notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Remembering

My mother died a month ago.

She was 98.

I don’t know what to write about her now. I’ve written about her so many times already; I’m not sure what else I could say.

She was bright.

She was funny.

She was beautiful.

She was kind.

She was a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother. She was a nurse. She excelled at all her roles. I cannot think of a thing she failed at.

Is there such a thing as a cheerful worrier? I think my mother would fall into that category. She worried incessantly, but laughed at herself while doing so. “No one is better at picturing her kids in a ditch,” she once told me. I remember a time when my brother was late coming home from a math tournament or some such weird event, and my mother called the school and made the janitor check all the bathrooms. She was sure he had been locked in. Who locks bathrooms from the outside? Nevertheless, she was sure. For decades afterward, anytime anyone was late, Mom would smile and say, “Maybe they are locked in a bathroom.”

Mom had good priorities.

She believed in education. She had come from a time and a culture where educating women was considered unimportant. But Mom fought hard for her education. She became a nurse. I learned only recently (from Mom herself) that my grandmother had secretly paid my mother’s tuition. So women’s education (and all education) is in my family genes. 

All of her children have advanced degrees. We all did well in school, which may be predominantly due to the intelligence genes on both sides of the family. But while my mother stressed the importance of learning, she never put pressure on us to achieve high grades. Learning was essential; grades were insignificant. I remember in my frequent calls to Mom when I was in college, our conversations always ended with the same advice from Mom. She didn’t say, “Study hard.”  She said, “Have fun.”

My mother was passionate about fairness. Not only in her own family – she couldn’t even bear to watch a TV show where someone was framed or blamed for something they didn’t do. “NO!” she’d yell at the TV. “That’s just not right!”

But especially with us kids. She counted the Christmas presents, the jelly beans in our Easter Baskets, even the size of our birthday cards. “Even-Steven” was one of her common expressions. She never wanted to show favoritism towards any of her kids.

Just a few years ago, my mother told me a story. We girls are older than my brother, and when he was growing up, my parents were doing better financially than when my sisters and I were little. Mom said that she and Dad were out having lunch with my little brother one day, and he asked (as we were all taught to do), “What can I have?” And my mother replied, “You can have anything you want.”  And Mom said that she suddenly realized something that made her feel terrible. She said, “I’m so sorry that I was never able to say that to you.”

My mother had 97 fantastic years of happiness and good health, but her 98th year was difficult. The decline in her health was unrelenting. 

I’d rather focus on all those other years, but here is one thing from this time that I will remember:

Just a few weeks before she died, I was telling her about an issue I was having with one of my several part-time jobs. Mom wasn’t well at all, and I wasn’t even sure she understood me, but I liked telling her everything anyway – I may be in my seventies, but she’s my mom. I told her I was going to give the job two more months to see if things got better. Mom said, “Well, okay, but just remember, two months is a long time if you are unhappy.”

I will remember, Mom.

And about not being able to order anything I wanted? I already had everything I could want.

42 Comments

  1. So sorry for the loss of your dear Mother. May she Rest In Peace.

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  2. I’m so sorry. It sounds like she was relatively healthy into her 90s… and giving great advice (two months is a long time if you are unhappy). How lucky you are to have had her as long as you did and to have so many wonderful memories to comfort you.

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  3. I’m sorry. You wrote many great stories about her over the years.

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  4. dragon

    Condolences. She sounds like a wonderful person to have grown up with in your life. Maybe collect all the stories you have written about her … That way you can share her again?

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  5. Nancy, I am so sorry for your loss and I can completely empathize. I, too, lost my mother a month ago at 95. Weren’t we the lucky ones to have our wonderful moms for so long? I wrote about her, as well. Being one of 11, I was somehow the only one with her when she passed. It’s a gift I’ll never forget.

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  6. Christine

    “Richer than I you could never be – I had a mother who read to me.”
    And I know we’ll find that Frank Sinatra photo! Steffi was a peach! And yes, you had it all.

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  7. So sorry to hear of your loss. You have wonderful memories of her to give you peace and strength as you grieve.

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  8. What a lovely tribute to a lovely woman from a lovely daughter. I will miss your stories about your mom.

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  9. Wonderful memories of your wonderful mother, Nancy! I’m sure you miss her terribly, but it will get easier, and then you’ll be left with all the positive thoughts. Take care!

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  10. Barbara Lindsey

    Such a lovely mum to have had. You will feel the loss but so many years of wonderful memories to enjoy. Thank you so much for sharing a few of them with us.

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  11. Your mother sounds like she was a wonderful lady. My condolences.

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  12. Deb

    My condolences Nancy. Thank you for this, and all the wonderful stories you have shared about your mom.

