A Mother's Legacy

March 19th 1936 to January 12th 2008

Hi Everyone,
I hope you are doing well, Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of my mothers passing. She was the reason I started this blog. It has been therapeutic for me to write about the grieving process with everyone and your support has helped me to heal. If you follow both of my blogs I just realized I wrote some of her story on my last post on stigma no more, I didn't time them to well, I don't mean to write to much about her but it is just the way it happened. The past year has been easier, I don't feel the pain physically as much I think because I don't have to see her suffer anymore. There are certain moments that I really miss her, when I am shopping at Marshall's and I see another mother and daughter shopping together, it always makes me tear up, we always enjoyed shopping there together. She lived right down the street from me in North Plymouth and when I get to her street it upsets me when I get the red light, because then when I sit there it makes me wish I could still just go down the street and spend some time with her like I always did. This year I tired to stay focused on the good memories, the laughs, her beautiful smile. Last year on her first anniversary I began thinking about what her legacy is to me and my family. In what light would I view her life to have been and what influence did it have in shaping who I am. My mother was born on St. Joseph’s day, thus her name Josephine. Her nickname was Dolly. I was told she was a very happy, bubbly baby and would make her mother laugh and laugh. Her mother stopped laughing when she was two years old. She died from stomach cancer. Her older siblings took care of her, but she always missed having her mother she told me. She graduated 2nd in her class, had an IQ of genius. She grew into a beautiful woman who was also a ballerina. My mother married my father at the young age of 20. Being a Catholic woman in those days meant for the most part that you stayed home and began a family. By the time she was 25 she had 4 children. The first three all a year apart. When the 4th child arrived, she had a nervous breakdown. I know I would have. All that work without much of a support system around her. I think she had a case of post partum psychosis or manic depression, that disease can have psychotic episodes. In the sixties they considered her schizophrenic. As we grew up she endured many years of shock therapy and did the Thorazine shuffle as I call it. Heavily medicated. One time she attempted to take her own life because she could not stand what was going on with her. She did not want to be sick, who would. The grace of God saved her and she continued on this path of illness until 1989. My brother Jim had taken my mother to Pembroke Hospital and she received a new treatment. They just put her on Lithium. When she came home we saw a new person emerging. It was like watching someone come out of a state of darkness and back into the light. She never went back into a Mental Institution again. She became much more functional than before, we would go out to lunch, we would go shopping together. She took care of herself like never before. She enjoyed her 10 grandchildren. The last 19 years with her were the best years of our lives together. So to get back to her legacy, I can see it clearly now. She was the greatest teacher I have ever had in my life. She taught me to be brave and endure what life hands you. Acceptance of others who are different from the norm and love them all the same. I learned forgiveness for not having the perfect childhood and realized she was really the victim not me as I often felt that way because she was not June Cleaver. She thought me compassion as she shared a story with me once. While in the Mental Institution suffering herself, she told me of a day where she saw another women screaming and suffering. She went to her room and said a prayer for her. That touched me in more ways than I can say. Even in the end of her days in the nursing home she demonstrated dignity to me. When they would come around and put bibs on them to eat, she asked me to buy her an apron. When I did you would have thought I bought her gold. I will never forget how happy she was to get such a simple item. I guess she also put gratitude in a whole new light for me. She also had a great sense of humor, I enjoyed many a laugh with her. So having thought about my mother’s legacy it is truly a beautiful one, one of Mother that taught me more than she will ever know. She has also left us with a big and beautiful family, 6 children, 10 grandchildren and one great granddaughter and her spirit lives on in all of us. My brother Jim gave me the song I put on the video I made. I edited it this year with a new picture of Bri. He really was the best son a Mom could ask for. He took care of her everyday. He always finds songs that truly fit our Mom. If there is Heaven up above I know she is teaching Angels how to love, Love that line.Thanks Jim for everything :) It is Sadie by James Taylor. I hope it plays well for you. Some parts may sound a little like a skip but I could not fix that. It still sounds good to me though. I can't understand why the thumbnail looks like it does?? Anyway,
Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this special post.
Take Care,
Janet :)


  1. Dear Janet-
    What a blessing to find you!
    I know the pain of losing a mother. My Mom died 7 years ago February. There are days I still can't believe it. I felt so unprepared for what life w/o her would be like. She inspired me to to into work as a hospice bereavement counselor and for a number of years after her death I worked as the coordinator of the children's grief and loss program at a local hospice here in Delaware.
    Her loss catapulted me into a spiritual crisis (born and raised a Catholic) and coupled with our infertility I ended up on quite a journey spiritually I never imagined traveling on when as a kid, I envisioned adulthood. I am in the process of writing a memoir about my journey of love and loss and my experiences attempting to reconcile the ginormous chasm b/w what I thought life as an adult would be and how it turned out.
    Would love for you to stop by my blog and poke around. Last April I wrote a post called the Grey Hat, all about her.
    From one motherless daughter to another-sending huge hugs.

  2. Dear Janet ~ As I would now expect from you, your writing comes straight from the heart. Your love for your Mother is so great - as her's was, and I have no doubt, still is for you.

    People from your Mother's generation seemed to somehow be so strong...and yes..there didn't seem to be a support system.

    Then again - some people have babies and others are natural Mothers...Dolly seems to be one of the latter.

    What a wonderful capacity to love you have within you.


  3. Thank you both, I appreciate your comments, especially today
    Take Care,
    Janet :)