Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Snapshot of My Mom's Life

As many of you know, my mother passed away on April 16th, 2008, at the age of 76, following a long battle with advanced Parkinson's Disease.  She was a fighter, but a decade or more of Parkinson's, combined with years of constant pain from severe osteoporosis, had worn down her resolve.  At the end, I think she wanted to die.
I know that everyone's own mother is special to them, partly because she's their  mother, and partly because every mother is unique in different ways, but I think my Mom was one of a kind.  Her name was Kathy, she loved the smell of honeysuckle, and her favorite flowers were yellow roses.  She liked spicy foods, especially foods seasoned with a lot of black pepper and horseradish.  She never drank or smoked, but she loved her coffee.  She liked sad songs and sad movies, and she struggled with depression all of her life. 
She and my Dad adopted me when I was a small baby, and at the age of eight I was absolutely stunned when they told me that I was adopted.  She had never done anything to suggest that I was not her natural child.  My Dad once told me, "Never doubt that your Mother loves you," and I never did. 
My Mom thought she was dumb, but I knew she wasn't.  She may not have had much "book knowledge," but she was very smart with people.  She could win folks over with a smile and a few words.  I watched her talk salesmen into selling her merchandise at half price when the items weren't on sale and the salesmen had no obligation to cut her a deal.  She claimed that she was shy, but if she was she had everyone fooled.
In many ways she had a hard life.  For instance, when she was nine years old, she had to have a tonsillectomy, and her doctor opted to do the surgery in his office.  He blindfolded her before he gave her the anesthetic.  For the rest of her life she was afraid of the dark, afraid of going blind, and afraid of doctors.  I know this was 67 years ago, but doctors back then must have known better than to do things like that.  She would refuse to see a doctor no matter how sick she was, and it was only in the last year of her life that she agreed to see a neurologist and was diagnosed with being in the late stages of Parkinson's Disease.
This entry is necessarily an incomplete description of my Mom's life.  I could write books about her experiences.  I just wanted to give you a snapshot of a part of her life.  In my Mom's memory, Krissy and I planted a yellow rose bush in a giant flower pot on our patio.  The rose bush will remind us that my Mom is still with us, and that we'll all be together again someday.
Goodbye for now, Mom.


  1. What a wonderful tribute to your dear mom.  My mom loved roses too.  Linda in Washington state  

  2. I am sorry for the lost of your mum. But your right; it's just goodbye for now. What wonderful, beauiful memories you have of her.

  3. John, this was beautiful!! I enjoyed reading about your mom; she sounds like a wonderful woman!!! I didn't realize you were adopted, both my kids are too :)

    your mom sounded very wise and full of strength! I just feel so bad that she had to experience that episode with the doctor with her tonsillectomy; that doesn't sound like good medicine at all

    I hope in time you share more memories of your mom, it does help to write them down; I think it was a wonderful memorial to her that you and Krissy planted that rose bush in her honor


  4. It was nice to get to know your mom a little.

  5. John how touching that you and Krissy planted the yellow rose in honor and love of your Mom.  The bottom line is that your Mom loved you with all her heart and that is truly special.  My Mom has been gone for 37 years and not a day goes by that I don't think of her, love her and wish I could reach out and hug her, you were blessed to have your Mom for many years. Yes every Mom is indeed unique aren't they, glad you have a lot of nice memories of her. Arlene (AJ)  

  6. (((((((((((John)))))))))))))lovely tribute. Great idea about the yellow rose bush on the patio. Something tells me you were a son to be very proud of! Love, Deb ;-)

  7.     I'm very sorry to hear about your Mother's passing. My Mother died of Parkinson's Disease as well. She had severe arthritis. I don't ever think I can remember my Mom getting out of a chair or sofa without a struggle. She was a very kind person. A lot of people remembered her kindness when she passed, and that in itself made it easier to accept. I knew where she was. For the last four or five years, I've hung bags of flowers on either side of our garage. One is for my Mom, and the other is for Bill's Mom. I got a little carried away here, but still, I know exactly where you are at. The late stages of Parkinson is very hard to watch. You have my heart and my prayers.

  8. Enjoyed reading about such a special woman!  As to the tonsillectomy: Actually, I think that was pretty much standard practice in the 30's or 40's.  My own mom described to me how she sat on the table in the doctor's office and he snipped out her tonsils.  My mom would have been 86 now if she had of lived.  -  Barbara

  9. Beautiful, John!  I wanted to hear more about your mom!  Shame on that doctor, wow.  This is so well written.  I loved reading it.  Maybe you can tell us more someday.  I hope this helped your grief in someway.  Love, Val xox

  10. your mother sounded special for sure, john.  in fact, she reminds me of my mother, who i lost 35 years ago when i was 19.  my mother was terrified of dentists and doctors, and when she finally allowed my father to take her to the hospital, she passed away 3 days later.

    hold onto the fond memories of those who have passed on.  they are more precious than gold.