Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Then And Now


January 5, 1998

It snowed all day. Mom called at 9 p.m. for Angelique to pick up Pepsi for Dad. I think it was pretty ridiculous that she had to get Pepsi at night in a snowstorm, with a car that has no winter tires. But did I say that, No! Would it have been disrespectful? ‘He preferred to be, rather than to seem good. ~~ Sallust 86-35 BC ~~’


January 19, 2010

I would like Mom or Dad to call for anything and it would not be ridiculous; even in the shape I’m in now I would walk to get the Pepsi in a snowstorm.


January 13, 1998

I was just talking to Mom and told her of a dream I had last night. In the dream I dreamt that Jacquie didn’t want Mom to see me anymore, so Mom asked me not to come around. I was so surprised that I struck my hand out and pushed her in the chest. So I told this to Mom and Mom says ‘Fuck that.’ I started laughing. Then Mom and I were both laughing and she said she won’t be around forever, and that she’ll die sometime. You can’t imagine how those words hit me. I couldn’t even believe my reaction. I started sobbing, almost as though my Mom had just died.

I told Mom that she is the person who gave me my wings, and that besides my children, she is the one person I love more than anyone in this world. I admire her so much. It seems that the older I get, and realize who she is as a woman; I admire and love her more.

I would say that my Mom is fair, loves children and they love her, truly believes that there is always room for one more and practices that. Kind, beautiful, in style, modern, gave me a love of music, open-minded, does not gossip, can keep a secret, tolerant, fun, strict, caring, strong, and much much more.

My Mom is not tolerant of liars, thieves, or fools. And if Mom has something to say, believe me, she will say it. She is also the best grandma in the world.

You can’t die Mom, because I couldn’t handle that. I love you!


January 19, 2010

You are going to die Mom and I realize that because of you and how you have raised me; I will in fact be able to handle that.


January 19, 1998

Angelique drove me to Mom and Dads. I went to clean out the storage room. Mom is getting a dresser and Good Will is coming tomorrow to get all the junk. It didn’t take too long and I was able to bring home a few pictures Mom and Dad gave me.


January 19, 2010

Funny brought home a few more pictures just the other day when we were all cleaning out Mom’s apartment. And just as it was a breeze to do then, it was a breeze to do now.


January 27, 1998

Mom is really upset. Gwen her best friend has cancer. Since Mary and Auntie Gloria have died, Gwen is her only good friend left. Jacquie and I went to Mom and Dad’s house so she could talk about Gwen. We played cards and when we left Mom said she would not be able to sleep that night.


January 19, 2010

Mom is still here and I am still thankful. She has outlived her friends; I wish I could say the same about myself.


January 30, 1998

Dad’s birthday today, so I bought him a t-shirt.


January 19, 2010

My Dad would have been 84 on his birthday and I can tell you people if you don’t think smoking kills you would be wrong. It is the main contributing factor in my father’s death and it will be in my mothers.


Silke said...

Oh, what a sweet tribute to your mom!! Sending you all lots of love and wishes for sweet times together!!! Your mom sounds like an amazing lady!!! Love you! Silke

The Dutchess said...

January 19~~ 2010
Dearest..I believe you are very much like your mother... Kind, beautiful, in style, modern, open-minded, does not gossip, can keep a secret, tolerant, fun, strict, caring,very very strong,a great writer,honest and much much more.

soulbrush said...

yes sigh, my mother and father died from smoking too (ages 57 and 59), almost 30 years ago now. sigh. i don't even want to do a 'then and now' renee, it would make me unbearably sad (and i feel sad today anyway). love you lots, you give me the strength to get up and get on with things!

Allegra Smith said...

My mother, who never touched a cigarette in her life, died of secondary smoking. She was forty four. I will never make peace with the thought that people do not see cigarettes as guns, or knives or for the poison they are. They kill alright, what is incredible is that in our country we support with our taxes those who grown this curse upon our people. I get so angry when I think of all those lives wasted and the pain it causes to those left behind yet, I see young people smoking today.

