Posted by Becky Bellomy on July 31, 2020
My dearest Mom...I find myself just missing you so much. I wish you were here...I wish I could have one of your warm hugs...and I wish you did not ever have to leave. I look forward to seeing you again, my beautiful Mamacita.
Posted by Paula Bellomy Wilkes on May 30, 2019
My sweet Aunt Joy,
How I loved to call you and hear how happy you were to hear from me! And when I brought Daddy to the Quitman H.S. all-classes reunion and I saw you walk in-I don’t know who was happier to see the other-you or me! We had such a good time that day! So happy that we reconnected in east Texas and were able to spend time together with Daddy! We had some fun holidays at his house with you and the cousins and I wouldn’t take anything for those times!
I, like Becky, so admired you when you went back to college, started a new career, gave yourself a makeover, and bought that blue Porsche. I told many people about my cool aunt in her little Porsche! It made me so happy to hear of you and Fred being so happy in The Woodlands. I loved visiting you in Houston and looking at and hearing about your book collection. Most of all, it was so wonderful when you would come to Austin for a visit and I could watch you and Daddy talk for hours about old times in Quitman.
Finally, I am so thankful that I got to spend the day with you and the family at the little outdoor restaurant outside San Miguel last year. I was honored to sit next to you and enjoy your company. Aunt Joy, I will truly miss you, sweet lady.
Posted by Kim Powell on May 13, 2019
Cameron, love all the pictures! Cassidy, I love your sharing of Grams. It is so similar to how I always felt/feel with her....unconditional love!
Sending big hugs and love to you all!
Posted by Cassidy Lovejoy on May 9, 2019
There are two people I have met in this life who truly inspired me to see life a certain way and to want to look harder at myself. One, my sister-in-law, who passed away a little over a year ago, and the other, Grams, now passed away as well. A light shone from both of them, as if a single ray of sunshine had broken through clouds to land on only them. Can I attribute that radiant energy to the fact that each was dying? Maybe. I don’t think it was just that though, because looking back at over 40 years of memories with Grams, she never faltered in who she was. Is. Will always be.
For me, she was my safe place, my comfort zone. A constant in a life that had very little security. A provider when I wasn’t being provided for, a nurturer when I wasn’t being nurtured. A giver when everyone else was taking. And what did she ask from me in return? Nothing. Not a single thing, ever in my life. Maybe she should have, because I probably owe my whole life to her, but that’s just not who she was. She allowed me to be completely myself, from my birth until our goodbye. She never acted disappointed in my choices, in my looks, in my actions…she gave me space to live in a way no one else has. It was as if she was saying, “You go live your life, do it your way, any way you want to, and I’ll just be here for it no matter what, no judgement.”
Presence. It seems that’s all she wanted from anyone, was their presence. No more, no less. Not under certain conditions, not under the guise of needing something. Sometimes I would take a moment to just watch her. A woman, sitting in a chair with her legs tucked up under her, watching her family buzz around her. Maybe not saying much. Or leaned forward with her chin resting in one hand as she contemplated a jigsaw puzzle. Bustling around the kitchen cooking dinner while everyone else shared stories in the living room. Listening to the nostalgic pride in her voice as she explained where each picture was taken as I stared at the shrine to her children in the hallway. She was IN each and every moment with me. She was just right there in it, not wishing she was somewhere else, or reading a book and ignoring me, or interrupting with her own opinion or story. She was never too busy for a visit, or too tired to stay up into the late night hours talking, or too impatient to teach me some complicated card game.
In the absence of my mother, I think it would have been easy for her to want to fill that role somehow. Grams, thank you for knowing exactly how to be my grandmother and that it's exactly what I needed. Every single moment.
Posted by James Bellomy on May 9, 2019
All Is Well
Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call be me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
Oxford Professor Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918
Cheers Aunt Joy!
My love,
Posted by Bob Bellomy on May 4, 2019
My indirect knowledge of the eldest Shoemaker on Mom’s side is John Grogan Shoemaker, her father, whom I never met, mainly because people died at such a young age just 75 or 80 years ago. I only know of my maternal grandparents through stories that Mom would tell and old photos. The ability to live a longer and more fruitful life has now become the norm, and Mom, Mamacita, Momma Joy, Grams, lived longer than she really wanted to. There were times when she felt like life had passed her by and she was ready to go. But for most recent times, right up until her tragic broken hip incident, she was pretty happy with what had transpired in "the previous three minutes" at her home in Casa Cieneguita. I was amazed at her responses when I would ask her how she felt, as I knew she had been having horribly uncomfortable coughing spells, after which she typically stated that she felt pretty good. I guess that is one of the only blessings, if there is such, of memory loss.
I never knew what to expect when I visited, but each time I greeted her with “Hi, Mamacita!”, she always looked directly at me and said “Hello, Sweety”, without fail, and had that wonderful smile with her eyes lit up and eyebrows raised gently. That was my cue that things were fairly good in Mommy land.
