Sunday, December 9, 2012

Losing My Mother


My mother lost her own mother when she was very young. I think she was around 7 years old and of course it affected her deeply. We all need to be nurtured when we are very young. My aunt Elizabeth looked exactly like my grandmother. My grandfather was handsome even after losing his hair and he had the best laugh I've ever heard. We all adored him. He remarried and we all loved Grandma too. I think this photo of my mother's parents is probably their wedding portrait April 12, 1914. 

The flowers in the lobby of the funeral home yesterday were very pretty and my mother would have loved them in real life.

I brought some of the special things she saved over the years to send away with her. A small book of poems with an inscription from my brother Tim dated 1970 with an old picture of him tucked inside. The saddest day in my mother's life was the day he died in 1978 after heart surgery. They had a mutual admiration society that surpassed the normal mother-son bond. I also included a book of poems dated 1974 inscribed from me.  I sent her away with the first Christmas card received this year from her friend Tom who still lives in her old condominium complex in Charlotte. I found an old mother's day card from me dated 2006, a picture of our pets, the leash she always used to walk Tabitha, three dog biscuits from Webster, and some chocolate-covered raisins. She never failed to comment about how much she loved these treats covered with her favorite confection. The lipstick kiss on her forehead is from me too.
I helped load her in the small black van that didn't look at all like a mortuary vehicle. I rode up front with the driver and asked him if we could stop by the cottage on our way to the appointment in Basking Ridge and he complied. I wanted her to leave from home.
I chose cremation because the body doesn't have to be embalmed if it's done within 48 hours and there is no public viewing. She wore a flannel black-watch plaid dress that she always favored and she looked like a real sleeping beauty. 
After stopping in the driveway at the cottage we went to the place and I was with her all the way until the end. I'll scatter her ashes in special places up here and down south in the spring.
My sincere appreciation to all of you who have taken the time to walk with me down this last path with my mother. You will never know how much comfort your wonderful condolences have given me even though we are virtual friends. I hope I will continue to inspire you as you have inspired me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

No, I must disagree, sweet Rosemary! It is we who thank YOU for inviting us into your heart at this time of tender loss and for your reflections . . . all given to us with remarkable clarity and with overwhelming generosity. Cherishing all that you have shared with us.
Linda

Kate I said...

What a sad and difficult day this was for you Rosemary. You have loved and honoured your mother so well through this process and I'm sure that now, she is with you....loving and supporting you.

Huge hugs, Kate

Anonymous said...

Dear Rosemary,
Sending my deepest sympathy, love and comfort to you. Your expressions of love for your sweet Mother have moved me deeply. I liked your use of the word departed ~ my own sweet Mother departed this earth right into the arms of Jesus in Feb. I'm praying our Mothers will meet will strolling in the beautiful gardens.
Thank you for sharing your life with us. May the peace and comfort of JESUS be with you each moment.
Heavenly blessings from the hills of Idaho, Cathy

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Dear Rosemary
May I offer you my sincere condolences - I'm so sorry.

I've read through your last few posts and learnt what a special relationship you both shared - more than mother and daughter.

You have made a wonderful tribute to her and I can feel she is here with you in spirit.

I found losing my mother was the hardest thing in my life - she was 89, we had become so close.
I didn't want to let her go.

Take care and I hope you you find comfort in all those beautiful memories you've told us about.
I wish I could give you a warm hug in person, but please know you're very much in my thoughts during this difficult part of your journey through life.

Love and prayers for you
Shane xox

The Queen Vee said...

I agree with Linda! Thank you for sharing your cottage, your interests, your pets, your dear mother and recently your challenges, sorrows and deepest feelings. They are precious and sacred to you and I'm so touched and honored by your generosity to willingly share all with us your virtual friends.

What a beautiful and perfect send off you have given your dear mum; I love all the special tokens of love that you included in this her final earthly journey. I too love chocolate covered raisins and I'm hoping there will be a jar of them waiting for me in the next life.

The loss of a mother at a young age and a mother of child, those are difficult heart wrenching losses. I've experienced both, Anna and I have a lot in common.

Now dear friend, do be kind to yourself as you move forward. There will continue to be days of mourning and a sense of loss but time will soften the edges on those feelings. You've done your mother proud Rosemary, may you feel peace, love and strength in the coming days.

Dear Anna may you rest in peace.

LANA said...

No mother could ask for a more elegant and touching send-off. I am sure your mom has seen it all and is very pleased. Now you must give yourself the same loving attention while you grieve and heal. And if you need to talk, we are here for you.

tammy j said...

oh my goodness rosemary.
i barely have words. tears shining.
this was one of the most personal and beautiful tributes and goodbye rituals i've ever known.
you are a special, special person ~
as was your beloved anna.
thank you for even thinking of us at this saddest time. we do love you.
tammy j

Juniper said...


