Friday, June 16, 2017

Amazing Grace

I know this is a sports blog, but I hope you can excuse the personal indulgence.  Because my mind has really only been on one thing for much of the last week.  After a courageous four-year battle with cancer, the most amazing woman I'll ever know, my mom Jean, passed away peacefully in her sleep this morning with my dad by her side.

Her nickname was "Gracie," and I couldn't think of anything more appropriate.  Because my mother has more grace than anyone I've ever met.

You should've seen the parade of family and friends coming to see her over the past week.  My family tends to travel in packs, and we completely took over the lounge/waiting area on the second floor ICU.  Because we all just have so much love for a woman who touched everyone she ever met.

She was just that type of person.  As soon as you met her, you fell in love with her.  And, more likely than not, she loved you right back.

That's why people were coming out of the woodwork--from family and longtime friends to hospital staffers and people she hadn't seen in 20 years.  Gracie made an impact, however small, on all of their lives.  And they didn't just want to say "Goodbye."  They wanted to say "Thank You."

It's her loving, generous, caring soul that made her so special.  And it's her remarkable spirit that will be her lasting legacy.  A legacy that will live on long after we've all joined her in Heaven.

And if you want to talk about grace, you should've seen how incredibly at peace she was with the entire thing.  She accepted her fate and was ready for it, leaving no regrets.  And she was in control through it all--making her own funeral arrangements and bossing everyone around until her final breath.  She had even decided the day on which she was going to die--although she was a little off on that one (she said Wednesday, it was actually Friday).

Most of all, she wanted everyone to be together.  She wanted to say goodbye to all of her loved ones and give each of us the chance to say goodbye to her.  And her two biggest concerns were that we stay in touch and that we make sure to take care of my dad.

Speaking of my dad, he has been just as remarkable through all of this.  He's held it together better than you could possibly imagine despite losing the woman who's been right by his side for the last 43 1/2 years.  I can't even imagine the grief he's feeling.  I only know that mine is immense.  And it probably will be for a while.

Although, it does help to know that she's no longer in pain and her suffering is over.  And I also know she's moved on to a place that's much better than this one.  I'm also grateful we got more than four extra years with her when her initial prognosis was six months to a year.

Before she died, she told me that I was going to meet a wonderful woman, get married and have a family.  My greatest regret in life is that she's never going to meet that family.  She'll never meet her granddaughter.  Her granddaughter Gracie.

1 comment:

  1. Joe -- what an unbelievably poignant, loving tribute! Your mom was so proud of you -- and her passing inspired the absolute best of your writing talents.
    Remember that you are the anchor for an incredibly strong family. I'm sure you will be there for your lovely sister siblings -- and your dad, bursting with pride that your mom inspired such a loving tribute. You will never write anything more rewarding. Stay strong. Celebrate the life -- and enjoy your dad, your sisters and their families. You made them all very, very proud! Love you, miss you, look forward to seeing your soon!