I miss you, yesterday was really hard and that is why I am up at 4:00 AM. I am going back to bed,
sending you, Jacquie and your dear Mother much love and thoughts of hopeful comfort.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Two amazing women, your mother and you. Beautifully composed and intertwined memories with current reality.

I read your comment on Sarah's blog - that you are really not feeling well - suffering - I'm so sorry. You are in my thoughts.

kj said...


oh my beloved friend, this is hard.

i will think and write more at the other side of my workday. for now, thank god how wise and loving you are, that you have a mother and a family that is so totally easy to love. that is its own gift.

together strong, moon sister.

Caroline said...

Reading this made me think of a few of my own thens and nows, and boy, what I would give to have 'now' time with my parents! Lung cancer claimed my Dad too.
Thank you for your lovely comment today on my blog - I do love to hear from you:) But damn and blast those bloody bats. x

Woman in a Window said...

Renee, you hold it in your palm, the meaning of it all. You see it. You show us.

I fricken laugh: ‘He preferred to be, rather than to seem good'.

AND your mom swearing like that. HA! I knew you came from somewhere great and real.


Manon Doyle said...

Your beautiful post about your mum made me cry this morning!! Makes me think about how I feel about mine! Your mother sounds like a wonderful lady.
Love you Renee!

Javajune said...

I love reading your diary. I love being inside your head. You are such a thoughtful and down to earth person with a lovely family. I'm so glad I found you!

zoe said...

you are beautiful! your mom's lucky to have you, too :D

Sue said...

"Renee, you hold it in your palm, the meaning of it all. You see it. You show us."

Erin said this so well. I feel honoured and blessed to have you share these moments with us. They enrich my day.

Renee, hoping that today the bats are not as bad for you.


jacquie said...

i went to see mom yesterday for a few hours and all she wanted to do was hold my hands and kept rubbing my weak hand while praying for it to get better...
she seemed to be comforted by having me there and we talked about her weekend at shelly's and how she is looking forward to moving there, as it already feels like home to with all her stuff around her.
i was so happy to see her and very sad to leave her. she was going to say her rosary for renee and i when camille and i left.
i can't imagine life without her in it but i do know she is 83 and a natural progression of life....i will be fine but i just wish a peaceful death where she just goes to sleep as sheldon did and not to be scared......i love my mom so much and i wish i had my mobility especially right now......

Renee said...

Jacquie you are so there for Mom. Even when you aren't.

To hold your hand and pray over it; I can totally see her do it. Everytime I go she touches my stomach and tells the cancer to go away. Our Mom, the little doll.


Yarrow said...

Another moving post, Renee. I'm sorry that you're having a rough time again. Words fail me today, which is very rare, believe me :)

Love and hugs to you and Jacqui and your Mum. x

Debra She Who Seeks said...

How bittersweet life can be. But I don't need to tell you that. Hugs to you, your Mom and everybody -- enjoy each other!

LDWatkins said...

I wish our love could touch your stomach and make the cancer go away. You have all the grace of your mother, and I'm glad you and Jacquie have each other. Love you, Lynda

Marion said...

I am so sorry. I was not close to my mom until the last two years of her life, when I became her primary caregiver. And I am so thankful that I was with her when she died on her birthday at the age of 83.

This post brought back the trials and tribulations my mom and I had throughout her life, when I didn't appreciate or understand her. All I can say now is that I miss her with every bit of my being.

I wish I could help...you are all in my thoughts. Hugs.

studio lolo said...

What a loving comfort and rock the three of you are for one another.
Thank God you have that.
I just love all of you. How could I not?


Beth said...

Hi Renee, so sad what you and your family are going through (too much), but so lovely that you have such a good relationship with your mom and sister! And you recognize the value in that... I hope she gets comfortable at your sister's and you still have some good quality conversations... All the best to you.

Vicki Holdwick said...

Hello Renee,

Lovely post today. Your mother sounds so much like mine, except my Mom wouldn't say "fuck" and doesn't always speak out when she should. She is sometimes taken advantage of because she won't stand up for herself.

I share a birthday with your Dad; I will be 58 on January 30th this year.