How brave you are being Rosemary and what a dignified for your mother to be treat, leaving from Home, I love that you stopped there. <3 What a beautiful send off you gave your wonderful mother... she does indeed look like a sleeping Beauty. May her journey be peaceful, as you've given her a thoughtful and heartfelt going away, I am sure she knows and appreciates it immensely where she is... <3 Please look after yourself today and for the coming months... I am thinking about you every day. Give Webster an extra hug and kiss, Tabitha too...

xoxo

Dmitrko said...

Please accept my sincere condolences.

ladyhawthorne said...

I can only hope to fall asleep in the Lord in such a peaceful way with as much love as you have given.

Jeanne said...

Beautifully shared. My deepest condolences.

Barbara said...

Dear Rosemary, daughter of Anna, The more you tell your mother's story, the more touched and amazed I am at her nobility. She was a gentlewoman. What a lovely reverence she had for life. You received it from her and it flows from you here and in other ways. Your gentle ceremony of sending your mother's spirit off with the reminders of all that was dearest to her heart is unbearably beautiful. Thank you so much for writing it to share. It is so full of love, just pure love, all that is most important.
Barbara

Anonymous said...

I usually just lurk but your sweet mother really touched my heart. I loved the pictures of her when you posted them, she looked so serene and lovely. I pray great comfort for you. Terri

Judy said...

Oh, Rosemary, tears are flowing after reading this. You did a splendid job in all you did for Anna. I wish I could have been there for you!

I love the picture of her parents. You are right your Aunt Elizabeth looked like her grandmother and you know how much I loved Uncle Preston. Was glad to see this picture - he was a very handsome young man. He always had a sparkle in his eye! Your Mother had some difficult losses in her life, but she was always quite a lady!

Take care and remember you have family here in SC.

laney said...

...when you close your eyes tonight...my prayers...will be with you...and they will be there waiting for you in the morning...blessings laney

Lulu said...

My deepest symphathy at the loss of your mom. I'm sure she is very proud of how you said goodbye. Thank you for sharing...the photo of your 'kiss' is truly moving and special.

Vicki said...

What can I say that all the others here, that hold you so dear, haven't?

Dearest Anna. So beautiful, so loved.

Deep blessings to you dear Rosemary and warm, invisible, heartfelt hugs to wrap around you in this, your saddest of times. xxx

Robin@DecoratingTennisGirl said...

Thank you so much for letting us share in your time of grief for you wonderful Mother. Our blogging friends are such a wonderful group of support. I love all the things you put with you Mother. So sweet, Rosemary.
xoxo

Anonymous said...

Dear Rosemary,

Sending hugs and lots of blessings your way. Stay strong and know that you were the best daughter ever.
Stella

Dewena Callis said...

Rosemary, I am so sorry for your hurt but so blessed by the way you have walked faithfully through your mother's time on earth when she needed you to care for her. And you did it through the very end, and beyond by tending her memory.

Bonnie Schulte said...

What a very beautiful final journey. True love never ends

Maureen Sullivan Stemberg, Interiors said...

Dear Rosemary,

I am so sorry to learn of your mother's passing. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I know how much she loved you and you gave that love right back to your mother.

Blessings, Maureen

westernreservebutlerspantry said...

It seems to me your mother had a very special bond with both her children. It's going to take some time adjusting to the hole in your heart. It reminds me when my friend's sweet mother died the first thing she said to me was...I was so blessed to have her as my mother. Blessed indeed.

I feel so sad hearing that your mother had to experience the loss of a child. Life is tough and beautiful.

Peace,
Kathy

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry.
You are a very special person. After all you're your mother's daughter. May special blessings follow you in the coming days.

Anonymous said...

How blessed your beautiful mother was to have had your tender, solicitous care;what a great comfort you must have been to her. I have been touched and moved by your courage, dignity, and grace in meeting this difficult challenge. You will remain in my thoughts, and I hope there will be abundant support and many blessings in your life to help ease your aching heart.
In deepest sympathy,
Linda

Sharon Hermens said...

A huge lump In my throat. What a sweet sending. You are a wonderful daughter to your sweet mother. I love the kiss on her forehead.

Anonymous said...

I may be a virtual friend, but I shed genuine tears. Thanks you for sharing.

Karen said...

So sorry it was time to say goodbye, yet know you are grateful she is not suffering. You were a loving daughter. Lost my dad who lived with us this year and have walked in similar circumstances. Thank you for providing cheer and distractions in many of my own difficult days and nights. Try to sleep its hard after being on constant call.

Millie said...

What a truly beautiful 'Send Off' for Anna, simple & loving, just as she lived her life. All the treasures you tucked in with her were perfect Rosemary & your last kiss touched me deeply. This past weekend I have thought so much about losing my own precious Mum. I was only 32 & she a very young 64. Like your own Mum, we were both far too young to be parted from each other & I have missed her desperately.
I hope the week ahead offers you space to grieve & also to reflect on the future. Your blog is such a warm & welcoming place for so many visit, I hope you can continue to find it a haven for your wonderful creativity.
Millie xx

Garden, Home and Party said...

