The Calm Before the Storm.

I was looking for photos of my mom today, the 8th anniversary of her passing, and came across these great pictures of her in Coronado with my boys. The location is a corner condo that had a view of both the beach and the bay (in case you are trying to place the spot). I think these were taken in the late 90’s, just one year before it was discovered that she had breast cancer. Definitely photos of the calm before the storm.

God, I miss her so much.  It seems like much longer than 8 years since she’s been gone.  I’ve needed her so much but I’m relieved that she didn’t have to bear watching Casey unravel these past 5 yrs or so.  Wish she was here to magically make it better; as we all think our mothers can do!  My Mom could always make me feel like everything was going to be OK.

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Before the Storm Hit

Mom, one month before her open heart surgery in 1995.

Mom, one month before her open heart surgery in 1995.

Here is a photo that my Dad asked me to post to the website. He says it’s a photo of Helen about 1 month before she had open heart surgery. He had Lenore do some editing to it, and they asked me to post it here.

50th Anniversary

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Today, on my own 25th wedding anniversary, I came across this wonderful photo of Mom and Dad celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with all of us in Kauaii!   Now, that was a trip to remember.  I’m so glad we all took it together.  Not sure if this photo made it onto Mom’s memorial video, but I like it so much I want to add it to the site.  I hope Scott and I look that good and that happy in another 25 years!

On the Balconey in Coronado

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Here’s a beautiful photo that Uncle Bill (Helen’s brother) sent of Helen and Henry at the condo in Coronado.

(I’m reorganizing Mom’s blog and moving these photos, posted long ago,to the main page)

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THREE YEARS IN GRATITUDE

“Everything in the room gave off a warm coppery glow, except for a curving , citrus yellow love seat that seemed to float in the center of the room like a crescent of  lemon in a cup of freshly brewed tea” . That  is the last paragraph on page 50  of  Helen’s book, Picture of Guilt.   I have paused to savor this description on every reading, including the one last week.

Surprisingly, I find something new in every reading and a greater appreciation of the subtle nuances, and the elegant methods in her handling of  passionate, romantic engagements.  The writing was beautiful, she was beautiful.  Once again, the book and Helen, did not allow me to let them  go.  It is worth re-reading.

The first of these annual letters began with a letter of gratitude from Helen to those friends who sustained her during her illness.  Last year I wrote an  “In Gratitude”  letter to those particular friends that were members of the Prayer Group who had been in constant contact with her.  This “In Gratitude” letter is to God, to Whom I offer thanks every day for blessing me with Helen and a life of  indescribable, delirious happiness.  This is the first time I’ve thanked Him in writing.

The Healing Quilt

This beautiful quilt was made with love for Helen by the dear friends in her prayer group: Doris, Eileen, Loretta and Donna.

Henry wrote:
I asked Mimi to post this picture of the Healing Quilt which was created, sewn, and gifted to Helen by a group of loving ladies called the Prayer Group. They completed it about three years ago when Helen was undergoing Chemotherapy, and she blanketed herself with it during each treatment.

It carries the names of each of our children and grandchildren, each of the Quilt contributors, and a number of pictures and words that symbolized events and places Helen and I loved.

I offer my eternal thanks to these beautiful ladies whose prayers I firmly believe extended Helen’s life. Their close friendship dating back fifty years brought joy to Helen and me.

The Healing Quilt

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This Quilt is so precious a legacy that I’ve already passed it onto my five daughters. They are now taking turns displaying it. Each six months possession rotates from one home to another.

Helen and Aunt Dottie

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We all love this photo because Mom is just glowing with beauty, as always. I think Dottie and Helen considered each other the sisters they never had.

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Dottie wrote me that looking at photos of my Mom makes her smile along with the tears, because of Helen’s beautiful smile.

First Communion Photo / Confirmation

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I think Eileen was asking about this photo, so I thought I would post it here. If you click on the photo is will open up the full size file, which would be more suitable if you wanted to make a print.

We have been calling this “First Holy Communion” but I think Mom looks more grown-up than 7 years old here. Doesn’t she? Could it be her Confirmation? Either way, I think it’s a beautiful photo and Mom looks so lovely.

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This photo reminds me of what Matt said in his eulogy, about Mom’s First Communion:

When I was getting ready for my first communion my mom told me how close to God she felt at the time she first took communion. She said she felt God’s love so much, that He was so real, that if she died then (as a 7 year old), that it would be okay because she knew she would be with God. So in a sense I think my mom has been ready for heaven for the last 68 years.

A Family Vacation

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familyVacation500I like this photo of our family, particularly of Mom because she looks like such a natural beauty … even camping with five kids. (Click to see larger photo, and you’ll see what I mean).

I don’t know where this taken. The scanned file is tagged 63 camping. We seem to be in a cabin … which isn’t technically camping! And 1963 would make me about 2 years old at the time.

 

Those must be Mom’s sunglasses that Henry is wearing. Cute!

The Writing and Dining Out Group

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The Writing and Eating GroupThis is a group of my mom’s friends who got together every month for lunch and writing critique-ing. These dear friends are Cheryl Stark, Phyllis Malcolm and Trish Astbury. Speaking to them over the years (at her home, sometimes during hospital visits and eventually at my Mom’s funeral), it was very clear how much they loved my Mom.

I think they said that they met in a writing class at Cal State Fullerton and began as a study group. They just kept on meeting long after the class was over.

This collection of photos was from a trip they took to Coronado together. This framed collage is from a wall in my mom’s kitchen. I think it was a gift from her friends.

With Friends in Coronado

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momandfriends.jpgOne of Helen’s favorite places was the condo on Coronado Island. Here’s a photo we came across of Mom with her friends/fellow writers. Left to right: Helen, Pat Wright, Anne Farrell, Linda Prine.  Linda McLaughlin is taking the photo. These 5 talented authors met every Friday for years.