Ten Years Gone

On Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 1:05 a.m. my mother, my mumsy, passed away. She left the pain and the illness she’d been living with and fighting seven months and went home to her heavenly home.

Ten years ago today my mom left us and in so many ways she left us prepared for her death. Details already attended to, instructions taken care of. Even as death came closer to her, she took care of her family, because that is what she always did.

She died just twelve days before Christmas but don’t you worry, that tree was trimmed, the cookies were baked [mostly thanks to aunt Janet] and there were presents for all wrapped under that tree.

So many things in the world have changed in ten years- the first iPhone had JUST come out when she got sick and NOW LOOK AT US ALL.

Even our family has changed [and grown] since she left us.

Sometimes I hear her voice and other times I wonder, would I even still recognize it? Every once in awhile I’ll see a look, a photo, or mannerism that reminds me of her, yet again sometimes I wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me- seeing the things I want to see.

Ten years is a long time to be a mother without a mother and there are so many times I have longed for her. So many times I have wanted to scream about the unfairness of it all and so many things she has missed.

Kelly Corrigan explains that perfectly in The Middle Place:

“…”Your mom had a good life. She had a lot of happiness. She was so uncomfortable. Now she’s at peace.”

Well, yeah, okay, good for your mom. But what about you? What about your peace? Your comfort? Who’s going to remember what you were for Halloween that year or the name of your fifth grade teacher? Who’s going to cry when your baby is born? Who’s going to sit in the front row of your play?

Look mom! This is the scene where we get engaged. Oh! You’re gonna love this part! Look at me in my white dress…And in this next scene, we get pregnant! …Isn’t this a good play? Don’t you love it? Wait! There’s more…My husband gets promoted in the third act! Don’t go yet! My son starts kindergarten next year! Wait til you see my daughters first swim meet! Don’t leave- it gets so good!”

Don’t leave mom, it gets so good.


I think it’s pretty common to idealize someone after they’ve passed away but I’m not going to do that, instead I will tell you just how she was.

She was loving and beautiful and funny and smart. She was honest and tactful and knew how to present herself in any and every situation. She was strong.

She loved the Lord but she was not a Bible-thumper. She had a quiet, personal faith and she prayed me through many days.

She loved her husband, my dad, and even after thirty years of marriage and thirty-six years together was still madly in love. When people asked if she was married, her response was always, “Happily.”

She was such a good mother. She wanted the best for us in every way possible, I’ve seen that more now that I’ve myself been a mother for so long, all of the thankless tasks she did. Sometimes I wish I had treated her better when I was growing up. She worked hard and made sacrifices so that we could have every experience and everything we ever needed and more. Most of all, when we needed someone in our corner and we often did, she was there.

Mom and Henry- 2006

She loved her grandchildren and made each one feel special in their own way. The joy she had for Henry, my only baby she was alive to meet, was indescribable. She would have found so much delight in my girls.

She was a good friend, always up for a chat around the table with a cup of black coffee.

She may have had her faults, we all do- she was stubborn as heck and Jeff and I often laugh about a particular “meatloaf” incident. But she was my mom- irreplaceable and imperfectly perfect.

I am so glad she was mine.


  1. Lovely memories and tribute to your mom. There is always so much more to share. I hope you feel her presence in those milestone moments, and the quiet spaces of each day.

  2. What a beautiful and moving tribute to your mom! I know she’s looking down on you and your family and smiling. I hope you find peace today and feel her in every ounce of your being, not just today, but always.

  3. I can’t believe it’s been ten years. Such a beautiful tribute. Thinking of you today <3

  4. Leslie Babb says:

    Hugs to you! May you be blessed with many sweet memories, especially during the month of December. Your mom would be so very proud of the family you are raising!

  5. How beautiful! She would have loved every minute but I believe She’s watching those she loves. My dad’s been gone 17 years and there are times I take a double take because I think I saw him pass by. Blessings.