In August, I asked readers of my blog to consider donating to the Jimmy Fund. I mentioned at the time just how much cancer has impacted my life.
A couple months later in October, I really felt for Tamar when her Grandpa David passed away. I read her blog post and immediately connected with the wonderful thoughts she shared on him as I thought about the many years I have spent with my grandmother — then fighting for her life with esophageal cancer.
I’ll be honest. My blog is a mix of posts, many bad and a few good ones. Because of that, I don’t see it as an outlet for my thoughts on personal issues. I suppose that I’m either too worried about what others will think, or, I’m just afraid to share too many personal details with my readers.
This is not one of those times.
Yesterday was Monday February 4, 2008 — an absolutely ordinary day on the surface. While many people I know were mourning the loss of the Patriots’ perfect season — I frankly could not have cared less. At 3:50AM on Monday February 4, 2008, my family lost the single most influential woman — my grandmother Mary.
Online, there is an obituary available:
Mary C. Howes, 80
Dateline: Norton, MA
Mary C. (Henricks) Howes, 80, of Norton formerly of Taunton died on Monday February 4, 2008 at Longmeadow of Taunton. She was the beloved wife of the late Everson H. Howes who passed away on Dec. 30, 2000. They were wed on August 30, 1952.
Born in Taunton, MA on April 14, 1927 she was a daughter of the late John and Mary (Enos) Henricks.
She grew up in Taunton and was educated in Taunton public schools. A dedicated homemaker to her loving family, Mrs. Howes had worked for the former Whittenton Garment Co. in Taunton when she was younger.
A communicant of St. Mary’s Church in Norton, Mary enjoyed spending time with her loving family and will always be remembered for her cooking skills. She had lived in Norton for the past 46 years and was formerly of Taunton.
She is survived by her devoted daughters; Donna L. McDuff and her husband John, Sr. of Norton and Diane M. Lander of Attleboro, her brother Alfred Henricks of Taunton, her cherished grandchildren; Richard Paulhus of Randolph, Robert Paulhus of Norton, Craig Lander of Attleboro, Eric Lander of Manville, R.I., John McDuff, Jr. of Fall River and Michael McDuff of Norton, also survived by her dear great grandchildren; Brandon and Amanda Paulhus, Camden Lander and twins Bailey and Brian McDuff.
Her funeral, to which relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend, will be held on Thursday February 7th at 9:00 A.M. from the Norton Memorial Funeral Home 19 Clapp St. (Off Route 140, Taunton Ave.) Norton followed by a Mass of Christian burial celebrated at 10:00 A.M. in St. Mary’s Church, South Worcester St., Norton. Burial will follow in the Timothy Plain Cemetery, Norton.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday February 6th from 5-8 P.M. at the Norton Memorial Funeral Home
To say that she was a wonderful woman would be an injustice to her. She was simply the most thoughtful and selfless person I have ever known.
On hot summer days, she would carefully wrap up ice cold cans of soda in tin foil and hide them in her mailbox for the mail man and trash collectors to enjoy. I’m pretty sure the foil did nothing to keep the soda cold, but if it’s the thought counts — she never lost.
Even in the past few years, every single greeting card she would send had the most detailed and personalized notes on them. It was uncommon for her not to have to use the very back of the card, writing around barcodes to fit in everything she wanted to say.
Today, I’m left with endless memories and few outlets for them.
My appreciation for my grandmother took on a new life when my wife and I welcomed our son Camden last February. The worst part about this is that I only had a small window of time to realize just how much my grandmother would forever impact my son’s life.
In 11 short months, my life was changed as I took on the role of a father. I didn’t see my grandmother enough when she was home and fighting cancer. I could’ve made a stronger effort, but failed to do so. I can’t change the past, but learning from that is a message worth repeating… So make sure that you make every moment count for you.
Thankfully, my son Camden is ready to realize what it’s like to have a wonderful grandmother.
My mother is one of the hardest working people that I know. She has somehow managed to keep an entirely offline travel agency alive and well in one of the most trying times. Persavering through the days of online travel, she manages not only her business — but also to take a day off each week to spend with Camden.
In everything my mother does, I now see my grandmother shining. From the little gifts to constant flow of greeting cards and warm phone calls… We’re absolutely blessed to have wonderful and caring people in our lives.
I can’t help but think that my mother simply took over the only way she learned how — by following in her mother’s footsteps.
On Thursday, my son Camden will turn one year old. It was supposed to be an incredible day for my wife and I, taking him into Boston, visiting the aquarium, and just celebrating his big day. Your first child only turns one once, right? We thought we’d use that day to go all out and make the most of it with him.
Our plans have since changed though as my grandmother’s funeral will be held at 10AM Thursday morning.
Call me crazy, but I’m still going to celebrate. For all of the wonderful memories I have about my grandmother, I have just one bad memory — and that’s the pain, discomfort and problems that cancer had caused her since last April.
On Thursday, I’m sure I’ll get choked up. I’m sure I’ll cry. But I also know in my heart that the one woman who has meant the most to my family is now in a better place, looking down, happy to see us all supporting one another.
Everything that we say, act and do as a family is based on the traditions and lessons that she has shared with us throughout the past 80 years.
I can’t be too down about that… Especially knowing that she’s in a better place. Sorry for the rambling post — but it needed to be typed.