We had some nice discussions at Casa Cieneguita, although I couldn't always decipher what she was saying or what she wanted to say, as her voice trailed off to a faint phrase ending in the hunt for a word that just wouldn't come. I usually suggested what I thought she was trying to say, a word or a phrase, and she always said "yes" and confirmed that it was what she was reaching for. She was so good at covering up for her loss of memory in the earlier years, and it carried forth into her final months.
Mom didn't know where she lived, but she had such good caregivers around her at the two facilities where she stayed in San Miguel, that she always acknowledged that she felt well unless she was coughing or had some real discomfort. When she broke her hip and was waiting in the hospital for surgery, she would have an occasional sharp pain that elicited an expletive. I later asked her if the pain had subsided, and she didn't know what I was talking about. When I explained that the pain had been enough that she had cursed it, she said, "I've never said a bad word in my life!", and then she wanted to know what the word was. I told her I couldn't say it because I was afraid she would wash out my mouth with a bar of soap. She laughed.
Bless her heart. Mom gave spankings that caused us to fake pain and suffering. Otherwise, Dad would get the nod after work, and that was not something to look forward to. She really did wash my mouth out with soap one time, but I don't remember what I said to deserve it. Didn't matter, since it worked for a long time and was obviously more effective than the belt. Thank goodness the soap was only deemed appropriate punishment for bad language.
Mom used to be the best at a lot of things. She read more books than anyone I ever knew and owned a large collection that she had hunted down with a passion and a great sense of accomplishment. She was always the winner or second place finisher, never last, when it came to games that required a vast knowledge of words or facts, like Balderdash. She was an expert at crossword puzzles and Sudoku. I once took my young friend from Mexico to visit her at Brookdale, the facility where she lived in Houston. She and her friend, Ellen, were having a good game of dominoes and invited us to play, whereupon she and Ellen trounced us wickedly and with no visible remorse.
Mom, like some of the rest of us, got a gut full of church and never returned once she left except to bury her husbands. Nonetheless, she believed in a higher power and expressed that in some of her statements from time to time. Enough said.
She was darned good at her jobs and never had to leave her employment except by her own accord. She loved learning. She also loved having her whole family around, even though that usually just meant gatherings at the holidays. Sometimes she was moody, and who knows why. At other times she was a champion for some cause. She called me one day at my office in Houston and told me she wanted the phone number for the American Institute fo Architects, very persistently. When I asked her why, she told me that she had been at an event at the local sports arena and was infuriated that the women were standing in long lines for the toilets, while the men were coming and going freely. She wanted to protest against the designers who had obviously overlooked the needs of women. I told her that the proportional number of facilities in a public building are first designated by the building code, and then by suggestions made by the architects to the developers, who typically opt for the least number required. That didn't take much steam out of her boiler, because she continued to bend my ear for a while. It worked, because I listened and always tried to consider the plight of women from that day forward. Later, the building codes were changed to reflect the greater good. I don't know if she was a strong influence or what she did after our conversation with that regard. I do know that she was a bulldozer operator that day, and I pity whoever she might have run over later.
I got so much closer to her in the last year because I had the chance to spend a good deal of time talking and listening and deciphering her words. She had confusing attempts with words and phrases during our conversations at times, but on odd days made perfect sense for several minutes. For a while, we were able to walk around in the gardens at the facilities where she lived, and she always liked to comment on the beauty of the flowers. Later, it became too hard for her to walk with help, so we just sat outside and chatted.
She was seldom ever negative, mostly just sweet. She was the perfect Mom for me, and I love her dearly and will cherish my memories of her until I am gone myself, or maybe longer if the creek don't rise.
Be comfortable forever now Mom. I shall mourn your passing for a long, long while.
Charlie Robert
Posted by Becky Bellomy on May 4, 2019
My sweet and lovely Mom, what a beautiful role model you were for us. I love that you re-invented yourself as you got older---college degree, master's degree (with honors!), started playing tennis, got a tan, bought a Porsche and started your whole life over in Houston where you knew not a single soul. Fortunately, you hooked up with our Fine Fred, whom we all loved dearly. Thank you Mamacita...for simply being you.
Posted by Kim Powell on May 4, 2019
I love this poem and it brings me much comfort...hope it will do the same for you! - Kim
The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Posted by Kim Powell on May 4, 2019
Dear Grams,
You were an amazing person and so nice to me and everyone around you. You will be missed by everyone that has met you because you were a ray of sunshine. Grams is an amazing mother and grandmother and great grandmother. Grams gave birth to the most amazing kids. I´m so great full I got to meet Grams because most people don’t get to meet their great grandmothers. Even though she is not present right now in this world you can still feel her spirit around you. She is guarding over all of us right now. She is in heaven right now reunited with our family members that have passed. One day we will all see Grams again. She had been going through some tough medical issues so now she is liberated from those issues. We have to remember that no matter if Grams isn't here in the physical world we know that her soul is still a part of each and every one of us. I want to thank Grams for being with us in this world and that we got so lucky. 

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