Juliet Rankin Greeno Hadden died Friday, August 8, 2008, after a long, courageous battle with lung illness.
Losing your mother is devastating, even after they have lived a long and productive life. You lose the one (human) person in your life who loves you unconditionally, who never stops loving you despite physical and emotional distance.
Occasionally I watch Grey's Anatomy, and there was a little vignette that really struck me, something to the effect of how it was important to realize that there were always five special things that you know about someone you love. So, here are five things that I know about someone I love, my mom.
1. She loved her children, loved being a mother, and loved being a grandmother, above all. She had great generosity of spirit.
2. She loved to read, and loved to write. She passed these gifts down to all her children. It made gift-giving so easy - especially since we all shared a passion for Harry Potter. I can still remember being read the very un-pc "Little Black Sambo" by my mom as a tiny child - my favorite. And my sister's favorite, "Ping." (This led to many years of Alex refusing in horror to have roast duck for Thanksgiving!) And my brother's favorite, "Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel."
3. She loved to cook, and eat. I owe much to her taste and talents, and enjoy some funny as well as tasty memories. Blushing barf (oops I mean Bunny) anyone? Her mustard sauce and shortbread recipes live on. . . .
4. She absolutely adored animals (human and otherwise). I cannot remember a time growing up when we didn't have at least one dog or cat. In fact, Elfin (our springer spaniel) taught me to swim at age 2 and would drag me to shallow water if she felt I was being too adventurous. When Mom could no longer care for a cherished companion herself, she relied on the company of a stuffed poodle which looked like her beloved Diamond.
5. She was a woman of great courage - and her bravest moments were at the close, in choosing the manner of her death. She died peacefully surrounded by her adopted family at St. Clare's, as well as her son.
Mom's ashes will be buried with her beloved Abby's ashes on September 6th, with bagpipes and balloons, just as she wanted.