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Welcome 2017

January 2, 2017

I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing New Year’s holiday. I, for one, won’t feel sad 2016 has come to an end. For us, it began in a hospital intensive care unit and ended at a funeral home. It was the year our son survived a brain aneurysm, but more recently it was also the year we lost my mother.


My time has been filled making funeral arrangements, having Mom’s cremains shipped to California so she can be laid to rest beside my dad, who passed away unexpectedly eight years ago. Mom never got over losing Dad and I don’t think her final years were happy ones, in spite of the efforts Mrs. Chatterbox and I did to bring some pleasure into her last years.


Cleaning out her apartment has been a painful task, especially eliminating items of little value that Mother cherished. She’d downsized when she moved into her retirement facility but someone, I’m sure you can guess who, kept bringing her souvenirs from around the world, and now all these things need new homes, and not Casa Chatterbox which can already be mistaken for the lair of a hoarder.


It was unnerving bagging Mom’s clothes for donation. She projected such a formidable aura that she seemed much bigger than she actually was. Her clothes were so petite; she wasn’t much bigger than a child, yet packed inside her tiny frame was a huge presence. 


Mrs. Chatterbox will be retiring in October and we’re pretty sure I’m already retired, although I keep doing the same things I’ve been doing for years—painting and writing. Our son CJ, now fully recovered from his brain aneurysm, is in a relationship with a lovely woman and things seem to be getting serious. While his mother grills him for details, I’ve told CJ that all I need is a six month warning to lose enough weight to squeeze into a tuxedo—but that’s no longer necessary now that I’m back to my college weight.


We’d cancelled our trip to the south of France because of Mom’s cancer diagnosis but now that she’s gone we’ve rescheduled and our trip is back on for May. It will be hard not sending Mom postcards or bringing her mementos.


We’ve been telling ourselves for a long time that we’re ready for change, and now change is upon us. I’m certain that the pain of loss will eventually be replaced by the realization that Mom is no longer suffering, and even though she made few physical demands on us, we’re now free to pursue our passions knowing we’ve executed Mom’s wishes to the best of our abilities.




My parents on their wedding day in 1949.



I should be back to reading blogs and leaving comments soon. Until then, take care, and HAPPY NEW YEAR.




