Strong, loving, smart,
happy, kind, caring, talkative,
dependable, creative, curious, independent…
My mom, Darlene, has always been my first and best teacher. Today and every day, my mom is wonderful inspiration as I bloom and grow!
She will always be the woman that I admire most. ❤️
With a very tender heart, today I am sharing the deeply sad news that my sweet mom recently passed away. Our family is very grateful for the wisdom of her doctors, the compassion of her hospice nurses, and the many prayers of our friends and family. It was all so peaceful, as my dad, my husband and I held Mom’s hands…
After raising Johnny, Jeff, and I, my parents retired to the sunny Southwest for 25 happy years. My mom just loved the sunshine, the mountains, and the hummingbirds that visited her desert garden every day. My parents really enjoyed hiking in the desert and exploring many of our beautiful National Parks.
Oh, how we all cherished our family visits! My parents loved to come back to Illinois to ”cool off” each summer. Their visits were always a highlight of our year. My brothers and my husband and I visited my parents in Arizona throughout each year to spread out the family fun. Between our visits, writing letters, frequent phone calls, and heartwarming Skype visits always kept us close.
Three years ago, when it was time to move back closer to family, my parents settled into a new, easier lifestyle in a beautiful, brand new senior living community near all of us. My parents instantly met a whole new circle of friends there. Throughout the pandemic, their senior living community has been a true blessing, helping them to live independently, in a safe space, while surrounded by friends. Together we found creative ways to stay close throughout the lockdowns and restrictions. Although the past two years have been challenging, my mom and dad bravely met each challenge they faced along the way.
Home and family were the two most important things to my mom, Darlene. She always enjoyed hosting wonderful family gatherings. She was my first and best teacher. Each time we were together, I learned something new. Mom was an avid, lifelong reader. She loved to write letters and poetry. She always enjoyed spending time in her Midwest rose garden and later in her Southwest desert garden.
Early on, my mom gave me the wonderful gift of gardening. It began with nurturing houseplants on my bedroom windowsill. Mom helped my skills flourish when I bought my cozy, little home with the big garden. During the week, I would water everything. Each weekend, when my parents would visit, Mom would identify the weeds and the flowers. Slowly, I learned from her. I have always felt so close to my mom whenever I am in the garden!
Early on, I learned how important creativity is to a happy life… just by watching my mom. She turned fabric and thread into beautiful, one-of-a-kind clothes for me. I felt so grown up when Mom taught me how to follow patterns and use her sewing machine. Working together, I learned how to paint and wallpaper in my childhood bedroom. As I grew up, I admired Mom’s handmade quilt, stained glass pieces, pottery, macrame, and crafty projects of all kinds. I quickly discovered the joys of creating with paper and ink. Over the past year, Mom was a huge supporter of my creative journey along The Artist’s Way. We had many long talks about our creative paths, often with a paintbrush, watercolor markers, or colored pencils in hand. Such a beautiful way to add a bit of magic to our days!
Throughout her life, Darlene actively volunteered in our church, school, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and at the public library. In recent years, Mom and I helped in the pretty gardens of their senior living community. I’m planning to carry on our tradition of volunteering together in the gardens and library there while visiting my dad.
In early April, our family suffered another monumental loss, when both of my brothers, Johnny and Jeff, passed away after a brief battle with Covid-19, in the home that they shared. My parents, my husband, and I continue to rely on our faith, family, and friends each day as we mourn their loss.
Tomorrow, November 6th, is my mom’s 88th birthday. We will have a private family service in the morning. In the afternoon, we will celebrate all three special lives during a visitation with friends who live in the senior community. We are so grateful for the incredible love and friendship that has surrounded our family for the past six months. Thoughtful expressions of sympathy continue to wrap us in love.
Since it is not yet time to gather together in person, we invite you to join with our family, from wherever you are, on November 6th, at 12 noon (in your time zone) to say a prayer, take a moment of silence, light a candle, or whatever would feel most meaningful to you. We also encourage you to do a small act of kindness on November 6th, in honor of Darlene, Johnny, and Jeff ~ who lived their lives sharing kindness with others every day!
For the past six years, I have been dedicated to raising awareness for Alzheimer’s research. It feels like one of the most important ways that I can make a difference. The most heartwarming experience of all, was walking hand-in-hand with my mom, just one week before she passed away, in the Alzheimer’s Awareness Walk at their senior living community. I will cherish that memory always…
Thank you all for your lovely expressions of sympathy. Your friendship is truly a blessing in my life! In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, a charity very close to our family’s hearts.
I feel so very blessed to have Darlene as both my mother and my friend. From time to time, I’d love to share some of our stories here on the blog.
Thank you for visiting here today. Be safe!