Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Now There's a Little More Slaw in the World For the Rest of Us

It is with heavy heart this evening that I inform you that my mother passed away this morning.

We were not expecting it, but we are comforted by thoughts and prayers of those around us, and the fact that Mom is at peace, and no longer facing any tooth-pulling, radiation, or surgery. She had a wonderful 80 years, and only fell upon ill health in the last ten weeks.

My sister the ex-mayor's wife was taking Mom to the dentist today, to see about some teeth that her radiation specialist said were still in the way of her standard treatment for the squamous cell carcinoma she had removed from her cheek in November. Sis had asked the nursing home, where Mom was undergoing her rehab since her seizure in November, to have her up and done with breakfast by 8:30 so she could pick Mom up for the appointment. The staff called Sis at 8:00 and told her that they had found Mom unresponsive in her chair, and they were calling the ambulance to take her the three blocks to the hospital.

That was like Mom, to sit down to watch TV, and nod off to sleep in the recliner. The doctors don't know if she had a seizure, a blood clot, a stroke, a heart attack, or complications from the meningioma they found in her head just before her skin surgery. All they can say is that she did not suffer, and she did not know what was happening. We know that the nursing home staff, the ambulance crew, and the hospital team did all they could to revive her. Mom appeared serene and untroubled in the final moments we spent with her.

I was fortunate last week to spend five evenings with Mom. Thursday we had perhaps the best visit since her unfortunate incarceration stint in the hospital and rehab. She was clear-headed and pleasantly surprised to see me, since I had originally told her I would not be able to make it that evening, due to The Pony's Scholar Bowl schedule. We talked about some old times, and we drank ourselves some beers...WAIT! No we didn't. That was Paul Simon. And just like wine and heroin are not offered to patients in a hospital, contrary to my old pulmonary embolism roommate's beliefs...beers are not allowed in nursing homes. Besides, Mom only indulged about once a summer, when my dad was alive, while watching a Cardinals game on TV, when Dad would holler down from the kitchen, "Want to split a cold one?"

But seriously, Mom and I really had a good chat Thursday evening. She tilted her head back and laughed out loud, like I hadn't seen her do in quite a few weeks. She leaned forward and listened intently to my inane stories of my work life, and asked pertinent questions without forgetting any details. Sis, who was able to visit every day, said that Mom DID seem more animated on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For which I took full credit, though Sis declared that my evening visits must have been what put Mom in a less-than-ideal state of mind on Wednesdays and Fridays. In all actuality, it probably had something to do with her medicine dosing. All I know is that Mom would perk up when The Pony was with me, or when her great-granddaughter's name or Genius was mentioned.

I'm not meaning to be flippant. Mom appreciated my sense of humor. She always said I was just like my dad. Now she's with him, and not alone in that big house anymore. No more worries about the snow in her driveway, or the man across the road spying on her, or her mail lady taking cards meant for Mom, or those checkers out at Save A Lot gypping her on her slaw.

So tonight, or tomorrow, or the next time you strap on the old feedbag...lift a spoonful of slaw to celebrate her life and her passing.

I love you, Mom. I will forever be your Five Dollar Daughter, and fondly remember that time you thought I was a Ten.


  1. Through out your humor, I sensed or was fearful that your mom was more ill than you let on. I am very sad to read this, your mom reminded me in many ways of my own. My favorite line in "Driving Miss Daisy" always made me think of my mom, I suspect it also fits yours,

    "You're a Doodle Momma!"

  2. Val--I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    I had the pleasure of meeting your mom once (I paid the extra fee so I could stalk her during my tour) and she was quite a lady. It sounds like she lived for her gravy--her grandkids--and lived life on her terms.

    Holes in her sweatpants. Paying her way. Leaving the best way possible.

    I'm not an eater of the conventional slaw, but the next time I make Chinese slaw, I'll lift a forkful to your mom.

    Again, my condolences...

  3. I'm SO sorry for your loss. I'm sure your mom would have appreciated this post in tribute to her!!

  4. Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. I've so enjoyed your stories about her and feel like I knew her. My dad passed away in much the same way seven years ago today, and the pain was tremendous, but I hope your pain recedes to be replaced by all the wonderful memories you shared with her. You'll be in my thoughts today and I know I'll think of your mother every time I eat slaw. I also know your mother left us knowing that you were a million dollar daughter. Take care.

  5. What a lady. And that goes for both of you. Her for her smooth exit and to you for all the care and love and time you gave in her behalf. We can never give back all the hours our mom gives us but it sounds like your mom raised you right and taught you how to share and think of others. Bless her. Bless you. My sincere sympathies.

  6. My condolences to you and your family. I always enjoy reading about your mom and family. My mom passed away unexpectedly two years ago on 2/7.

    I'm glad to have found your alter ego blog.
    Best wishes for you and your family!

  7. joeh,
    Yes, Mom was a Doodle. But not a doodle like Bart Simpson's in The Simpson's Movie.

    Thank you. As I remember, you were even IN MOM'S DRIVEWAY. I hope that guy across the road wasn't watching you.

    Thank you. I know Mom would have appreciated it. Just like the one about her thinking the Partners in Crime article she read was about women committing crimes so they would have plots to write.

    Thank you. It was such a shock. I appreciate your kind words and your re-valuing of my daughterdom.

    Thank you. Mom gave me a caviar raisin', but I kind of grew up to be a fish stick. She was still proud of me.

    Thank you. A visit with Mom always left me with a wealth of material.

    My alternate identity doesn't try to hold in the crazy as much as I do here. I'm forever chugging down that track towards Inappropriateville.

  8. My sincerest sympathy to you and your family. It hurts. I know.

    1. Thank you. I know it will take a while. The sadness comes and goes.

  9. I am so sorry to hear about your mother's passing. The fact that you argue over who cheered her the most speaks volumes. Sending best to your family.

  10. Thank you. Sis and I have a friendly rivalry. After the funeral, we tussled over who got the plants. Neither of us really wanted them too much, because we are not good with plants...but still. Neither of us was going down without equal plants. I DO think that her punching me in the arm three times was a bit uncalled for...

  11. I am so sorry for your loss. You all seemed so close in your stories. I know you will all miss her very much, she was very much ingrained in your every day lives. I lost my Mom when she was 52, it has 16 years. I think of her every single day, mostly good thoughts! But sometimes some stinky ones sneak in and those are okay too.

    1. Yes, I'll be thinking of her every day for a long time. If it snows, I'll want to rush out to her house and park in her driveway. Just to show her I can!