Monday, September 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye

As you have probably noticed my posting has fallen off pretty dramatically since Summer started. The first half was due to our travel schedule. The second half?  It has been much harder. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on July 23rd. Every time I have tried to post since then I am able to write only a couple sentences and then my mind wonders or just goes blank. I am now writing this post from my moms bedside as I watch her sleep in the ICU at the Cleveland Clinic. Right now we are looking at days until this part of the story ends...

I wrote that on Sunday, September 8th.  My Mother passed away peacefully on Wednesday, September 11th surrounded by her family.  We were lucky enough to get 51 days to say our good byes, I love yous and everything else we wanted to say.  It still wasn't enough for any of us.  One of the hardest things I have ever done was to write and deliver her eulogy at the funeral.  I have two sisters and my father but this was something that I felt I had to do.  Words aren't enough to describe her and if you were ever around her or my family you would be able to see and feel the things my Mom would do that made her so special.  Following is the gift I gave to my Mother.

Thank you everyone for coming today.  I speak for my whole family in gratitude for all the love and support we have received from you during this difficult time.  It truly is a testament to my mother that all of you are here. 

She is the center of our lives.  My mom is the strongest, most loving person I know.  The love that her and my dad share is unbelievable.  In a couple weeks is my parents’ 42nd wedding anniversary and they still would look at each other like newlyweds.  It is the love they show and share that we all should strive for in our daily lives and it is something I was able to witness for 36 years of being around them.

We did it as a family.  As you may or may not know we moved around growing up but every time it happened we sat down at the kitchen table and talked, cried, shared our thoughts and feelings about whatever the next step was.  But it was always about us doing it together as a family.  At the center of all of that was my mother who seemed to always know exactly the right thing to say or do to make the difficult transition easier.  Every night we would sit down together and hold hands and pray before dinner.  We would all sit and talk about our days and what our challenges were and celebrate our successes, as a family.  When cancer happened to strike this family we took it on as a family “we got this” became another way of saying to each other that we loved them

My mom could light up a room with her smile.  The twinkle in her eye never went out.  She was so happy for us kids as we found our way and new lives with our partners.  Grandmother, now I told you how she was a great mother but she was an amazing grandmother.  Always ready to spend time with the kids to play, read, watch and yes most especially spoil.  Any time I would challenge her on the last one she would always say “it is the grandmother’s job to spoil their grandchildren” and that would end the discussion as she handed them whatever they wanted. 

My mom had this amazing memory.  I am going to miss that.  The things she would remember would blow you away.  The whole family knew that if we were trying to recall something that happened on one of our family trips or adventures and our story differed from hers than she was right and we were wrong.  As we have gone through these last couple days and have shared our memories of her we have had some contradictions and we don’t have our final answer.  But the one thing we do have is love.

We Got This!  Love you mom

Me and my Mom.  I showed this picture to M & EJ and they both thought it was M.
Supporting my Mom
Me and my Mom shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer.


  1. Stephen,
    Sorry we could not make it to Cleveland this weekend, but our thoughts were with you and your family all weekend long.

  2. loved this steve and you know your mom loved it too. so beautiful. thinking of you guys! xoxo

  3. Well done buddy......Pat

  4. Stephen,

    Your words were beautiful!!


  5. Thank you everyone for your kind words.

  6. great job. i don't know how you stood up and delivered this, but clearly you got this. i know she was proud of you for standing up for the family and speaking from the heart. xoxo.