12 comments on “Getting Personal

  1. Having been a parent to a parent during a period of long illness, may i be so bold as to suggest that your write your mom a letter that she can read when it’s dark and late and the fear comes back in waves. I think it might mean a lot to her to have something to hold in her hand when you are not around.

    It’s always difficult to contemplate losing someone who has always been there all of our lives. I love your mom’s sense of humor. The time i spent with my mother during her illness are some of the best memories i have other than the fact that she always burned the spinach balls on Christmas Eve. Always. It was a family tradition that my mother would jump up in the middle of the Christmas festivities and scream, “oh shit, i burned the spinach balls.” My mother never said an ugly word in her life except on Christmas Eve.

    This is honestly a very special time for both of you to support each other and as you have described, a time to get a super kick out the sense of humor that sometimes pops out during times of stress and illness.

    My mom, being on pain killers for a long period of time had periods of not being sure if things were real or not. I came in one day to check on her. She informed me that there was a strange looking little man sitting on her dresser with shiney things on his face and she was hearing bells. I suggested to her that probably the strange looking little man was just the last guy i dated. She laughed and said, “most probably, but what about the bells. In an attempt to reality base her because the whole family was going nuts about mom hearing bells, i suggested that the bells were caused by the medication so not to worry about them. Then i heard the bells, they were the carillion of the church across the park. So i fessed up that there really were bells and where they were coming from. She gave me an evil look and said, “Sandy, i told you years ago that if you lie to your mother you will always get caught.”

    We laughed…a lot.

    One of our last conversations she said, “I wonder what dying will be like?”
    I responded, “How would i know, that’s one of the few things, i’ve never done.”

    My dear mother gave me a sideways look, a little grin and said, “I’m surprised, i thought you had done everything at least once.”

    We laughed…a lot.

    This may sound a bit strange Steve but enjoy this period of time with your mother. Being a parent to a parent is truly a very special time. She may not remember pieces of it from day to day but you will.


  2. Steve,

    I am sitting on a series of blog posts I hope to do in another month or so about my father, his illness, the care bills, etc. I have some things to show people about what happens when preparations are not made for “the later years”.

    I hesitate because the way they read now is that I am blowing off steam but I need to take a cue from you and say how it is. How we have felt. And what we would do different.

    For your sweet Mom and those caring for her… nothing but Best Wishes sent to you.


  3. Beautiful blog post, Steve. It is virtually impossible to separate the personal from the professional when obviously it is such a part of who you are. One key attribute to being successful in a business that touches others lives on a daily basis requires a high degree of compassion. Thanks for sharing a hidden piece of you, but I think we all knew it was there all along.


  4. Steve,

    Mom/family comes first, it’s just that simple! This reminds me of a job I had another lifetime ago. The CEO’s philosophy was God first, family second, and job third. It stuck with me. We lost my two of my Mom’s brothers the past 4 weeks to Alzheimer’s Disease – it was hard to visit my uncles who entertained me as a kid and told me how beautiful I was when I was at every family reunion, and then suddenly they didn’t know me.

    Hang in there, spend ALL the time you can with her and constantly remind her how much you love her. As Sandra suggested, write her notes like the kind she wrote you.

    Tell her I said “hello!” (I know, I know what you are thinking – don’t say it.)



  5. Paul,

    I feel your pain – send a link to your blog. As painful as it is, at this stage of our lives, we are all going to experience “being a parent to a parent.” Maybe we should start a support group? Seriously.



  6. Steve,

    This is a beautiful tribute to your mom and you are an inspiration to those of us who know you. Thanks for reminding us all of how we cannot take the human factor out of business.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


  7. This is a very moving post. I’ve lost both my parents. I took my Father & Mother into our home when he was dying. My Mother had alzheimer’s and had to be in a skilled nursing facility. There’s nothing harder, or more rewarding than being there for our aging, ill parent when they need us. When I look back on my life, I’m not going to be glad I spent a few more hours at the office, but I will be glad I took time off work to spend a few more precious hours with my parents.

    I treasure those moments. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about them. You are a great man. You are wise, and smart. I’m glad you set the table. Bless your Mom’s heart.

    Love ya,

    Margo Rose


  8. Steve,
    Professionals take care of everyone and everything, whether professional or personal, because to lay down and stop just isn’t in character. Professionals have character even when they feel they have nothing else left. I was sitting by my mom’s side even as hospice nurse was there also, but at the same time was negotiating offers over the phone in whispers. I missed a dear aunt’s funeral due to a previously planned business trip which could not be cancelled. I found a way later to pay my respects. I only hope that my sons display the same character that runs throughout your post when my time comes.


  9. All-

    Thanks for your comments. What’s nice about this group is that we also talk on the phone (Tom and DJ, expect calls) and can go far deeper than what we write.

    Deb is correct – a professional takes care of everything (or at least tries to). We also know when to reach out for ourselves while maintaining that tough exterior – right?

    Mom’s doing as well as can be expected; her 84th birthday is Sunday, the day after the world is going to end (I can hear her saying, “Well if the world is going to end on Saturday why the hell aren’t we celebrating my birthday on Friday?”).

    You also should try Sandra’s Spinach Balls.

    hugs and kisses…


  10. This is such a beautiful post Steve — thank you for sharing. You call me any time you need a virtual hug or an ear. I can assure you she and your family will be in my prayers.



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