May 10, 2015, Prescott- She is the eighth of nine children, born to a German-American shoemaker/farmer and a proper English-American country wife. She loved and married a gregarious, gentle man, of French, Irish and Penobscot descent, and together they raised five of us. My youngest brother and I, the eldest, had our mental health challenges, his being complicated by other health issues, which took his life, when he was just shy of 30. Our third brother, following Mom’s example of dealing with adversity, has toughed his health issues out, as I have my mental health issues, in my latest years. Our sister rose above a life-threatening injury and has raised an exemplary family. Our second brother has worked tirelessly, all his life, and shown the way to success, on many levels, seeking no one’s approval more than that of our mother.
She has said, time and again, that the time to pay homage to a person is while they are still alive. My late wife used to echo those words. In honour of both, I pay as much to my mom. Having overcome her own health issues, which came late in life, she still drives, socializes actively and gets her exercise. While Mom shies away from any technology more complex than a flat-screen television, she keeps current in other ways. Always a progressive, politically, she speaks favourably of marriage equality and hopes to see Hillary in the White House. That she raised three Republicans and a political gadfly (me) doesn’t faze her a bit. She loves golf, preferring these days to watch it on TV, and no one is more loyal to the Red Sox and the Patriots. Her flower gardens used to be the toast of the neighbourhood. They’ve pretty much gone away, but the lawn is still kept up- with local kids taking up the slack. Above all, Mother’s mind is still a steel trap, and her eyes are eagle-sharp, after Lasik about five years ago.
I was raised lovingly and well, as were my siblings. Mom set the example, in her single-minded care of my youngest brother, even in her darkest hour, following Dad’s sudden death in 1986. ONLY because of her, and for her, did Brian hang on as long as he did, another eight years. When I had the responsibility of caring for my slowly-dying wife, from 2003 to 2011, all Mom had done on his behalf was mine to follow. It couldn’t have been any other way.
So, with all that she has given us, to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I love and thank her, eternally.