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Saying Goodbye to Mom

Mom in 1948

Mom in 1948


She was married four times. She left our home when I was 15 years old. She was my mother and I loved her dearly.

I lost my mom on July 6 of 2014. She was 79 and truthfully, her death was a blessing. She had a massive stroke in Feb of 2013 and after a lengthy stint in rehab was only well enough for nursing home care. Mom would never go home again. It was hard to accept.

My life was changed. Living thousands of miles and an ocean away, I felt tremendous guilt I couldn’t be there to take care of mom or help my brothers with any of mom's affairs.

I’m not ashamed to admit I’m glad mom wasn’t totally aware of what was happening. If she had realized the topsy-turvy world she’d landed in I know she would have been very, very angry and sad.

Wasn't She Lovely?

Mom at 26

Mom at 26

She Loved to Bowl

Bowling was like ballet to mom. Watching her bowl was like watching a graceful dancer.

Bowling was like ballet to mom. Watching her bowl was like watching a graceful dancer.

When I was very little and in particular during my early teen years, I was in awe of my mother. She was feminine and masculine at the same time and seemed to be almost magnetic. At 5'10" at an early age, I felt like a clod hopper compared to her.

Mom was my example of what a woman was supposed to be and then when I turned 15 she was gone from our lives for a period in time. I felt lost.

And life goes on as it does..... and I grew up and became a wife and mother myself. Mom was always a part of my life as much as she could be. With maturity came understanding and a renewed relationship which I felt was even stronger than before.

She Loved to Fish

Mom was 68 in this photo; she could still out fish most. :)

Mom was 68 in this photo; she could still out fish most. :)

I was able to fly home twice during mom’s illness and spent as much time as possible visiting with her. Mom was very confused. She thought she was in her 40s and didn’t understand how my brothers and I could have suddenly become older than her.

Approximately six weeks after I last saw her, I got a phone call from my older brother. He said mom was dying. I wasn’t able to get home fast enough to hold her hand once more and tell her I loved her though in my heart I had already said goodbye. She wasn’t alone when she died and I’m so grateful to my family for being there.

My Wabi-Sabi Mom

The pastor who spoke at mom’s service asked each of us to write memories of mom. In my words:

Life with mom was always pretty intense, whether it was high times or low times. Because of this my memories don’t contain a lot of the usual things people may think of when you mention moms because (and I am very proud to say this) she wasn’t your typical mom.

When I was six years old I got mad at mom for something and told her I was running away. I knew my absence would make her sad and I was so mad at her. Mom simply said “okay” and told me to “be sure and pack a suitcase.”

I didn’t have a suitcase so I improvised. I took out the bottom drawer of my chest of drawers, threw a few things out because it was a bit heavy and lugged the half full drawer through the kitchen and past my mom. She said goodbye to me as she opened the screen door to help me out. I pretended not to hear her.

Mom didn’t try to stop me though I kept waiting for her to do just that. I made it to the end of the block and decided to rest and sulk under the neighbor’s tree. I don’t know why, but in my six year old mind, I was pretty sure mom couldn’t see me even though I could see her. I just knew in a bit she’d be frantic and they would send a posse out to find me.

I was wrong; I sat under that tree all afternoon. It was getting close to supper time. When I finally realized no one was looking for me (though my younger brother now claims the family was looking hard for the missing drawer!) I picked up my makeshift suitcase and went back home.

The whole family was sitting at the kitchen table eating. Mom didn’t scold me. Nobody asked where I’d been. Mom didn’t reward me for my theatrics and she didn’t coddle me either. That day she just let me “do my thing” and figure it out. It made me stronger. Because of this wonderful woman that I was so fortunate to have been loved by, I learned at an early age not to be afraid to try a different way.

I’ve spent my life doing things just a little differently and I can’t imagine any other way. I’m so thankful for a mom who was ALWAYS there for me when it counted.

