I'll Never Write a Novel

The Memoir of a Personal Essayist OR Confessions of a Theatre Widow

Sunday, January 13, 2008

There are no words...

I don't know why I am trying to blog about something there are no words for. Alas, my husband suggested, "You might want to blog today." It's something. I may erase this another day. But I need something to do, and others, strangers, are blogging about this very personal topic, so I might as well.

Yesterday afternoon my mom went home to be with God. I say it that way to remind myself that all the things of earth are temporary. Our eternal home is in heaven where all our loved ones are waiting for us along with the Lord who made us. I know my mom is in a perfect place where the earthly burdens have been lifted. She is all the best things about her. The gates swung wide as she got there and the celebration must be spectacular. I wish she was still celebrating with us, but I will have to be comforted by all the people who remember her so beautifully. She was my mom and my best friend. I had her for far too short a time. But I am so happy she got to meet my baby. I will always be grateful for that. She was the best grandmother I have ever seen and Little G was crazy about her. I mean it. She was totally in love with her-- and clearly it was mutual.

The last time I got to be with my mom she was watching The Babes and I came back to the house to find G sleeping on Mom's lap, happy as could be. I asked my mom if she wanted to do anything and I said I could take the baby. She sort of laughed and and said, "No." She was, as she would say, "in her glory" to be with the babies. And, she was. The two of them were so happy. I treasure that memory. I always will. I remember walking out of the house Mom sending me off, as she always did, saying she loved me, she's talk to me tomorrow, and to drive safely. I thought I would see her Friday afternoon. I talked to her on Thursday, and I even talked to her on Friday, about an hour before she had her stroke. We told one another that we loved each other, as we always did. She told me to bring "her girl" by any time. And I left my house with that intention. But she had a stroke and when I got to the house, I picked my dad up and we followed the ambulance to the hospital. My mom never woke up.

My Aunt Pat said, "We are all blessed to have known her. And we are all lost without her." While there are no words I can say to capture these feeling, but this went a long way. I am not sure I will ever be found.

My mom had the greatest capacity for love that I have ever known. She and my dad have a love that is truly transcendent. It is something special. When two became one on October 20, 1962, those weren't just word. I do not think of them as separate. Her love for her kids was evident, alive. She taught us to love and I hope we can keep up her gift to us. This is a woman who LOVED being a grandmother. It was a miracle. There were lots of miracles. And we all loved her. Endlessly. This wouldn't hurt so badly right now had we not had it so good. If the kind of love we have had is a trade off for the pain now, I think it's worth the price. I think.

I am not doing this justice, so I will just stop. My only final thought is that my niece Maggie and I have coined the phrase, WWRRD, or What Would Rie Rie Do? (Rie Rie is her grandma name). If I live my life answering that question I know I will be on the right track.


Blogger Lena said...

Oh Noreen,

I do not even know how to write enough words to express my sorrow for you and your family, but I'm glad that you blogged today so that I could tell you how sorry I am for your loss.

I read the paper this morning, stunned, and after a quick sentence figuring that this was Noreen's mom, a person whom I wished to have met in person. To my intense sadness as the article continued there was your name and I didn't know what to do.

I will add your mom's name to the PLU All Saint's Chapel list when the time comes and I will think of you and your family in this time of need of positive thoughts.


Lena Tibbelin Buhre
PLU Class of 1999

(We took the journalism capstone class together at PLU. Ask Alicia or Nathe if you don't remember me.)

7:27 PM  
Blogger Elle said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Thank you for letting us know. You are certainly in my prayers.

8:35 PM  
Blogger dahli said...

oh Noreen, I am so sorry.
you have my deepest sympathies & know that you are very much in my thoughts as you & your family greive your loss & pay tribute to such a remarkable woman. And I send you a hug through the mysterious lines of internet since I am too far away to do so in person.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...


Rona called to let Brian and I know about your mother's passing and when she did, our prayers for you, Louis, your daugher and all your family (near and far) went out.

Words help us heal. I continue to discover this myself as I write. Thank you for sharing your pain and grief online. I hope our response help you feel supported and loved during this difficult time.

Brian and I wish we could come over and visit with you and just sit. Please don't hesitate to call or continue to write here - we don't share our grief enough in this world.

In our prayers,
Jill (and Brian) O'Hanlon

9:41 AM  
Blogger Camille said...

Oh Noreen,

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman, and you, Louis, and baby G are in our thoughts and prayers.

I have been where you are, though no experience is ever the same. I could tell you things that others told me, but the most important thing is that you grieve your loss and celebrate her life in your own way. Rely on your friends and family, you are loved.

Camille (Mesmer) Vancil

10:23 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...


There are truly no words... I encourage you to "keep the faucet on," a phrase my mom taught me. Allow the grief to pour out of you. You are not alone in this, you must go through this, and you will come out on the other end with clarity and peace.

My love to you and your family in this difficult time.

Rachel (Morton) Cardwell

3:00 PM  
Blogger tacomachickadee said...

I am so sorry for your pain. I truly write these words with tears, as I am still on the heels of three grandmas also moving on to a higher place, the final of those who was my second mother. For my first 18 years of life, we lived either next door to each other or in the same house. She was, in essence, my second mother.

I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting your mother a couple blessed times, and talking with her a few times on the phone ... and have long placed her in the category of extraordinary human beings that I do my mother/grandmother. To lose them, no matter that they go on to a place of peace and beauty and love, is painful to those who remain here.

I will attempt to not write a novel here, but know that I'm sending you and all your family many hugs and much peace. The one bright spot: I'm glad to know that my phenomenal grandmother has good company now that your extraordinary mother has joined her. They were both true gems. May they shine together. May our children be blessed by some really great guardian angels ...

12:08 AM  
Blogger ZERD said...

Oh, sweet Noreen! I remember meeting your mother, briefly, my freshman year when you were my RA. Your mother was elegant, kind, gracious, and funny; she immediately put me (a very gawky teen) at ease. May you rest in the fullness of her love as she now rests in God's.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

What a beautiful tribute to your Mom, and thank you so much for sharing it with us. She was a lucky lady to have known such love from her kids. I am so very sorry that you and your family are on this unexpected path.

After my dad passed away, I read a passage (the location long forgotten) about grief as an ocean. I found the most comfort in its message about how you never leave it, but it changes over time. Hard to imagine in the harshness of those "first" times, but slowly, its different.

Hang in there, be Real good to yourself, and give yourself permission to have good days and really shitty ones.

Lots of Love and prayers
Jenny and Kevin Myers

9:26 PM  
Blogger Stella said...


You did an awesome job at the March for Life today. I am so sorry for your loss, and you and your family are in my prayers.

11:29 PM  
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8:00 PM  

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