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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Long Goodbye

Watching someone you love battle Parkinson's Disease
and old age in general is a heartbreaking thing.

Two weeks ago our Sweet Mum passed away.

Now we suffer through the pain and sadness from losing
her from our lives but at the same time we are happy she
 is no longer in pain.  Luckily, our kids got to come home
from college so they were able to say their last goodbye
to their beloved Grammie.  In the end, my sister and I 
cared for her like she was the child, we would tell her she
was our brave little girl and cheer for every spoonful of
food that she could eat.  We are happy that we could
make her final wish come true, she ended her days in 
her own little house, in her own little bed and she was
cared for by those that loved her.

So now it is time to try to focus on the happy memories.
In her final days we had a lot of time to reflect on the 
wonderful life she had lived.  Not always an easy life
but a life filled with love and happiness in whatever 
circumstance you were given.

The photo above was taken in 1924.  My Mum is in 
the baby stroller, at this point she was the youngest
with one more child to come. She would always talk
about her childhood in a happy way.  I think the younger
years, through the 20's, things were quite happy.

This photo was in 1936.  After the crash in 1929, the
world changed for so many people in our country and
for many of my Mum's friends.  Luckily, my grandparents
owned their home and my Pop Pop was an engineer for the
Pennsylvania Railroad, he had a job throughout the Great
Depression.  I can remember stories my Mum told of her 
friends at the time, many of their families were not so lucky,
many no longer had homes and had to move from apartment 
to apartment or their Dads left in search of work and other
Dads got sick and had to go live in sanitoriums to battle
TB in the days before antibiotics and vaccines.  Mum said
Nana would always have bread and butter or a sandwich
to give to the men that came knocking on the door looking
for food.  Times were tough but they made the best of it,
since the family could ride the train for free, Nana would
take the kids down to Asbury Park or Point Pleasant and 
they would spend the day at the beach and eat a picnic
meal that they brought from home to save money.

Mum went to St Mary's for grammar school and
then on to public school for high school.  She stayed
friends with many of her school friends for her entire

My Mum and Dad lived across the street from each other
but since my Dad's family had just recently moved there
they didn't know each other.  My Dad and my Uncle Bob
were on the same baseball team down the shore and got
to talking and realized they were from the same town and
then realized they lived just across the street from each 
other.  That is how they met, this photo shows them standing
on that street in front of the house where my Mum was born.

She graduated from high school in 1941 and by the
end of that year the US entered WWII and so many 
of the guys in her class went off to fight, as did my Dad.

Mum and her friends worked after high school and she
was a USO girl during the war.  

I think since this high school class lost so many of
their classmates in the war, those that remained took 
their class reunions very seriously.  Mum always was part
 of the planning committee up until she moved out of 
state.  She kept going to the reunions up until her 60th
which was just a few weeks after 9/11 had happened.
She flew into Newark airport and it was so confusing 
to get around due to all the new security that she said
that she wouldn't do that again.

After the war, Mum and Dad got married in a double
wedding ceremony with one of her sisters.  They had
my brother and sister early on and many years later
I came along.  We lived a happy life in our small town,
our aunts, uncles and cousins lived nearby and we had
a very close family relationship with everyone.  As we
grew older, Mum and Dad traveled more, they took
many trips including Hawaii, and Europe.  In those
days it was a big deal to travel to Europe, my Dad 
always wanted to take my Mum to Italy since he had
been stationed there in the war, so off they went.

After I got married, I moved to the Midwest.  In a
few years I had the Irish twins and my parents were
crazy in love with them.  My Dad wanted to move 
out to live near them but sadly he was ill and that
never got to happen.  Dad died 20 years ago and 
after a while Mum decided she didn't want only a 
few phone calls a week and only getting to see the
kids a few times a year, so she decided to move out 
here.  We had the luck of the Irish and the house 
behind us came up for sale and she bought it.
This picture was taken the first night Grammie was
starting her new life as a Midwesterner at Kate's dance
recital.  Our dreams had come true.

And it only got better from there.  We were able to spend
every holiday together, Mum could go to everything that 
the kids participated in, Saturday nights were always 
sleepover night at Grammie's until they left for college.
Sunday night dinners were at Gram's, Wednesday night
dinners were at our house, the kids were able to run over
and kiss Gram goodbye everyday before getting on the
school bus.  It was heaven...

So that is what we are trying to focus on now, holding
on to the good memories.  But we still miss her terribly...

So we beat on, boats against the current, 

borne back ceaselessly into the past.”


  1. What a beautiful life your mom had and the wonderful memories you have of her

  2. A beautiful tribute to your Mum. Hardest thing was losing my Mom.

  3. My deepest sympathy for your terrible loss. My grandfather died of Parkinson's about 10 years ago and we still miss him. He at least livedo 90 years in relatively good health before the disease kicked into overdrive.
    90 ye


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