Sunday, November 30, 2008

Remembering Mom

We recently found a great donut store near our home. One Sunday morning a few weeks ago, I drove Sam to this store and we brought home some donuts to enjoy with our new little family. The donuts lasted into the week, and one morning I brought one to work and enjoyed it about mid-morning with a cup of coffee. In an instant, it took me back to childhood and Saturday nights. My mom used to make homemade donuts on Saturday evenings. They were for our family to enjoy Sunday mornings before church, but my dad and I would routinely steal a few on Saturday night and eat them with a cup of coffee while watching the original home improvement show “This Old House”. I can’t imagine how a 5 year old can enjoy coffee, but I did. I liked to dunk the donut in the coffee and then eat it. Every time I taste that combined flavor of donuts and coffee, it takes me back to that memory.

Today is the 26th anniversary of her passing. I was eight years old, in 3rd grade. It was a shock. A non-smoker with lung cancer. I remember she had ear aches over the summer, then eventually went to a doctor in September, just after school started. She was diagnosed at a local hospital and then came home for a weekend. We took a few photos that weekend, otherwise I might not remember it all these years later. But I remember reading a book to my mom, some patriotic book that had to be summarized in a book report due that Monday. That was the last weekend she was home. On Monday, she went to St. Louis and spent her remaining weeks in the Intensive Care Unit at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center. My dad visited her most every evening after work. My 3 sisters and I visited as much as possible, probably 3 or 4 times a week. There wasn’t much we could do during our visits. She was hooked up to all sorts of machines, with breathing and feeding tubes preventing her from talking to us. We would write short notes to her on pieces of scrap paper. I remember taking a warm, damp washcloth and washing her feet. What pain she must have felt as a mother, seeing the 4 of us there and undoubtedly knowing that she wouldn’t see us grow up. Early on the morning of November 30, 1982, I remember hearing the phone ring and running into the darkness of my parents’ bedroom. My dad was up and getting dressed, telling me to go back to sleep. Later that day when we arrived home on the school bus, our pastor ‘Brother Ed’ was waiting in our family room with my dad. He told us the sad news and my sisters cried. I remember not knowing how to react, just feeling numb. The funeral was a few days later, our home church packed with family and friends. At one point during the funeral, I looked up to my dad and saw a tear roll down his face. It’s one of the rare times in my life I’ve seen him cry.

Our family doesn’t talk much about my mom. It’s painful to talk about. When we have talked, I’m often surprised how they remember things that I don’t. I’m hoping my sisters and other family who read the blog might be inspired to type a few comments with their memories. Or if you've lost someone close to you, feel free to share some memories of them too.

We miss you Mom. You’d be proud of us – and your grandkids. I can’t wait for you to meet them someday.


annie said...

Robbie, what a nice blog. Unfortunately I don't remember much. I rely on you 3 for that. I wish we had talked about it more, so that my memories were better. Maybe we can make donuts at Christmas in honor of Mom :)


nbolduc said...

Thanks, Rob... what a wonderful blog, it brought back memories for me, too. We do all remember different things. Here's a funny one --- I was just talking at Halloween about how Mom made three witch costumes for you, Susan and me! Oh, you can say that you were a warlock, but you KNOW it was a witch costume! Remember that? I will have to bring my album home for Christmas, there are some great pictures that we can share and remember with Susan and Annie... Love you!

Tara said...

Rob, what a nice entry. Although I can't share in the memories of your mom I do enjoy hearing about her. It's kind of weird, when you all talk about her I sort of feel like I knew her. I have always felt like she is part of my big blended family.

I have often wondered if you guys were able to fully grieve your mom's death since you were so young. I hope you never feel awkward talking about her around all of us. You shouldn't, she's your mom and part of who you are.

I have always marveled at how much we have all collectively gone through as individual family members, yet as a family we are still so amazingly close. Many families wouldn't be as close as we are if they had gone through all we have. I think it's a testament to what great people we all are! And what a great job all of our parents did in raising us.


Susan said...

Okay, I'm finally leaving a comment on the blog. Yes, this was so nice, and I have tears rolling down my face as I read this. This was my exact memory of her last days...the phone call and everything. I have always remembered Nov. 30th, and her funeral was Dec. 3rd. I remember Dad sitting me down to tell me before she died that she wasn't going to make it. And he did cry. It was such a hard time in our lives. It has been goodbye for a long time, but never forgotten. Someday we will see mom again.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post Rob. My Mom is still with us but my Dad died of lung cancer in 2001. Hardly a day goes by that I don't think of him and miss him. I'm sad that he's not here to see Emily grow up. She was 6 when he passed and her memories are few. Like you I know that he is in heaven and someday I will see him again.

Steven Chappell said...


What a touching and heartfelt blog. Having just lost my Mom last month and my Dad a little over a year ago, this reading brought floods of memories back to me. It's difficult to put them into words just yet. Clearly, as with you, it will take time to be able to express a lot of those feelings, and even then, it may not be so easy to do so.


Doug said...

Rob.. this post breaks my heart... and encourages me greatly. Your final line, "I can’t wait for you to meet them someday." tells me all kinds of things about your mom, and what she instilled in you. It also tells me a lot about how you lead your family.... keep living loud!