Farewell to Mom

I am travelling today with a son and a daughter to visit my mother, probably for the last time. She’s 84 and in failing health.

My earliest memory of my mother was in the kitchen. She cooked wonderful food for us, simple things like peas, carrots, meat and potatoes but also the most wonderful cinnamon buns. She long ago forgot the recipe but I have managed to reinvent them, more or less. 50 years ago she found morels (Morchella esculenta) growing in the forest beside our garden and gave me a meal of them sauteed in butter. I can still taste them. She used to pickle beets and cucumbers and to preserve jellies and jams for the winter.

In those days winter was always cold and with deep snow. She was delivered of me after a long ride in a horse-drawn sleigh to the nearest hospital. The roads were impassible due to a late winter storm. In my formative years, we lived in a log house in the forest and her favourite thing was to cook cocoa for us when we returned from hours of playing in the snow. She cooked bread and buns and everything else in a wood stove. Fetching water and wood were my principle chores.

In all the years I knew her as a child, my mother never complained even as we planted our garden for food, picked rocks (they were more plentiful than soil) or milked cows. She taught me to read before I was school age. She was a voracious reader and always kept us supplied with books from a mail-order lending library.

As a teenager I was sullen and never gave her much joy but she kept on going and was supportive even into my years at university. She raised five children and three attended university and became teachers. She and my father believed education was the key to a bright future and it was for us. I am sure they were surprised when we kept going at it after graduating high school, something my father did not because of WW II.

I owe my parents for what I am today. They gave me everything I needed to get started and never stood in my way to make my own choices. They treated all my siblings fairly and were a blessing to us all. My father died long ago of cancer. My mother has had a long struggle with diabetes which has worn down her health. The circle of life is completing another cycle. My own children are maturing and today will be an important stop along their way.

Unlike the old days, winter is mild today, with a forecast low temperature three standard deviations above the normal high temperature, cloudy but with no snow. It is a good day to travel to say “Good-bye Mom.”


Mom died peacefully, 2012-1-16 surrounded by family.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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14 Responses to Farewell to Mom

  1. Dann says:

    My grandmother (on my mothers side) had Alzheimer’s too. I can only imagine how my mother felt.

    While there is life, there can be joy.
    Happy people tend to live longer — at 88, I’m impressed.
    You must have been quite a blessing, Pog.

  2. choiceseeker says:

    Here’s a wish that the great lady gets well and lives more good years, Robert.

    Take care.

  3. oldman says:

    “Thanks, oldman. The visit was good.”

    I envy you Pog. My father while still physically here is being slowly taken by the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Visiting him is always a painful mix of relief that he is still her, but grief over how he is not.

    Don’t count the oldsters out Pog! You may find that she will surprise you with many visits yet.

  4. Thanks, oldman. The visit was good.

  5. I am not so sure, Alan. Today she was alert and smiling, conversant, and she ate well. Perhaps she will get over this bad spell.

  6. Gesh says:

    Oh, boy. My sympathies.

  7. Ivan says:

    Use the time you have left with her wisely, Bob.

  8. Dr Loser says:

    Incidentally, this “Farewell” nonsense just does’t work. I know: I’ve been there, five years ago.

    Robert: Your Mother is a magnificent human being. You’ve got between now and when she dies (God willing, a long time a counting) to tell her how much you love her.

    I sorta failed on that. A squeeze of the hand doesn’t really cut it.

    Do me proud, old feller. I know this sounds like Hollywood trash:

    But just tell your mother that you love her.

    That is all. It’s the only thing you need to do.

    God bless your family,etc, but mothers come first.

  9. Dr Loser says:

    Many more days.

    Oldman is correct.

    Many more days

  10. Alan says:

    Well written, brother. Saw her Thursday and yes, it is inevitable that we will soon lose her.

  11. JairJy says:

    A smile while she is alive is more important than anything after that. I wish you happines and I hope you and your family will be alright.

  12. oldman says:


    I could not even begin to tell you how much this post touched me. I can only hope that you mother though in failing health is in possession of enough of her faculties to enjoy your visit.

    I wish you many days more with her yet.


  13. Dr Loser says:

    Very well written, Robert, and I’m sure your mother is proud of you.

    That’s all I have to say, really, except that I hope you all have fun with your mother. Tell her a good story from the old days and watch her laugh, if at all possible.

  14. Andrew says:

    Robert, I wish you and your family the very best. May the Lord give you the strength, fortitude and perseverance to continue in your daily walk. I am so sorry to hear this news; Godspeed.

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