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What a lovely wedding photo. It brings to mind a simpler time... which I know truly wasn't simpler. Happy new year and may the coming year be better for your family.
By: Kelly on January 2, 2017
The wedding photo is so full of joy and cheer. I get the same optimistic feeling seeing it that I get in seeing my parent's photo. We all transition through stages and the loss of parents suddenly slams us into our "real" adulthood. Stephen we wish you and Mrs. C happier and sunnier days in 2017. Your fascinating and often "educational" posts are a delight. I'm already anticipating your reviews from one of our favorite places on the planet, the south of France. For six years I traveled there twice a year and think some of my heart is still there.
By: Tom Cochrun on January 2, 2017
May 2016 bring you MUCH smoother sailing!!
By: fishducky on January 2, 2017
oh my- 2016 was a hard year for you and your family. I think perhaps your Mom put up a tough front because of your dad being gone so suddenly. I love their wedding photo and I believe you have your Dad's smile! Have a lovely day today and we wish only the best for you and your family going forward!
By: Kathe W. on January 2, 2017
I hope your 2017 is much better than the last year, Stephen.
By: Catalyst on January 2, 2017
Happy New Year! They were a good-looking couple.
By: PT Dilloway on January 2, 2017
What a lovely picture! Your mother was a beauty, and they both look so happy. Old photos can make me quite weepy ... especially knowing the future as it has now come to pass. Best wishes to you and Mrs C and CJ (and his lady) for a calmer, less troubled 2017. You've done the hard work; it's time for you to only worry about yourselves for a bit. The sharpness of the pain does dull after awhile, although I found it took longer than I expected when I lost my dad. Take care, Stephen.
By: jenny_o on January 2, 2017
A lovely wedding photo and such a bright and alive face - you can tell she was full of personality just by looking at the picture by the sparkle in her eye.
By: jenny woolf on January 2, 2017
Your mom was a beautiful woman! It seems 2016 was a difficult year for a lot of people. Wishing you and your family a calmer and happier 2017!
By: Pixel Peeper on January 2, 2017
You did so much for your mom and no one can say otherwise. You were her caregiver and she is proud of you. You have had a difficult year for sure but I am so glad your son is doing well. I will look forward to seeing your picks of the Douth of France when you return. Your parents look like they are movie stars! He is very handsome and she is beautiful. I love these pictures.
By: Birgit on January 2, 2017
While we may not share all of the same beliefs, i hope you know i really am praying for you and your family at this time. My this year bring you much peace and joy.
By: messymimi on January 2, 2017
Your mother was lovely! Mine has been gone for almost 12 years & I still think of things to tell or give her. Wishing you well as you walk this path.
By: The Bug on January 2, 2017
Rough year for sure, 17 should be wonderful!
By: cranky on January 2, 2017
I just read your last post and am so sorry about the loss of your mother. She must have been quite a lady. She also was attractive and your parentâs picture shows a handsome couple. Yes, 2016, was not such a great year for your family. I hope that 2017 will bring you and your family peace and some good times.
By: Vagabonde on January 2, 2017
I remember a quote from my HS days "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most" Ozzy I believe. I disagree now, because I will always miss Momma the most now. I know how you feel and I'm so sorry again, for your loss. I think, hope and pray, 2017 is going to be a better year.
By: Hey Monkey Butt on January 2, 2017
What a great picture of the newlyweds! I hope this year is brighter than last year for you. You mother won't be forgotten.
By: Val on January 3, 2017
Your parents were a stunning couple! I think whatever you can't part with should just go to CJ! Wouldn't he be so grateful?!? Wishing you a bit more ease as you go through those "things." And wishing you sweet memories of both your parents and security in the knowledge that you were a very good son.
By: Mitchell is Moving on January 3, 2017
quite a year for you. and sounds like this one will be one of changes, stepping into retired life with no one to care for except yourselves.
By: Ellen Abbott on January 3, 2017
When I first saw the photo, I thought it was a movie star! What a beautiful woman. I look forward to hearing all about your travels to the south of France. We will be going ourselves, hopefully in early June...
By: The Broad on January 3, 2017
I am so sorry you lost your Mom. She was a beautiful woman and your dad was a handsome man. You have great genes Stephen and I see both of them in you. Hope 2017 is a lighter and less stressful year for all of you. The trip to France sounds like just the ticket. Looking forward to stowing away on your trip via your posts.
By: Arkansas Patti on January 3, 2017
Quite a year we all had. Here's hoping that 2017 will be a great year to remember....this time in a good way. :)
By: scott park on January 3, 2017
Hey Stephen, I'm sorry to read about your mom. I lost my dad first too, except he died in 86 and my mom lived until 2014. My mom was ready to go too, but I still have waves of sadness wash over me from time to time. I know it's part of the path, but it's not an easy part. R
By: Rick Watson on January 3, 2017
Again, I am so sorry that you lost your mother. I lost mine this past year too, and it colored every decision I made .It has been a rough time and I am glad to say good riddance to 2016. Also---Sorry it has taken me so long to get back over here to leave a comment----I was completely swallowed up by the holidays!!
By: Marcia @ Meopausal Mother on January 3, 2017
Happy New Year to you and yours Stephen, this will undoubtedly be a strange year at least at the start with your loss. Your Mom and Dad were a handsome couple!
By: John Gibson on January 4, 2017
2016 was indeed a year of turmoil for you and Mrs. C. Let's hope for a good new beginning of 2017 and a year full of happiness for you both. The picture of your parents is beautiful. You look so much like your father!! Wow. Onward and upwards!
By: Bee BB Bee on January 10, 2017
I gleaned from a comment that you left on Red's post that you had lost your mother. I'm so sorry to hear this. No matter the circumstances, it's always incredibly difficult. I am glad that your son has healed and that his life is going well. Sending healing thoughts to you and yours.. and wishing you strength.
By: Hilary on February 5, 2017
My condolences, and thank you for the kind words you said on my blog. 2016 was the worst year I can remember. I haven't started going through mom's things, because dad didn't want me to touch them. They'd been married 54 years. I plan on trying to convince him to let me do it in March. My dad's quite a curmudgeon.
By: Michael Offutt on February 10, 2017

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