Saturday, March 23, 2013

On the Passing of My Mother

I have written a great deal in this space about my mother through the five or so years of this blog but now mom and I have ended a long journey together.  I got the call Tuesday morning that she had moved on without me.

Mom died in her sleep during the night.

It's sad for those of us that loved her but she was more than ready, was totally at peace with it, and  was looking forward to seeing my father, her parents and her good friends.  And I know she isn't suffering anymore.

She was frustrated in later years by neuropathy that robbed her of feeling in her hands, by hearing loss, and eventually by diminishing eyesight.

It's difficult, of course, because I've spent the last eight years or so taking care of her needs.  It will take some time to get used to not going by every day to check on her.

It will be okay, though.  She and I spent a lot of time talking about this; she wanted to be sure I was ready and so she had everything organized and lined out ages ago.  I've even found a little notebook where she wrote down every little piece of cut crystal or vase, every wedding gift and piece of silver, every piece of furniture, jewelry, and every item of importance to her in her house; she wrote down where it came from, who gave it to her, or from whom it was inherited.  She wrote down which child she wants to have it after she's gone.

In that notebook she also left me a list of things to do:  "Call the Social Security office so they don't send anymore checks!"  "Get plenty of death certificates!  EVERYone needs one!"

She had been through this with her parents and was trying to make it easy for me.

I still bungled things though.  I did the obituary for the paper but I should have done it ahead of time rather than after they called me.  I left out a couple of things, like that she was a graduate of Centenary College and a Chi Omega.  She was proud of that.

She'll forgive me for that, though.

I'm going to copy/paste the obit here because eventually it will fall off the internet and The Times won't have it available anymore:

Mary Earle Texada Phillips
Shreveport, LA - Mrs. Mary Earle Phillips passed away on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. A graveside service will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, March 22, at Forest Park Cemetery, St. Vincent Ave. Officiating will be The Rev. Paul Martin, Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. 
Mrs. Phillips was a native of Coushatta, LA and a resident of Shreveport, LA for most of her life. She was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and a graduate of C. E. Byrd High School. 
Mrs. Phillips was preceded in death by her parents, Florence and John Pintard Texada; her husband, William H. Phillips, Jr.; and granddaughter, Melissa Renee Phillips. She is survived by her daughters, Mary Margaret Grayson and husband, Gordon and Patricia P. Becker and husband, Steve; son, William Hutch Phillips and wife, Laura; grandchildren, Mary Francis Archer, Patricia Nicole Sumrow and John P. Austin; and great-grandchildren, Alex Archer and Benjamin Sumrow 
The family requests that memorials be made to the Byrd High School Alumni Association.
The family would like to express their sincere appreciation the The Glen and Harmony Life for their compassionate care. 

It's amazing the acts of kindness that occur when something like this happens.  Mom just wanted a simple graveside service; that's been the custom in our family for as long as I can remember.  I took care of the arrangements, got it all set up, and then got a message from a wonderful friend who asked if I'd like him to play something at mom's service.  Of course I hadn't thought about anything like that.  So he asked me what mom liked.

"Well, she really liked Frank Sinatra, but...", and he laughed.

"I'll tell you what," he said.  "I can do 'What a Wonderful World' by Louis Armstrong.  How would that be?"

Perfect!  Mom loved that.  I just couldn't have planned it better.

Bill Allen will never know what a wonderful gesture that was and how much it meant to me.

I have a strong support system, a great husband, and good friends, so I'll be okay.

It'll take some time, but I'll be okay.  Mom would insist on it!


Adrienne said...

Prayers for your dear mother, Pat.

Sherry said...

Prayers for you and your family.

Zilla said...

I am sorry for your loss. Your mom sounds like a wonderful lady and I bet she's really proud of how strong you are. May God bless your entire family.

edutcher said...

A very nice looking lady.

You were lucky to have the time together to prepare.

yukio ngaby said...

My deepest condolences, Pat. My prayers for you and your family.

Mutnodjmet said...

Prayers for you and your family, as well as your mother's spirit.

Mary Sue said...

Prayers for you and your family, Pat.

Randy-g said...

I will ask God to send you a special blessing Pat.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Pat. Thoughts and prayers.

Jayhawk said...

I am, as police say, sorry for your loss. She sounds like a lovely person, even accounting for the fact that you may be a bit prejudiced.

A story, which may or may not be appropriate. My mother had a close friend in Tuscon, an eldery lady whom I was quite fond of. She had a niece who she viewed as a daughter and several times expressed a wish that I could meet the niece, which never happened. She had made none of the preparations your mother had when she passed away, and straightening it all out fell on her neice, who lived in California.

I took it upon myself to assist as best I could, taking care of the car while she was “back home,” meeting her at the airport, taking her to dinner occasionally… My friends said that while I am a nice guy I’m not that nice and that something was going on, but I denied it. I was just being decent to a lady that was going through a difficult time.

That lady is my wife today. Like birth, death is part of God’s plan.

MarySue said...

Prayers for you and your family, Pat.

ClassicFilm said...

My husband's mother left us last week - thank you for such a lovely post about your own mother.

Tina said...

oh... what a pretty lady she was. And I always loved her spunk in your posts! Thank you for sharing about her with all of us out here in the world. I know you will miss her, and my prayers are with you and your family.

George Sewell said...

Ouch. Just no easy or simple way to handle to death of a loved one, even knowing their relief and, likely, delight. All is well. I empathize.

Obi's Sister said...

Just found out today about your mother (I've been battling a lingering stomach virus). Hugs and prayers for all of you.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize. You and all her loved ones have my sympathy.

Red said...

I hope you are doing better. I stink at keeping up with the older blogs these days. My best to you and your family. I understand your Mother was ready and that she did her best to prepare you but the truth is it is always harder than we realized it would be.God's blessings to you for comfort and for peace to be with you. ::HUGSfromTX::