I just wish I had "met" you sooner. You feel like a soul sister.


kj said...


smooch. Hug. Nod. Mwah.


Karin Bartimole said...

what to say but I'm thinking of you and love you. Wishing you peace and so hope you are feeling some better today...
love, Karin

Diana Evans said...

Hi Renee...your posts always pull at my heartstrings...amazing how much our parents mean to us...and will always mean to us no matter what the road brings...you will also be like that to your children Renee....a strong and wonderful Mom who teaches with her actions and shows strength in every situation....

Bless you my dear friend!!!


Noreen said...

I find myself with mixed emotions with today's Blog.

Sadness, for all the losses (and losses to come).

Happiness, for great memories of your past with those you love.

Touched, with the thoughtfulness of your mom. Still, being who she is (a loving mom) even as she knows her life (as she knows it) is coming to a close here on earth.

Thank you, for sharing your family. My prayers continue to be with you and your family.

Love, Noreen

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

This is a wonderful post Renee and i agree, Erin said it so well!
'you hold it in your palm, the meaning of it all. You see it. You show us.'
We need you!!
Hugs to you and Mom....you are both women to be admired. And you are!
Love, Darla

Diana Evans said...

You know what is amazing about you Renee....you are always thinking about others and making us always feel special...you truly have a wonderful gift and it just keeps growing because of your kindness and thoughtfulness...you are amazing and I hope I can learn more from you.....



@eloh said...

I can but pray my children will be able to say those things of me...of course they will have to add the "a" word.

Karin Bartimole said...

oh Renee, you are grace aplenty!
My next round is two weeks from today. It's only been one week since my first treatment, but it feels longer - like I've somehow been at this a while... I go in for blood work/ platelet check on friday.
xxooxx k

Marion said...

Yes, Renee, then and now. How many times have we all said, "If I only knew then what I know now..." But would we do anything differently? Could we? I don't know. Mama will be 81 this year and is a smoker. She nursed all of her sisters and brothers who died of lung cancer and watched them die horrible slow deaths. Yet she still smokes. We quit ragging her years ago. She says it's her one pleasure in life. I've never smoked, but I sort of understand where she's coming from. We can't live their lives for them or save them from themselves. I'm just grateful that I've had my own mother this long, like you. I love you. Blessings...

Ces said...

So much love, it is wonderful and inspiring! You are a terrific woman Renee.

I hate smoking! It stinks and it kills.

My friend has cancer of the stomach, he used to smoke.
My friend had cancer of the breast, she used to smoke.
My friend had cancer of he breast, she used to smoke.
My friend had cancer of the breast, she was a chain smoker.

The other day, I saw a pack of cigarrettes from The Viking's pocket. All his friends smoke.

Man! I really wanted to spank a grown-up man. I was livid.

Smoking is so unsexy.

Deborah said...

I love your Mom. What a woman. Everytime you write of her, I see in my mind Celine singing "Because you loved me"...the song she sings for her own mother of 13. Canadians are quite prolific. Is it the long, cold winters? **kisskiss** Deb

Annie said...

Very sweet post, made me all mushy inside. I agree with you about smoking, my mom breezed in and out of lung cancer, she was lucky, but she has started smoking again and that scares me.
Sending love and hugs to you and the whole family. praying for you all to have strength and love around you. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Renee love: I come to visit today and when I opened your blog,I was totally awestruck by the picture. There is something about it that touched my soul. I read on and again was captured by the mother and daughter now and then. In my mind's eye the picture is a refection of you and your mom. Forever Beautiful & timeless.
loving you beautiful lady

Becky said...

this is beautiful Renee. all of it; thanks for sharing. I love how you put it all in perspective. You have given me precisely what I needed today.
have a beautiful day
{{{hugs}}} xoxo

Gloria said...

I like that comment about your MOM giving you the wings. That is so true. Beautiful post. Well wishes to you and yours. :hugs:

BT said...

Renee, as everyone has said, that is a truly beautiful post - and so well written and full of love. Then Jacqui commented and you and it all became so real. I am so sad for you Renee and Jacqui and your lovely Mom. I pray for all your pain to be taken away.

