Mount Greylock

My mom died this morning…95 years old.  I was just there, left yesterday morning to come back to Florida.  I’m so glad I saw her before she left us.  She didn’t have an easy life and the final years were especially hard but I think she was at peace in the end.  Hospice is so good and the people at Craneville Place, her nursing home, loved her and cared for her.  I don’t know if she recognized us at the end.  But when I left her she seemed peaceful and relaxed.

Still it’s hard.  Incredible how hard it is.  She certainly was ready to go, had wanted to go for years.  She wasn’t happy and we all knew it was time.  But it’s still so sad.

Funny the memories that come back.  I’m laughing remembering a time I walked in from school and found her sitting at the kitchen table tying knots with pieces of rope.  She had some book in front of her and kept checking it.

What are doing?  I asked.

Learning to tie knots.


So I can teach you at Girl Scouts tomorrow.

And she did teach all the little girls how to tie square knots and slip knots and whatever the next day.  She was a really good teacher.

And I remember when I was in high school.  Our geometry teacher was just awful.  She had no control (the class showed her no mercy) and she couldn’t explain anything.  So we had no idea how to do the homework.  I’d show up at home with a couple friends after school with our geometry books and we’d wail, “We can’t do it.  It doesn’t make sense.”  And mom would tell us to get a snack and watch the little kids (my brother and sister were toddlers)  and she’d go into her bedroom and read the lesson and then, about ten minutes later, she’d come out, sit us down and explain what we needed to do and why.  I think we were the only ones who’d have the geometry homework done those days.

She had a stroke quite a few years ago but the month before she had a stroke, she drove through a blizzard to my brother, John’s house in Richmond, Vermont, for the annual family gathering at Christmas.  No cell phone, nothing…just mom on her own.  Brave woman.

After she and dad were divorced, she started a business with a friend of hers…a home care business.  When the red tape from Medicare got too annoying, she was ready to just walk away from the whole thing but I think it was her lawyer who convinced her to sell it instead.  And she did and between that and her investments (she really understood the market unlike her daughter who has no clue) she’s never run out of money.

Seven children…can you imagine?  That’s what good Catholics did back then.  She wasn’t born Catholic.  Her mom was Jewish and her dad was Lutheran but they hadn’t really gone to any church or synagogue.  She got interested in the Catholic Church because she noticed, when she was in college, that the Catholic girls got up and went to Mass every Sunday no matter how late they had been up on Saturday night.

Five of the seven kids are in the Berkshires already.  Only Eileen and I are left to go.  We will most likely head up there tomorrow once the arrangements have been made.  You can’t imagine how much I want to be with my brother and sisters right now…that common history, I guess.

Here are a few pictures I could find…Paula has some really good ones.  I need to get copies of hers!

Engagement photo?

Mom and Kim

Mom and Paula

Mom with Declan and me in 2010?


36 thoughts on “Mom

  1. Saddened to learn of your loss. Hold the memories dearly. If you are any example of your mom’s work, she must have been queen to a lady. May her memory be for a blessing.

  2. Gail Shattuck

    I lost my Mom in November so I know how you feel. I don’t care how old you are when they pass the grief is so deep. My Mom also had a lot of health issues over the last few years. She was on dialysis for 7 years and at the end she was legally blind and unable to walk. She died peacefully in her sleep one night. Actually it was after the night of the election. She was sleeping on the couch because she slept better inclined. My dad went to check on her at 3 a.m. and she said “I cannot believe this country elected Trump as president.” When he went to check on her three hours later she was gone. I guess it was too much for her!

    Your memories will give you comfort in the days ahead. Your mom seemed like an amazing woman so I am sure you have a wealth of memories. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Sending a big hug your way.

    Much love,

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss. My love and prayers are with you.

  4. Oh Mary Sweet sincere condolences. Love to you and your family

    Hugs Linda


  5. Dear Mary, I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing but glad you were able to see her before she she passed. I’m sure she felt your presence which gave her peace in the end. I know, no matter the circumstances, loosing a parent is not easy. So much to reflect upon as we find ourselves entering the latter stages of our lives. My mother is 91 (my father died when he was 49) and I know the one thing that will shake me to my core, is never hearing her or anyone affectionately call me “bubbula” (baby) or “shana maydela” (my little girl) again. That’s when we feel our mortality and marvel at the passing of time, so deep and personal. I know your siblings will help as you reflect on the loving memories of Mom you share, keeping her alive in your hearts and minds forever. With sympathy & love, nina

  6. Our love and prayers Mary. I don’t care how old someone is, it is always always hard to lose a parent.
    Travel safely and love to you all. xox

  7. Mary – when I read the first sentence all I could think to say to you was “I’m so sorry”. Then I read the rest of your post and I realize that the more appropriate response is “thank you”. Thank you for painting such a beautiful and complete picture of your mom; I feel like I knew her! For sure know I wish I did. The other thing that popped into my mind as I read this was “wow, now I know where Mary gets it from”. Your amazing teaching skills and your moxy.
    So Mary, “I’m so sorry for your loss” and “Thank you for the glimpse at what a wonderful woman your mom was” and “Wow, how like her you are”. She must have been so proud of you!


