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Remembering Mom

My mom was a funny, brave, and beautiful woman, who was passionate about the beach, football and her family.

Mom was the youngest of 7 children, with an identical twin sister, Nan. They had a strong bond all of their lives that only twins can know.

Mom spent the majority of her adult life as a single parent and made lots of sacrifices for me and my brother, Dave. She worked 2 jobs for years to provide us with not only food and shelter, but also pool memberships and football uniforms to keep us out of trouble. Her decisions of where to live, who we got exposed to, and the non-negotiable expectation we both attend college, demonstrated her concern for our highest good.

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Mom was an executive secretary most of her working life, but I think her true calling was retail. After retiring, she worked at Von Maur, an upscale dept store and loved it because she got to dress up every day and put fabulous outfits together for her customers, which she was really good at. I benefited greatly from her discounts, first access to sales and free shipping!

Mom was not a member of the red hat society, but she should have been because she loved to dress up in bright colors—her favorite was red. Many of us wore red at her Memorial in her honor.

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Mom loved the outdoors, especially the beach. When I lived in Florida, she came every July and never quite forgave me for moving to Colorado. She just couldn’t understand how “casual” everyone was in Colorado compared to south Florida and why anyone would want to spend time in the mountains, so far away… from everything!

Mom was open to discussing all topics, and had strong opinions on most of them. When we talked on the phone, which was almost every day, she would give me (unsolicited) advice, on everything from my business to dating etiquette.

I remember one time right after a break-up, she told me, “Now Diane don’t wait too long to get involved again, at your age you might not get too many chances!” When I didn’t respond right away, she’d say, “Hello? Hello? Diane? Are you still there?”

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Mom was passionate about football and the only people she would rather watch play than Peyton Manning and her Colts were her two beloved grandsons, Zach and Matt. Quite expressive during any game, I know I am channeling her when I am yelling expletives at the players on TV!

Mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease just before her 70th birthday. Right after we found out why she felt so lousy for two years, we went on a cruise, her favorite vacation of all time.

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She bravely fought Parkinson’s for over 10 years, living independently as long as she could, and then moving to an extended care facility the last 3 years of her life. But even then, she didn’t give up, taking therapy to stay strong, getting her hair and nails done, wearing make-up, and always the meticulous dresser, carefully choosing her outfits every day. She was also an advocate for her roommates, always looking out for them when they couldn’t do it themselves.

I got many lovely sentiments from friends and family and wanted to share some of my favorites of how to remember Mom:

  • Wear a piece of her jewelry every day
  • Create a special space to display pictures, clothing, mementos
  • Write a gratitude letter to her
  • Tell stories about her or ask family members to tell theirs
  • Do something the two of you used to do together in her honor
  • Give yourself time and space to remember, reflect, and recover from losing the longest and most significant relationship of your life

Today I remember you Mom.

I love you, I miss you, and I am grateful your suffering is over.

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