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  13. Nancy. Concentrate on the 97 good years. Remember your mum. Keep her close. She will always be with you. Take care and be kind to yourself. Grieving is hard. And remember your mother always finished those calks with ‘have fun’. She still wants you to have fun, when you are able.

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  14. Hi Nancy.. my condolences for your loss. Words are just not enough to explain the gavity of a loss and its impact on those who remain. Lives are affected and lives change drastically when a key member of the family passes. Be happy that you had such a good relationship with mum. Remember the good memories and that will strengthen you. Thank you for sharing

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  15. Peace be with you.

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  16. Sorry for your loss. May you find the strength to bear it.

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  17. suskaw

    I am so sorry for your loss. You Mother sounds like she was one heck of a lady (as was my own). Please remember the good times because they will far any “bad” times that may have come your way.
    I agree with her advice “two months is a long time if your aren’t happy” – it can seem like an eternity.
    Bless you

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  18. A beautiful tribute and yes, two months is a long time if you are unhappy. I’m going to “borrow” that line. Hugs from SC

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  19. My condolences. My mother passed away in 2012 and I still miss her every day. What a wonderful letter of love you’ve created here for your mother!

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  20. Doug

    Sorry for the loss of your mom. What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

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  21. What a lovely tribute – keep writing about her. There may be a book there…

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  22. I am so sorry for your loss Nancy. It’s just over four years since my Mum passed away and her last few years were difficult as dementia took a firm hold. I remember happy times when she came up for holidays with us, and there is always something to remind me……… daffodils on the road side, bluebells in the woods, rabbits and hares in the fields, the hay rolls and ‘doughnut machine’, top boxes on cars she called ‘boats’, and so many other little things. Mums are special people. We only have one, and we treasure them.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I wish I could have known your mom. You are so fortunate to have had such a loving, supporting upbringing. Not everyone has anything like that, even if they had pretty good parents. You will miss her forever, but treasure those memories!

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  24. What an awesome post, I lost my mum a year ago and know the pain of grief

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  25. I am so sorry about the loss of your mom. I know you were close. You sure keep her memories alive in these stories.

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  26. Oh my she was beautiful! And so intelligent, about life especially. My mom was sort of the same. There were 4 of us, all born within 5 years. She had her hands full, and they couldn’t afford much for us, so unless she could afford something for all of us, none of us got what we asked for. I heard that so much, we can’t afford 4 of them…so no. And at the time, well, I was a kid, and I resented it, but now I know she was being fair.

    I’m very sorry about your mom having to go on ahead. But I’m really glad she had 97 good years and just the one that was tough. Lots of good memories, right? Still…it’s so hard. A mom is a MOM, you know, and there’s no one else that will fill that role.

    Hugs.

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  27. I’m so very sorry for your loss…

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  28. Ray G

    Your mom was one of the two nicest people I ever knew.

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  29. Paula

    Beautiful tribute to a wonderful mom! So sorry for your loss. I lost my mother when I was 50. I’m long past that now, but I still think of her every day.

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  30. I’m so glad you wrote about her, and so sorry to hear of her passing. Beautiful! MJ

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  31. Bobbi

    So sorry for your loss. Hugs. My Mom was very similar and her health and activity level was fairly good until her last year at age 94. I too remember all the years before, but honestly that last year of me helping her with everything including bathing her, putting cream on her face and taking care of her as if she was my child…that is the year that I hold in my heart as priceless.

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  32. besowell2

    A joy to see! I hope you are having a wonderful start to 2022. cbd stores alpharetta ga

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  33. What wise advice! It sounds as if you were blessed with an absolutely wonder mother. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I hope all memories are a comfort. I always like to think that the best part of our parents can live on in us…..

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  34. Beautiful post

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  35. SD

    Such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing such great memories of your mom. She sounds like quite a lady! My condolences on your loss.

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  36. Awais

    Allah janta Ata frmye or ap ko sabre jamile day

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  37. Nice piece. My heart goes out to you. I’ve been trying to write about my mother’s passing for 30 years and still it doesn’t feel right. Our stories are similar, my mother also insisted us kids get educated, but unlike your mom, mine wasn’t allowed to go to college, which made her even more focused on us. Be well!

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  38. ryanreynoldsenthusiast

    Period

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  39. Carol

    So very sorry for your loss–I lost my mom in 2014 and I still miss her every day.
    There are still so many things I wish I could ask, so many stories I wish I had heard….we only get one mom. And the loss gets more bearable, but never forgotten…hugs

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  40. My condolences. Your mother sounds like she was an incredible woman.

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  41. I loved your testimony to your amazing mother. Those special memories will sustain you for a long time. My sympathies to you in your loss, but kudos for writing about your mother. Good mothers are like diamonds — brilliant and strong.

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  42. Plane James

    This was beautiful from start to finish.

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