"There are no monkeys allowed in this house."
  • 97 years old
  • Born on April 1, 1917 .
  • Passed away on October 31, 2014 .

My mom passed away. It's been about a month now. She lived 97 years. I spent her last 45 years with her.

She and my dad adopted me when I was -3 months old... I was premature. Thing is, I was supposed to die. In fact, I was so unhealthy that when they brought me out for my parents to take home, the agency felt guilty and offered to show my parents another child, because I was not expected to live very long.

My Mom told them, "We're not here to pick out puppies. We're taking him."

Because my lungs weren't fully developed, one or the other of my parents had to stay awake with me for the first 24 months of my life.

It's hard to write this without talking about my Dad, too.... because between the two of them I had an incredible childhood. You can't quite understand just how amazing my mother was without understanding my dad a bit. He died a few years ago, too.

It's kinda funny... both my mom and my dad died like they lived. My dad's death was painful (heart attack), messy, harsh, and difficult to bear witness to... his body posture and facial expression were that of a man tortured. My mother, on the other hand, looked like she simply fell asleep.

And that pretty much sums it up for them. My dad was all about lessons, duty, responsibility, and the harsh realities of life. My mom was about compassion and grace and love and understanding... and about making sure dad's lessons went down with a bit of sugar.

Just to give you a little more of an idea of what kind of person my mom was... 

She grew up with a bunch of sisters on a farm in Little Falls, New York... living the farm life and farm values, and with a harsh father. She had a sister who was known for liberating food from the kitchen. When the sister was caught one day, knowing that her father would do something terrible to her sister as punishment, my mom "confessed" to the theft. She knew her father would be kinder to her than to her sister... she rarely got in trouble or neglected her chores.

For this, her father lit a candle and burned the tips of her fingers to teach her a lesson. One day I asked if she knew that her father would do that. She said, "No... I figured he'd chop off a finger like he always said he would if he caught us stealing."

And there's my mom for you.


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