Then What – Now What

It has been 5 days since Mom has passed.  It has been many more days since she has been feeling well.  We were not all that aware of just how ill she really was until the last 2 weeks. 

I’m struggling today.  I want to honor my Mother in the sincerest of ways.  Obituaries are now offered online with templates for producing the life stories of your loved ones for the sharing.  The ability for others to leave comments in support is certainly lovely.

I’m afraid it seems like it is a canned effort to skate through the process to me.  It seems like a spot ripe for phishing in today’s world of fraud and assumed identity.  It seems the least favorable way to share the love my father and I have for this woman I call Mom, Dad called his love for over 70 years and who you may know as “Frankly Francine”.

My Dad and I are painfully aware of who Francine was and how much she will be missed.  In an effort to share that support and love with those who knew and loved her as well, I offer the following words;

One of my first memories of Francine is remembering holding tight to her neck as she brought me to my first day of preschool.  I begged her not to leave me.  My tiny sobs and uncontrollable breaths must have been etched into her mind as she managed to turn away from me and leave.  Her strength has never wavered during hard decisions, personally or professionally.  Dad and me as well as those who loved her were blessed with her courage and foresight.   Some might say it was a blessing and a curse.  But thank God Mom had the “stuff” to speak the truth as she saw it.  She saw situations clearly and predicted the outcomes correctly 99% of the time.

Professionally is where I believe Mom really enjoyed herself.  She was blessed with beauty and respected and protected it.  Never frivolous Mom sparkled in my first memory of her working which was as counter sales at the once posh Lakeside Pharmacy in Toluca Lake.  She must have been about 23 or so.  She had a classic and simple, sophisticated style that made her a perfect addition to the glamourous surroundings there.

Ever ambitious Mom studied hard and passed her Real Estate exam and began a new career.  Her alliance with her first mentor in this field was impactful and she honed her ability to speak to others without jeopardizing her reputation as a professional, respected woman, loving mother and committed and loving partner to her husband, my Dad.  Sixty-nine years married – whew!  I always knew that any task my Mom took on would be successfully completed, someway, somehow – Mom never shied away from her commitments.

After real estate Mom ventured back to school to learn more about running her flower and plant business in Glendale.  She opened it after the tutelage of another mentor in the field and many college classes that gave her the technical skills.  Her business also fostered her natural eye for design so she could enjoy her success at her shop in Glendale for several years.  Dad helped craft many works of art while I tried to help with flower deliveries and plant watering.  It was hard work, but it was a loving and fun family affair as well.

Once I became more independent Mom ventured back out into the corporate world where she spent the remainder of her working life.  She was ultimately the first woman corporate vice president in her company of approximately 250 employees.  How she shined when she began this journey and how she grew as a problem solver and shrewd businesswoman.  I would not be the person I am in my retired corporate career if not for her.  The family business of a successful insurance company came to embrace her midway through her corporate career and the same family business has embraced me for the last 25 years of mine.  We have had the bonus of sharing this with each other – admittedly leaving my dad free to nurture her (us) with their (our) adventures away from the office.

Mom loved getting paid to problem solve.  She wasn’t really big on hobbies.  She did enjoy her time with the Orchid Club.  It promoted her love of garden and flowers.  She made a good and lasting friend there.

Mom thrived for a time with Toast Masters.  It was ever her gift to gab and share her thoughts and opinions and that most often earned you a place in her heart.  If you could listen, if you could stand her heat, you could enjoy her fire.  Simply put, if she had strong words for you, chances are she had strong feelings for you as well. 

Most recently Mom spent time counseling herself and her willingness to heal herself with the help of those “practicing” medicine.   Her longtime skin issues ran interference with her ability to focus on her other vitals.  I’m guessing it was not always comfortable in her skin, but I’m confident she was always comfortable with herself. 

So knowing peace for Mom after her more than eight decades on this earth and cheering all of us on while she kept pace with the race and uniquely thrived, I set my heart free of her earthly self which I will miss tremendously and always as I embrace her forever self.  The one I know I will see again.  The one I know continues to shine down on us.   

Goodbye Mom, wife, family, friend, Frankly Francine.  I love you and will miss you.

Always proud to be your daughter!

Decidedly Debra

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