The Japanese revere beautiful things which are imperfect. In the Japanese culture, the crack in a beautiful bowl, the imperfection, this character flaw if you will, makes it more valuable. They have a term for this, wabi-sabi, and I think this description fits mom. She was my beautiful, imperfect wabi-sabi mom. She was priceless to me and to anyone who was lucky enough to know and love her.

Mom Gave the Best Hugs

Mom with one of her great grand daughters.

Mom with one of her great grand daughters.

I see your strong hands in this picture and I remember how wonderful your hugs felt. Thank you for always being there when it counted, mom. I love you so!

Thank you for taking the time to read about mom.

Melinda Bogle on May 17, 2017:

I thought your mom was beautiful! I still remember coming to your house once in a while and seeing her.

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on January 30, 2017:

Love you too!

Ginia Oehlschlager on January 29, 2017:

Loved this! Miss her dearly and treasure her imprint on my life and my kids' lives. Perfectly imperfect. Love you, Aunt Pam!!!

Robert Morgan from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert AZ on July 14, 2015:

What a beautiful memorial to your mom... God bless you.

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on March 01, 2015:

I'm so sorry, Kristen. It's never easy to say goodbye. :(

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 25, 2015:

Pam, this was beautiful. I lost my mother, almost a year ago, two weeks from yesterday. She suffered a massive heart attack and was in ICU for a few days. Due to insufficient brain damage, my brother took her off life support, after we said her goodbyes with the local priest to gave her last rites. We honored her wishes and scattered her ashes, twice, last year. She suffered from smoke-related maladies and was sick for a year with COPD, Emphysema, and CHF, before she died.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on October 20, 2014:

Wonderful piece about mothers.

I sometimes can just feel my mom near me if only in her own dimension. I cannot wait to see her and sometimes I want to hurr up the process of going.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on October 20, 2014:

What precious memories you have of your mother. We will always miss them, but we have these memories to treasure.

Laddi Singh from (Punjab) India on September 23, 2014:

I am very sorry for your loss. Our parents are our world without them there is nothing. We could get everything in our life but could not get them back once they went. This is also a universal truth that everything which is created will vanish one day because after all we all are visitors on this earth. After playing his/her part we will make a place for others, one goes and another comes. This is the sentimental story of every Human. I am with you and can understand your sorrows.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 11, 2014:

My Dearest Pam,

Yes, they will. And one can sense your hurt and loss within the text of your story that I say should be submitted to Readers Digest or something. Of course you could re-write it for them, but I loved it.

And was moved to tears by your heartfelt thoughts.

Certainly, my dear, YOU are a gifted writer.

Stay in touch with me. Please?

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on September 10, 2014:

Kenneth, thank you so much. I think this is the nicest comment I've had in eons. It's especially appreciated because I tried to write this one from my heart. Our moms will always hold a piece of ours, won't they? Again, thank you! Pam

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 09, 2014:

Dearest Pam,

I do not know what to say right now. I lost my mom on Aug. 10, 2010, and like you, she was my everything--best friend, confidant, and a lady in every respect.

You asked in your hub was your mom lovely? YES. And I loved every word of this hub.

In fact . . .This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, I can easily describe it as amazing.

I loved every word. The graphics were superb. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it.

You have such a gift for writing. Keep the wonderful hubs coming.


Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

bossypants on September 01, 2014:

What a beautiful tribute and wonderful photos! I'm so sorry for your loss, Pam. It's never easy and you've done a stunning job of sharing your mom's unique and impactful life with us!

B Lucy from Podunk, Virginia on September 01, 2014:

Wonderful article on the complexities of the mother/daughter relationship and having to realize mothers are people, too. I like to think all of us are Wabi-Sabi!

William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on August 31, 2014:

Very special. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on August 31, 2014:

Thanks for your words, Ann. That fishing pic is one of my favorites too. Mom truly loved to fish!

