Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

Greetings, readers. This is an emotional day for me. I lost my mom thirteen years ago this afternoon, June 15, 2003. It was Father’s Day, and Pop was having an unusually happy Father’s Day. He liked the gift I got him, and we were looking forward to a special dinner. Mom had sent me to the store to pick up an item that she had forgotten. I got the item, had a quick cup of coffee at the coffee stand, and when I got back she was gone. My mom was my dad’s primary caregiver, and after discovering her, I had to go and wreck his world.

My mother and I were joined at the hip. After years upon years of having things done for me and having my life made easy, I was now the one who had to help Pop and take over other responsibilities in the house. I was only 37 years old, relatively young to lose my mother, and I faced more years without her than with her.

I was indeed able to grow up that summer and I got a lot done, including helping Dad arrange home care and getting myself to Maine for the annual vacation at Bear Spring Camps. I was able to keep the same cabin and do all the same things that Mom and I would do. There was also a touching porch party in her honor which everyone who was in camp came to; only two people had prior commitments.

My mom was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1923. We moved from Pittsburgh to State College, Pennsylvania when I was three years old. Mom, a psychologist, had her private practice downtown in an office over a bank. Many a summer afternoon I spent in our car listening to the radio waiting for her to come down from work at 3:00. It quickly became a ritual. Sometimes on a Friday afternoon we would go to Burger King for milkshakes. I would usually get strawberry and she would get vanilla, her favorite flavor.

My mom was extremely independent and organized almost to a fault. Every evening she would have the preparations laid for the morning breakfast, so that all she had to do was turn on the tea kettle and oatmeal would be ready in minutes.

One thing I didn’t like about my mom was that she despised doctors and would never go to them. She died of congestive heart failure from smoking. If she had been on medication and under a doctor’s care there is a chance that she could have lived a few more years. But she did things her way and she chose how she lived her life.

One of my fondest memories of my mom was the song we shared from Percy Faith called “Theme from A Summer Place.” Back in the 1970s there was an easy listening radio station in Waterville, Maine. Every summer going back to camp for the evening, Mom would turn on that station and at least two or three times during those two weeks we would hear that beloved song. I currently have that song on a Spotify music playlist, and I listened to it this afternoon in her honor. I know, I know, I am just sentimental that way.

Mom, I said it the day you died and I’ll say it again. Thank you for being the best mom in the world.

Here is a picture of my Mom, which we photographed in the frame, since we could not get it out without risking damage to the picture. It might be a little grainy, but you can certainly see her.

Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.
Picture of a picture of Mom from the 1990s, as far as I can guess on the year.

Another short week for us, so if there is no blog entry tomorrow, I’ll try to put one up on the weekend. Until soonest, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

6 thoughts on “Thirteen years ago today my mom went to her eternal resting place

  1. Can’t believe it’s been that long. I still remember her running into town to the kennel to visit the dog after Bear Spring nixed pets. Remember the boat you had every year. Didn’t see him often, but remember your Dad too. Hoping to see you in August.


    1. Hi, Dan. Thanks for being a reader. This post obviously took a lot out of me, but I think it turned out very well. I can’t believe it has been 13 years also. It has gotten a little bit easier, but you never forget the day. I’ll see you at camp; can’t wait. 🙂 -Joe-


  2. My sympathy. This is bittersweet post. I am glad that you carry on! Happy summer! Synthia

    Synthia Sydnor, Ph.D. Assoc. Professor, Kinesiology & Community Health University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 225B Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave. Urbana IL 61801 USA


    1. Hi, Synthia. Thank you very much for your kind words. I did feel a little melancholy after the post was finished, but I thought it turned out well. People have been asking for a picture of mother to be put somewhere on the blog and we finally got that done. Thanks again for continuing to be a reader and do take care. -Joe-


  3. Great post, Joe. You are a fantastic storyteller. I had the pleasure of meeting your mother once just before my dissertation defense. Your parents took me to dinner, probably to calm me down about the next day! I was extremely jetlagged and probably barely able to make conversation but I remember your mom could not have been lovelier. I will bet that many of your dad’s students have similar stories, as it seemed to be the kind of classy ritual that they would be known for. Thanks for sharing your memories of your mom!


    1. Hi, Joy. Thank you for your kind words. I thought people would enjoy this blog entry about Mom on the anniversary of her passing. I will admit it took a lot out of me, but linking it to my Facebook page and the page of the place where we went on vacation (Bear Spring Camps) gave many people the opportunity to read it and enjoy it.
      I’m glad you were able to meet Mom. She was a lovely wonderful woman and not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Take care and have a good day. -Joe-


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