  8. Wendie Highsmith

    Blessings and love and peace to you and your family, and especially your mom. Having our moms until 95 is such a gift.


  9. So sorry for your loss!! An absolutely incredible lady. Love the stories and photos.

  10. Mary, so sorry to hear about your mom. It’s never easy to loose your mother. I lost my mom 38
    years ago and I still miss her so. I enjoyed your stories. They are so familiar in the common thread of our humanity. It makes you wonder why we spend so much time searching for heroes. They are not all in the headlines nor do they all possess fancy titles. Wishing you peace and also a few good cries with your siblings. Love, Mary
    I think I can see Erin in that first picture of your mom. What do you think?

  11. Mary , I am so sorry. My mother had Alzheimer’s, but that didn’t make it easier. You are in my heart

    Sent from my iPhone


  12. It doesn’t make any difference how long you’ve had your parents with you, it still hurts when they leave…& it leaves a hole in your heart.

    Jerri 521 Cedarwood Lane Venice, FL 34293 941-445-4118


  13. So sorry to see this, Mary. I’ve always thought that, aside from the people we love, there are just 3 things we have in our lives: an education, our reputation, and the memories we create throughout our lives. Our reputation is something that can be taken away in a minute for any number of reasons, but unless we develop dementia, our education and our memories will always be with us. Your memories of your mother are very sweet. How fortunate you are! Sending lots of love.

  14. I am so sorry for your loss, Mary. Please accept my sincerest condolences!!

  15. So sorry for your loss. It is very hard when you lose your Mom. But now, you have a new Guardian Angel watching over you and your family. Prayers and hugs to all🙏 Much love, Gayle and Steve

  16. Oops! It was the engagement photo.

  17. Thinking of you, Mary, and your whole family. Yes, it is so sad to say goodbye. If you’re anything like me, you’ll continue having conversations with her in your head for the rest of your days! I loved reading your memories of your mom; she sounds smart, spunky, and sweet (and a lot like you!). Seems as though you got your teaching genes from her, as well! Take good care.
    Hugs and kisses,

  18. Thinking of you and your loss. See you when you get back. Love and hugs.

  19. Patricia Guliano Brown

    Thank you for the beautiful stories about your mother! I pray you will find Peace in the time with your family. I also feel like I know you’re mother. God Bless !!

  20. So sorry for your loss, Mary. Your mom sounds like the kind of interesting woman who would have raised an amazing woman like you. Hugs and love to you and your family. ❤

  21. Beautiful Pictures, beautiful memories. So sorry for your loss. ❤

  22. You have my deepest sympathy, Mary. You and your family will be in my prayers. Losing a parent is so heartbreaking. I trust your memories will give you great comfort as you deal with the loss of your mom. Love and prayers, Rosanna

  23. Mary, I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Your Mom sounded wonderful! Your sweet stories showed she had such a cool energy. I’d say she passed that down to you! The world is never the same after you lose your Mom but those touching memories will help get you through this difficult time. Sending love and hugs… Love, Ellen

  24. Marcie Kearing

    Such wonderful memories you can hold onto forever. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mary.

  25. God bless you Mary. What wonderful memories. Love to you and your family. So glad you went to see her when you did. Judy

  26. Mary, so sorry to learn about your Mom. Wow, 95… she sure saw lots of life and was blessed with seven kids!
    I’m so glad you were able to see her. It doesn’t matter tho how old she is, it’s so hard losing your Mom! You are in my thoughts and prayers and if there is anything you need, please let me know. Hugs, Pam

  27. Oh Mary, it is so good for you to come right back and be with your siblings and share story after story. My heart is with you.

  28. It is a deep loss, Mary, one that will stay with you forever. Savor the wonderful moments as you have already started doing. I’m just so glad for all of us that your mom made you. Thank you, Mom!!!!

  29. Beautiful memories those are the most important ones sending love Paula

    Sent from my iPhone


  30. Michael and Carol Malott

    Mary, so sad to hear of the loss of your mother. Thank you for sharing some beautiful memories of her; keep them in your heart always. Hugs to you and your family. Carol

  31. Such a loving tribute to your mom. And such an amazing legacy that she left in all of you.

  32. Mary, I am so sorry. Sounds that she was an amazing lady. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.. You are a living tribute to your mom. Hope you get to spend some healing time with your siblings. Sending my love and prayers.

  33. Beautifully written…well done! So sorry to learn of your loss. Keep recalling those sweet memories…

  34. Catherine (Barbaria) DiChiaro

    Eileen, so sorry to read about your loss. Your mother sounds like she was such an intelligent and independent woman. Wish she could have helped me with Geometry!

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