Lilacrobin said...

Ah, dear Renee and Jacquie....such powerful and sad posts...

My father (now dead for 17 years) was a heavy smoker too. He had two massive heart attacks - but being the wonderful, courageous man that he was (a WW II Veteran - a bomber pilot in Africa - and many, many years older than my mother - who nonetheless died first and did not smoke) was able to quit "cold turkey".... he made it until 80....

Nothing can replace one's parents....but, one remembers their love and guidance - they have shaped us - for good or bad - and of course, they have given us life. And....they are always with us....always..

Sending you, Jacquie and family love and strength on a stormy Tuesday in San Francisco.



deb said...


Extraordinary photo. I clicked to see it larger and I just love it. Thank you.

I am honoured to listen in a bit on the story of such a sacred family. Your sharing inspires me to continually strive harder to make sure my children know how much I love and cherish and appreciate them.

I did not have a mother like yours. Or have the sort of extended family you know. And today , when I wrote about some of the old pain, I thought of how sad all the wasted time is .

I wish you a million more tomorrow,s or at least a beautiful today.

love to you

turquoise cro said...

LOL I just put some pepsi in the fridge this morning! Got to have my pepsi, sometimes a coke! Hey Renee, will YOU say some prayers for my 2 sons to quit smoking! I'm on to them all the time to quit! Thinking of YOU!

karen gerstenberger said...

You are a brilliant thinker and writer. I love the "then & now" journals. Thank you for sharing the changes (and the similarities) in your perspective. I'm so glad that your mom is still here today. Sending you much love! XOXO

Sara Williams said...

Your mum is amazing. I feel your pain. ((hugs))

Silke said...

Just a little love note as you and your family are popping into my head. Holding you in my heart!! Much love, Silke

Sarah said...

Dear Renee, I love reading about your Mum, like you she sounds amazing. Like so many other of your friends it makes me think of my own Mum and how much I love her-she wouldn't say fuck either but she does say the occassional other swear word and gets a little naughty look on her face when she does!
I hope your Mum settles in at your sister's too and that you and Jacqui and the rest of you can see her as often as possible.
Lots of love, Sarah xx

secret agent woman said...

I watched both my grandfathers die from smoking-related illnesses - one of lung cancer, one of emphysema - and it seemd like such a waste.

Time has surely brought you perspective and I appreciate you sharing that wisdom with us. Much love to you.

Anonymous said...

Oh Renee, I had a little girl here with the biggest smile when I read your message to her. This is so lovely to have two little girls so happy and connected with love and a picture. Really special. It was the cutest thing ever thinking about Josephine liking it so much, very sweet. Thank you so much for sharing this.

When I have a bad stomach, Pepsi settles it. Maybe does some magic for your mum?

Your mum and dad sound such beautiful people. Sorry your dad as gone.
My mum told me a beautiful dream she had three years before grandad Solly died.
She was in a place like Jerusalem with all the houses and no gardens.
She was told her dad was dying so she ran to where is was.
In her dream she was too late.
Then all theses leaves started to uncurl and red roses grew out of him all perfect and the same size. She turned round to see a man in white who said to her "don't worry, everything as to die before it can bloom again"
Mum felt it was Jesus

Finding Felix said...

There is nothing like your Mom to be your earth and your heart. She sounds like an amazing woman Renee.
Lots of love to you and your family.

ruthie said...

Dear renee, this post stopped me in my tracks, the before and now, how quickly things change. sending hugs x x x

Elizabeth said...

Very powerful writing, Renee and sweet and yearning, too. Your love for your mother is so palpable.

Barbara said...

You made me think of my own thens and nows. My parents lived to their 90's, both of them. They did not smoke. But there are always things you regret saying or not saying. And now it's too late.

I did smoke, but quit in 1982. I pray it was soon enough.
One of my 3 kids smokes and it tears my heart out.

Bella Sinclair said...

Again I eavesdrop, and again I cry. I am happy that Jacquie spent time with your mother, and happy that your mother will be going to Shelly's house and surrounded by love. I'm crying because with all that is going on with her health, your mom still puts her children before herself, as all good mothers do.