Ann Hinds from So Cal on August 31, 2014:

Your mother was a remarkable woman and you will never get over her being gone. In that place in your heart, you will come to accept the loss and treasure her for who she was. My mom has been gone 15 years and I miss her the same today. I do love the fishing picture. I have never caught anything quite that big.

Karen from U.S. on August 31, 2014:

This is a lovely tribute to your mom. My mom is in her early 80s, but has had some severe health issues over the past 3 years and like you, I don't live very close to her. It's my brothers, especially the youngest one, who have helped her the most. Yes, I feel some guilt too for not being able to help out as much.

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on August 30, 2014:

It's not even been two months since mom passed.....some days it feels like two years, and sometimes it feels like two days. I imagine it's something no one ever gets used to. :(

Melody Lassalle from California on August 30, 2014:

Very touching! It sounds like you and your Mom had something special. I am sorry for your loss! I lost my Dad 4 years ago. Though he was 84 and was having health problems, it still wasn't easy.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on August 27, 2014:

What a beautiful tribute to your mother, I'm sorry for your loss. My parents are both gone and there isn't day that goes by that I don't think of them. Thanks for sharing your beautiful mother :)

Ibidii on August 27, 2014:

What a lovely story of your sweet Mother. I am sorry for your loss. I am experiencing the same thing with my Mother right now with her dementia in the care center. Great tribute to your Mother, Pam. Thank you for visiting my hub.

Scott A McCray on August 26, 2014:

Pam - what a beautiful tribute. My Dad's been gone for nearly seven and a half years and I still miss him like it was yesterday. Long distance hugs to you.

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on August 26, 2014:

Your mom is absolutely beautiful. Your story does her proud. Thank you for sharing it. Losing a parent is so very difficult, and when they lose some of their faculties first, it feels as though we are losing them twice. May your happy memories forever outweigh the sad ones, and may the bitter memories fade to nothing.

Joyce T. Mann from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA on August 26, 2014:

A loving tribute to your dear mother.

Jim from Kansas on August 26, 2014:

Very sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my mother last year, and it is not an easy thing to go through. When someone passes, I always thing of what kind of legacy they left. Your mom left a daughter who could beautifully describe how much she loved her in words, that keep the reader reading. That is a pretty good legacy all by itself.

The pain will ease with time.....but not much.

Inda Blackwell from Hampton Roads on August 26, 2014:

Lovely hub! I enjoyed reading it this morning.

Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV on August 25, 2014:

Pam, referring to your dresser drawer trip, something similar happened to me when I was little. But mine was, "I'm going off to die." Then I went and started getting a bunch of my clothes together, and my Daddy said, "If you're going off to die, you don't need any clothes." And I stomped my foot and had a tantrum, and he and Mom laughed at me. When it was all over, we calmly went on as if nothing had happened. (smile) My heart goes out to your for your loss, and I've also been there. She was a beautiful woman. ((HUGS)) my friend, hang in there.

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on August 25, 2014:

What a special tribute to your mom. Thanks for sharing her with us, Pam.

Cheryl Fay Mikesell from Mondovi, WI on August 25, 2014:

Beautiful story! My Dad's been gone a long time now. I miss him lots. My Mom is still living but not in best of health. Savor every moment with your loved ones.

Pam Irie (author) from Land of Aloha on August 25, 2014:

Thank you both! I still feel lost a part of each day especially when I yearn to hear her laughter. Missing those hugs too.

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on August 25, 2014:

Your story of your mom gave me chills, and I have to say makes me cry. I feel everything you've written. It's incredibly difficult to lose a parent and until it happens to a person, you really have no idea what it's about. There is a place that no else can ever fill and when we think of them we're happy for a minute and then we're tearing up because we'll never see them on this earth again. I lost dad last year too (as you know already) and today I've been missing him so much, that I can't explain it in words. Your page to your mom hit me hard - in a beautiful way. Love the story of the drawer, lol - your mom sounded like an amazing lady.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 25, 2014:

A beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing your mother with us.

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