Rosemary,
What a lovely memorial you set for your mom. Every detail was thoughtful and I'm sure your mom is so appreciative.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful images and now your personal story. We may only be virtual friends but I feel happy to know you.
May you have a peaceful week.
Karen

MoiCLouLou said...

Hello Rosemary,

don't comment your blog often but I visit it from time to time.
I've just read this post and I have to say it really touched me.
I want to offer you my deepest condolences for the lost of you mother. What you did inspires me very much and I really think it is a nice way to say goodbye.

Take care of you,
Louise

Anonymous said...

Rosemary,
I too lost a son at age 30 so I know your Mothers pain.
How beautifully you cared for her and saw your duty through to the end. Rare these days.
Bless you and thanks for sharing with us.
Sky

Gail, in northern California said...

Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I'm one of those who just stands around, wringing their hands, not knowing what to say. So forgive the mumbling. I wish I had the perfect words to ease your sorrow.

SuSu said...

Dear Rosemary:
I lost my mother 18 months ago and it is a pain unlike any other. I still want to call her and tell her funny things and send clippings from the paper that she would find interesting, etc. You will go through all of this and more, unfortunately with great pain. Then it becomes just another part of your life...and one that will always remind you of her and all that you shared and it will make you happy...really, it does! It is our human way of coping with such a loss and I do know that she is with my father and they are both in the arms of God. And I find great peace in that knowledge. Your mother has also been taken in the arms of God and I hope you can also find peace in that knowledge.

You posts have moved me deeply and I thank you for your generous heart, cultivated by Anna, that has allowed you to share so much. Your beautiful words will help others that will inevitably suffer the same sad experience and guide them to a happier place.

Susan

@coolgreenpines (Maria) said...

Others have said it already and I agree: we indeed feel honored to have taken this journey with you. And I hope it doesn't sound trite when I say I believe not a better goodbye could be had as the one you've given to your mother. When I go I hope it's done the way I want (like your mother) and done with the same level of attention, care and adoration. She is truly smiling. How can she not be?

Unknown said...

Dear Rosemary,
You've given your Mom the best, final gift which is a loving farewell from this earthly life. I am sure she loved you very much and treasured her final years with you and the critters in your beautiful cottage. Sincere condolences.

Penny said...

Stopping by the Cottage has always been a bright spot and especially so when my Mother passed away 3 years ago. Your posts were always so timely to what I was needing. I sincerely hope we readers are a comfort for you. Exhale and take your time.You,Webster,and Tabitha deserve it.

lizaanne said...

I am so very for your loss - mothers are so very precious and special. May she rest in peace for eternity.

I've been a long time visitor to your blog, and I've told so many that it is simply the most beautiful on the internet. So many times you have truly brought me joy and made me smile when I really needed it most.

Savannah Sue said...

My heart goes out to you on the loss of your dear Mom. My closest friends just lost their own Mom yesterday at the age of 99. I feel lucky to still have mine with me although she is 2300 miles away and I miss her terribly. May you be blessed with all the wonderful memories you have of her and the sense of comfort that she will be with you always..Bless you Rosemary..

balsamfir said...

My deepest sympathy for your loss. Your mother must have known what a wonderful daughter she had and how much you will miss her. As with others, thank you for sharing this time and honoring your mother through the blog. I hope it helps with your grief, as it helps us to come to your cottage for a vision of a peaceful home.

Jeff said...

So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your last moments with your mother in such a personal way. Peace to you and sending up good thoughts into the Universe for both you and your mother. All the best.

Karen said...

I love the final kiss. So tender and precious and perfect. Thank you for sharing this most poignant moment of your life with us. It is so hard to say goodbye to those we love so deeply. I believe there will be a glorious reunion ahead. Praying for comfort for you, dear Rosemary.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way to honor your beloved mother. Your words touched me deeply. I am truly sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Lorraine P.

Yvette said...

I'm just reading this now, Rosemary. I'd like to add my belated condolences to you and your family. It sounds as if your mom would have been pleased with everything you did, the care you took. It's never easy losing your mom even if we aren't quite young anymore. No matter what it always comes as a surprise.

My mother too lost her own mother when she was very young and never really got over it.

I lost my mother four years ago but I never got to the funeral. I was in the hospital getting a radical mastectomy. Needless to say, it was not an easy time for any of us. Four years later I still miss my mom every single day. Though she lived almost to 89 and I'm no spring chicken.

God Bless you Rosemary and take care.

N from Va said...

Rosemary,

I love you blog but rarely write. I read your earlier post about your mother's death and now this one.

Please know my thoughts are with especially as this is holiday time and already a sensitive and poignant time of the year (dark and quiet and sometimes sad and lonely).

Am sending you warm wishes and many many thanks for the beautiful images and pithy sayings you share.

N from Va

Hartwood Roses said...

Thank you so much for taking us along with you, and sharing your final ride with your mother. How sweet, and poignant. I'm sending hugs for you.