My sweet yet tough mother Georgiana, who passed just a painful 24 hours ago, loved her me, the oldest, and my eventual two brothers with the courage of a lioness.
My Korean War veteran father was a wonderful man most of the time, but he was born of an era where men were encouraged by the Catholic church and an unchallenged white patriarchy to rule the home in sometimes violent ways. But always, after retreating to safety of her sisters where Mom could lick her wounds, she would return home to care for and love us all, Dad included, unconditionally.
She repeated this feat of love many times for 30 years until all three of her sons were raised and then she swiftly divorced my father to begin a new life with my stepfather Nick, a kinder gentler man, who passed before her 5 years ago. They would enjoy three happy decades together until a terrible stroke took the Navy WW2 vet and her fellow lover of Vegas life.
For the last few years of her 94 years on the planet, Alzheimer’s began to rob her of her memory, but with a bit struggle, Mom always knew who I was and loved hearing from me. On what would turn out to be final call few weeks ago, I am glad I told her I loved her, as I’d done all through her hospice, and that if she passed before our next call now much I appreciated all she gave me in this life.
Yesterday, I felt the urge to call Mom in her Wisconsin nursing home, where she was in hospice, on a weekday, when I normally call on weekends. And the gently nurse told me Mom had just passed an just hour earlier. The sweet nurse spent time telling me how much the staff and patients had come to enjoy Georgiana; always quick with a joke or an affectionate poke.
Mom lived to see me happily married to my amazing Elizabeth, at the tender age of 67. She loved Elizabeth like a daughter, always asking me to give Elizabeth a hug for her even to our last phone call.
My mother will be missed terribly by many. I sometimes wonder why she clung so desperately to life in the twilight of her battle with Alzheimer’s and would even ask her what still gave her the will to live on in what was a strange agony. She never could pinpoint an answer for me. But my beautiful mother the lioness loved and cared for her cubs to very end. Perhaps that was enough.
Farewell, sweet lioness and welcome back to the unborn.