So much love to you.

Baino said...

She sounds a lot like my mum. You are both wonderful daughters to deal with your own suffering and still have such warmth and affection for your ailing mum. 83 is not a bad innings smoker or not. Neither of my parents saw their 75th birthday or their 50th wedding anniversary. I'm just glad that you get to spend some time with her over coming weeks Love to you both. Take care of yourself Renee.

clairedulalune said...

Hello Renee, No words today just hugs. ((((((hugs)))))))

Angie Muresan said...

That is heart-wrenching, Renee. Smoking kills, and it sucks when it kills our dear ones. And I have to say that your spirit will outlive us all. You are a beautiful masterpiece. I love you, dear Renee!

Maggie May said...

It is almost the 9th anniversary of my mother's death and I do miss her so much, still.
I think Your mum and you both sound like brave and lovely people.

((hugs)) Maggie X

Nuts in May

Angela Recada said...

The more I learn about your mom and your whole family, the more I love her and all of you. I hope she is comfortable, and that you all get to see her often.

Oh my God, Renee. The last paragraph about smoking hit me right in the heart. My son smokes, despite everything he knows, despite how he felt about smoking when he was younger, despite my pleading with him to stop once I found out he had started. He is 18, and I will nag him about this until he stops or I die.

Love and hugs,

Mim said...

It's both awful and wonderful to love...ain't it?

love to you all - send a kiss to your special mom from all your loving friends

Dean Grey said...

This was beautifully, beautifully written, Renee.

Your dad is smiling down on you and your family during this difficult time.

My thoughts are with you and your family!


Arija said...

Smoking is a funny (peculiar rather than just ha, ha) concept. On the one hand you can preserve meat that way, on the other, it does incredible harm to the living.
On the one hand you can make excuses by saying it was the advertising that sucked you in or peer pressure or that it looked chic, or manly, or romantic when in reality you could have stopped or passed it by and not gone down that road. Smoking or not is a choice we make. Most people just do not realize that it is an expression of a death wish. Slow and painful but none the less, eventually fatal.
Not obvious like throwing yourself over a cliff or under a train, but a socially acceptable way to make sure you go befor your time.

It seems I feel rather strongly on the subject. At Uni. there were three of us who tried it out like Marlene Dietrich in a long cigarette holder as a fashion accessory. One of us became a chain smoker, another a heavy smoker who now has emphysema and me who coul not see the sense in sticking a garden fire in my mouth.

Now that I have got that off my chest, enjoy your mother while you have her and don't grieve for her passig for that is her choice and in the nature of all things. You can grieve for your loss when it comes but also glory in her life.

At the end of all this, I guess you have realised that I still linger in the world of the living.

XOXOXOX heaps and heaps of warm fyzzy hugs, Arija

Ruth said...

I was thankful for the six weeks we had with my dad between when he was diagnosed and when he died. We had our quiet times of hushed talking. I felt his love, he felt mine. Then he passed quietly, with all of us there. It is something to be grateful for.

Ruth said...

Oh, and my dad? He died of lung cancer, though he never smoked a day in his life or lived with someone who did. Go figure.

~Babs said...

And isn't it just like a Mom to lay hands on her grown-up babies.
Trying to make them 'all better'.
Beautiful post.

Debbie said...

What a touching post about the life you have had with your parents and sister. Your mom sounds so amazing...a lot like you! I see your posts on my blog and many others and they are always thoughtful, always kind. I'm so glad I have gotten the chance to know you! I'm praying for you still. hugs. :-)

Great-Granny Grandma said...

You write so beautifully about your family. To me, you are one of a kind. Such a large family and all of you so close, loving and supporting each other. That is so rare. Your mom must have done something right.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Here is to mothers who give wings to their daughters and to the daughers who hold them dear in return. I'm at odds with my Papa and hearing you miss your father breaks my heart.
BIG Hug,

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Renee,

Love the strong bond that your family has.
You are all so beautiful and lovely
you, Jacquie and your dear Mother.
Sending you much love and well wishes,


angelique said...

