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(This has nothing to do with politics.  It is personal tribute to my mother who passed away at the age of 76 from leukemia.  Do not feel obligated to read on).

My earliest memories were from the age of around 4 or 5.  I recently told my mom to watch the movie called "The Sandlot",  as it  does a great job of describing what it’s like growing up playing baseball in the San Fernando Valley during the 60’s and 70’s.  Times were good.  Dr. Lou and Nanny were a big part of our life.  As a young kid, a trip to "Fedco" with my grandfather was as good as it gets.  

As we reached the 70’s, my mother had remarried.  Tracy was added to the mix to even the score at 2 girls and 2 boys. Rick and I became teenagers.  We went to school, played ball, hung out in Laguna Beach, surfed, fished, and learned to work.  Unfortunately, John Simpson had a bad heart, and we were once again a single parent family.  
As the 70’s gave way to the 80’s, Dr. Lou and Nanny celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  Tracey was still pretty young, Joanie was on her own.  Ricky and I had just started to be on our own.  Around this time mom married one the nicest most considerate people I know.   John and mom raised Tracey and built a wonderful life for themselves.  I continued to struggle along on my own, and when I needed help, mom and John had my back.  

As the 80’s were turning into the 90’s. I remember how great mom and Robert were attending to Nanny in her later years.  Around this time I introduced Denise to our family during Thanksgiving at Aunt Shirley’s and Uncle Leo’s house.  In time Denise and I ran off and were married.  Mom had already taken in Andy as her first grandson.  Soon we added a second with Josh.  Ironically, a few years later we discovered that Denise and I, shared the same anniversary date, November 6th   , as mom and John.  We hadn’t planned it that way.  It’s just one of those quirky things in life that make you wonder.  Over the years Denise and mom became great friends.  Mom would call, and if I answered, mom would almost immediately ask for Denise.

As the 90’s continued and the new century began, things continued getting better for us all.  Kurt and Tracey were married and John and Cain brought the number of grandkids to 4.   Joanie and Barry were married somewhere in there, and Ricky and Golina as well. My mom was so proud.  All four of our her children were doing well and happy.    

One of the yearly highlights for Denise and I is our annual fish party in San Diego.  My mother was always there.   My San Diego friends quickly grew to love mom.  Denise and I often joked that she had a cult following in San Diego.  Long after the party ended, we would all stay up late into the night and talk and laugh and have a great time.  We talked often of building a "casita" so she could just move in.  It was always sad putting mom back on the train and sending her home.  
We were all so busy with our lives, but spending time with family was important to her.  She made sure that we always got together for holidays and other events.  Whether it was an Alaskan vacation,  weekend in Palm Desert, or just a family visit, mom always made each occasion special.  One event in particular that she took great pride in attending was the art show in Laguna Beach.     One of my best memories was celebrating her 75th birthday in Laguna.  The entire family was there.  Tracey put a great slide show together celebrating her life, and what a great time we all had.

When mom was diagnosed with leukemia, she was so strong.  She was determined to fight and win the battle.  We are all so proud of how she handled herself, with optimism, courage, and dignity.  After this past Thanksgiving, while in the hospital she got real sick.  I never thought she was going to leave that hospital.  Then amazingly, she got much better and was allowed to come home.   Denise and I were planning to come up and see her, and I got sick.  So we rescheduled for later in the week.  On the day of our visit she called very early in the morning wanting to know when we would be there.  She was quite excited. We came up for what was to be our last visit.  We went to lunch, kidded around, and talked of future events. She never stopped referring to how glad she was that everyone in the family was doing great.  It was Ricky and Golina this, or Tracey and Kurt that, or how much she loved Barry and Joanie, or how proud she was of all the grandkids.  

Three days later mom passed away.  Deep down I know the time was right. Those chemo drugs do some awful things and a body can only endure so much.  I think that in early December while in the hospital, God gave her one last gift – to be able to come home one last time and spend some quality time with friends and family.    This was her way of winning of the battle.

My last memories of mom are of her thinking of her family. Keeping the family close was her final wish.  She told me this several times over the past year.  I will cherish and honor that  memory forever.

Thw last thoughts I want to share:

  1. My mom absolutely loved all of her children and our spouses.   She constantly talked of her love for Golina, Kurt, Barry, and Denise.  It was a joke around my house who she loved more, Denise (the twit as she called her) or I.  I am sure my brothers and sisters have similar stories.
  1. I can not tell you how proud I am of Tracey, Joanie, Ricky, Denise, and John over these past few years.  I thank you so much for being there for our mom.  Being physically further away was hard for me.  She was always in good hands.

Thank you all so much for being here today to celebrate Bryna’s life.  

Originally posted to egarratt on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 07:36 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for reading (12+ / 0-)

    Sorry if I offended anyone for posting a non-political story here. I just thought it might help someone, possibly me.  

    "Barack, put Helen back in the front row"

    by egarratt on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 07:37:55 AM PST

  •  Thanks for sharing your story (4+ / 0-)

    and tribute to your mom, egarratt.  Offense?  No way - we are all connected.  Who said it - The personal is political, or the political IS personal?  

    Sounds like you had a lovely relationship with her.  Be grateful you had the time you did with her.  I lost my mom before I met my husband, so she never knew him or our twins (who are 21 now!).  She and I had had a rocky relationship - wish we could have had a little more time together for me to realize how smart she was.

    Your mom had a big heart (from your description), a good life, and you to love her.  Thanks again, egarratt.

    "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

    by Pandoras Box on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 07:48:24 AM PST

  •  You were a fortunate child. Our sympathies. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    egarratt, possum

    Why not expand this and write your mother's story?  It would help a lot of people.

  •  {{{{{egarratt }}}}} (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    egarratt, possum

    She sounds like a lovely human being - and obviously did well with you and your siblings.

    Both of my parents died last year - my mom in July and my dad not quite a year ago (Jan 31).  I still cry, deeply, when I think of what's gone from my life. Does it get better? Yes, but that ultimate sadness never completely goes away. I guess that's the cost of having loved and been loved.


    •  {{{hugs}}} for the newly orphaned (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mikidee, egarratt, possum, princesspat

      even tho we're older, it feels like the roots of my family base are loosening with each family member that departs.  My husband and I are both parentless now.  We were the youngest children of older parents.  The grief still washes over me from time to time, like a wave.  

      "We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of not bickering!" - The Shoveler

      by Pandoras Box on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 08:40:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That was just beautiful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    egarratt, Pandoras Box, possum

    And sometimes its its nice to have a diversion from the ubiquitous political diaries to remind us what life is really all about. The reasons behind the political battles we fight are for the protection and welfare of our loved ones.

    I hope and pray that my kids will continue to value their relationship me as you have with your mom. She had every reason to be proud. And you have such wonderful memories to comfort you!

  •  Thanks all (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pandoras Box, possum

    We had a party this past weekend to celebrate her life. This was what I read.  My job (according to me) was to show people how she effected my life, and to let my brothers and sisters (and spouses) know how they effected hers.  I appreciate the kind words. I truly do.

    "Barack, put Helen back in the front row"

    by egarratt on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 08:34:21 AM PST

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