
    Love, love, love.

  4. Just what I needed: a good cry to start off the day! Of COURSE, I thought about when I lost my own mom. My mom gone when I was only 27. Gone, before she saw ANY of her grandchildren. I’d had a fruitless marriage (fruitless in SO many ways), and my younger brother wasn’t yet married. My 2 children and his 6 started coming within the next couple of years. She’d have been the world’s best grandma ever. And it was “all” my fault she missed out. And THEY missed out. So this got me right where I live and breathe. Be glad she saw your children—even while she didn’t know exactly who they were. Glad she read you those important books. Glad she was YOURS. We LOVE our moms, and always will!

    (And it WAS a “good” cry . . . thanks for sharing!)

  5. I love the photo of you and your mom! What a wonderful relationship you have. Thanks for your post.

  6. Rebecca Birkin

    Touching post, and what a wonderful idea to use your gifts to celebrate her life.

  7. Cheryl

    Thank you for that beautiful post and taking the time to write it and share it.

  8. Bruce

    It is so hard to watch a person, someone who’s been a pillar of strength your entire life, grow feeble and weak. My sympathies for loss.

  9. Ann Dee. I’m so sorry.
    The difficult things in life change us but they also reveal us. You do that with your work. You do that with you. Thank you for writing this graceful blog about your mother. You are both beautiful.

  10. I’m so sorry. Losing a parent is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My boys saw me break down and sob too many times to count! Love to you.

  11. Holly

    Thanks for this. And no she will never ever disappear.

  12. ann dee, this is so beautiful and such a wonderful way to remember your mom. i know i already shared this quote with you, but it keeps coming back to me:

    in the depth of winter, [we] find within [us] an invincible summer.
    (Albert Camas as quoted by Pres. Uchtdorf)

    i’ve been thinking about it a lot lately in the context that everyone has different depths of winter and we find our invincible summers in different ways, but hopefully what we feel in them is similar: hope, strength to move forward, peace, love.

    and always we have the knowledge of what we have gained from the people who surround us (especially moms and dads), and most importantly, who we have become because of them.

    your boys are seeing you go through a depth of winter. and that’s okay. that’s necessary for them to grow and become strong, caring, loving people. you have an amazing mother who helped you become that. and so do they.

  13. This was beautiful. Hugs and prayers for you and your family.

  14. Ann Dee. I am so sorry about your mom. This is a beautiful post and a great tribute to the woman who raised you. You will remember. You will be blessed with floods of memories and you’ll write them down, cause you can. My prayers are with you.

  15. So beautiful. Thinking of you with love, Ann Dee. Always.

  16. Allexis

    Ann Dee,
    I think you are so blessed to have been raised by such a great mother. Thank you for sharing. I aspire to being that type of mother although I wasn’t as fortunate in having that close a relationship. Beautiful post. Thank you for opening up in such a personal way. You are an inspiration and my prayers are with you.

  17. I’m sorry for the loss of your mom, Ann Dee. You will have her forever through your memories and the gift of your writing and through everything you are because of her. Your boys will continue to know her because of you. I’m sure she’s proud of you and the daughter and mother you are. Lots of love to you and your family.

  18. Kyra

    What a great picture and beautiful post. You’re in my thoughts.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  19. Tanei

    Oh, Ann Dee. That picture of you and your mother is stunning and this post is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing.


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