You are lucky to have had Grandma as your Mom and I am even luckier that you are mine (since she passed down these wonderful qualities to you) and that she is my Grandma. The best of both worlds.

No one should have to be without their Mom.

lakeviewer said...

Oh, you are so wise and funny and loving. Your mom must be very proud of you.

sinnlighet said...

Renee, two strong ladies!!!

Nobody formulates words and emotions as you. I do not know what to say, but the word 'wings' ...... so beautiful so beautiful!

Lots of love x 2

Agneta, the Swedish one

Pattee said...

I love you Renee
Good night~

Rick said...

Renee-too bad we can't do the then and nows from then and be a step ahead. Love your mom. Naturally. ~rick

Jaliya said...

*So* with you in spirit, Renee ... I'm weeping as I read this post and all its loving revelations ... My mom died just over eight years ago (Jan. 12/02), and I recall one of the first shattering moments when my entire being *got* her death -- it was while I was driving home from work, listening to the radio news, which was all ablather about an oncoming snowstorm. "Gotta call Mom," I thought -- she loved stormy weather (of all kinds -- she was a drama queen!) ... Then it hit me that Mom was dead ... Oh, Renee, I know you love every moment and every person with your whole heart ... I know that you're embracing it all, even through agony ... Love you xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Jaliya said...

P.S. My mother died of emphysema ... It is possible that this disease will take my father, too ...

P.P.S. My mother swore like a crusty old sailor! -- tiny thing that she was ... ;-D

nollyposh said...

~Love~ is all there is <3

Chrisy said...

You know I had to skim really quickly through your post because it made me think about the future loss of my mum...I cannot imagine a life without her in it...which of course is the way most of us feel...dearest you have such a gift with words....the tribute to your mother...the qualities that you've highlighted in her...what a fine fine lady she is....my love to you darling girl...I have such admiration for you...you make me feel braver...

Anonymous said...

Renee and Jacquie, you are both what any Mother wishes for in a daughter, just as your Mum is what any daughter wishes for in a Mother.
I love being a part of your family, you have no idea how much you give me, all of you.
Tonight Renee I felt my cheek against your cheek, I really did and you felt beautiful.
I love you all.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Your posts are such a gift to the world. I'm so glad you write them.

Your mom sounds like an amazing person. No wonder you're the person you are.
Love you, Becky

ToM KiDDo said...

Send my regard to your beloved Mom...Blessed Be...

Sonia ;) said...

I totally understand...and really understand that smoking kills first hand with my dad...Its a gruesome dragged out death...

Love ya Lovey...

MBNAD woman said...

When I read your post I almost shouted out loud. My father died (MI aged 65 years and 3 weeks). Three bloody weeks. That's all the time he had in retirement. Smoking. Just as sure as if he'd set fire to himself.
I'm glad that you have had such a wonderful time with your mother. An amazing lady, by the sound of it. So that's where you get it from.
Mad x

Sarah said...

Aww hon...gentle hugs to you. I understand the loosing parents thing. Funny how our lives twine around themselves. I often read these posts of yours and contemplate my own past and what I have seen and what has grown in me!
Love you hon..take care of you!
Big swan wing hugs, Sarah

Anonymous said...

'Then and now', how true. You express it so well.It makes me sad somehow.
Jacquie's visit with her mom is so beautifully expressed, so full of love.Blessings to you both. Love, Barb

Marie S said...

I love you Renee. I love your family. I am sorry so much has been going on for you all. I wish there was something I could do for all of you.
Your love for each other is so beautiful. thank you for letting us in on it.

Happy Birthday coming up to your father.
I quit, I hope it is not too late.

Lori ann said...

then and now you are the most precious daughter a mother could hope for. i'm sure of it.
holding you in comfort and light. and love.

Bridgett said...

So poignant, Renee. You have a beautiful way of cutting through the bullshit and getting to the heart of the matter.

Big hugs to you!


Jenea said...

Hi dear Renee, I think that your mum will live yet- so much, how much is comments, here!!!

:))))) Have a great week!