Tuesday, September 8, 2020

A 10 Year Retrospective

My Mom's passing 10 years ago was unexpected and a huge shock to us all, making it a very difficult time to weather. We felt robbed. We were stunned. In the intervening years, though, I've learned to be grateful for the time we did have together, and I cherish that. Please don't think I'm sad and mournful; my intention in sharing this piece is to honor her memory:

When you are sorrowful

look into your heart

and you shall see that

you are weeping

for that which has been

your delight

~ Kahlil Gibran

Written 10 Years Ago, (September 8, 2010):

"It is with great personal sadness that Linus, Lucy, Dale and I bid Mom farewell. She and I had planned to celebrate our 50th and 80th birthdays together in the U.S. this fall, but it seems that Mom had a journey of her own to make, that did not include Boston. Instead, my courageous father will be making that trans-Atlantic journey alone, and I can see Mom smiling proudly at his decision to honor her memory by visiting their grandchildren for her.

Looking around us here today, we can see how many people Mom has brought together. Though we mourn because we still selfishly wish we could have more time with her, in a way we are still able to spend time with her, for she has sprinkled a little “essence of Maureen” into all the lives she has touched, in so may different ways. How moved I was to discover a youthful photo of Mom, in which I could see an expression that my daughter Lucy makes, a similarity I'd never noticed before. It’s beautiful and inspiring too, to see how many people loved her. And Dad LOVES that everybody loved Mom.

Mom’s colorful nature came through in both her personality, and in her extraordinary dress sense. She loved bright colors, sparkly jewelry, and shiny sequins - I recall hearing her bracelets and earrings jingling as she talked to us on Skype. She was a simple, down-to-earth, no-airs kind of person, known to many for her Irish beauty, her ladylike qualities, her perpetually happy outlook, and her love of dancing, clothes and music. She was devoted to her soulmate, & children, and being a Mom was her greatest source of pride and satisfaction - having her brood of 6 accompany her whilst shopping made her swell with pride, especially when people quizzed her to see if they were all hers. You’d think she’d just been awarded the Nobel prize! She gauged her wealth and blessings by her children.

Essence of Maureen

Only an amazing and unselfish Mom would encourage her daughter, expecting the first, long anticipated grandchild, to go ahead and take up that job offer in Germany, despite it robbing her of being around her first grandchild. She always encouraged us to spread our wings, and never begrudged us our choices. I never think of her as a sentimental, doting Mom, but rather as a fiery lionness who showed me how to love fiercely too! 

Poor Mom was also very easy to 'take the mickey out of,' but she always accepted the joking in a good-natured way, and we laughed at so many funny things together, often to the point of her having to rush to the bathroom in hysterics. We had some wonderfully happy times.

When I think of Mom, I also remember that she was no saint - she could be incredibly rude and blunt at times, and could be extremely difficult (or “otherwise,” as Dad would explain it). She was stubborn to a fault and determined to have her way. This was part of who she was. We would get the “cold shoulder” and not be spoken to for days, and man, did THAT feel chilly. She'd sometimes shock people with her saucy comments, and I recall hearing Aunty Maryann remonstrating “Maureen!” in mock exasperation or shock, at something mischievous she had said, but this would usually only encourage her to say something even more outrageous! 

These feisty qualities helped her forge her way through many difficult and trying times, and in her journey through life, she evolved into a gracious, accepting, forgiving human being. When I think of Mom, I can’t help but think of a beautifully rounded piece of shiny sea-glass, with all the sharp edges smoothed away."

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