My mom passed away 10 years ago today. As I've talked about in earlier posts, she had breast cancer first, then ovarian cancer. She was only 61. She was first diagnosed at 53. She was a young woman, too young to go. I miss her every day.
Jeanne was one of a kind. If you were talking with her, she would draw you out and talk about everything that was on your mind. You would feel as if someone had finally heard you. I would see this in social situations over and over again. People loved her. This may sound a bit morose, but so many people filled the church at the funeral Mass that we barely fit, and the cars from the church to the cemetery stretched out 1/2 a mile, from hill to hill on Route 17 from Upper Saddle River to Ramsey. It was quite a sight.
Even as she was struggling that last day, she had a definite opinion and sense of dignity that she insisted be respected. She died on hers and my Dad's 42nd wedding anniversary. That morning she said to me, "has your father ordered flowers for our anniversary?...cancel them." Though it was so saddening, that was my mom. She knew she wouldn't be needing them. We even had a little smile about her deliberate decision to cancel, even while we knew why.
The day before she died, she was up in a chair, holding court with me and my siblings at the hospital. I always wanted to bring her food that she liked, but that day she just wanted to laugh and talk. We had a really good visit. Then, I guess, she was done. By the same time the next day, she had left.
My dad, siblings and I are really lucky. She worked hard to make the holidays and our birthdays special. She taught us well how to continue to do this for each other. Spirituality was very important to her, and while we all embrace the spirit in our own way, we all feel comfort in never being alone. In that way, Jeanne will always be with us.