This is my mom, Betty with my dad sometime in the early 1980s. My dad died in 2008 and my mom's life changed a lot after that. She had to cope with being on her own for the first time in her life. She and my dad were married for 54 years before he passed. She was lonely and her one and only daughter lived over 500 miles away.
Her independence didn't last very long. She moved in with me. She took up residence in my 5 bedroom Victorian doll house in the frozen tundra of Montpelier, Vermont. That is when the real fun started. I have a lot of stories about her. We spent a lot time together and a lot of the time was in the past nine years.
|Betty Boseley, Eggs Inc. Mother's Day 2017|
I took this photo of her last year on Mother’s day. If there was ever a mother who deserved a day to celebrate, it was my mom. She was the salt of the earth. She was an unselfish and an amazingly giving person. If you've read my Blog entries, My Mother My Roommate, you know, she’s been living with me for the past nine years; in that time there was never a dull moment. When we moved into our house in Naperville, she took the downstairs bedroom just below the master. This meant that I could hear her getting ready for bed, her television, the whole bit. I get up around 4:30 am every morning and I often go to bed before my little 82 year old mother. Anyway, as I’m watching the news or Netflix or whatever, I could hear her brushing her teeth, getting her clothes ready for the next day, saying good night to Calvin and then talking. Without her hearing aids she was completely deaf. So of course when she’s talking, she’s pretty loud. I thought she was talking to herself. Perplexed one night, I quietly snuck down to watch her. She wasn’t talking to herself or speaking in tongue, she was saying her prayers. She literally was on her knees at the end of the bed saying her prayers. She looked like a Precious Moments figurine. What did my mom pray for? I am not exactly sure, but there were lots of "please sweet Jesus," I can most definitively tell you that it wasn’t for herself. She prayed for Calvin, her sisters, my Uncle Tony and me. After she knew that I knew she was praying, she told me that she had done that her entire life. I asked her if she thought it worked, and she said that we’re here aren’t we? So then whenever I was stressed or needed a little extra help, you know the stuff I usually consulted the magic 8 ball for, I asked my mom to pray for me… and yes it worked.
|Marlowe's, Memphis, TN 2017|
My mom was my best friend in the world. Nothing was real until I could tell her about it. Of course since we had been living together she got to hear all about my work day and complaints about co-workers, that whole bit. Even before the past 10 years, back when I was in college the long distance bill was out of control. I would talk to my mom while I did laundry at the buds and suds and while we watched certain TV shows. I don’t remember what we talked about but it was probably about me. Because whenever I asked my mom how she was doing, she was always pretty good or fine. And by fine she meant fine, not fine.
When I moved to Vermont, my mom was devastated. I was far away and it wasn’t easy for her to visit me. She was lonely. I also didn’t visit her very often. I really regret that now. I was always too busy or too poor or too involved in my own issues. Selfish. I’m the opposite of my mom. But during this time, she was still involved with her daycare and she had a new kind of baby to watch out for, a little Shih Tzu named Nixon. My mom became quite attached to him so therefore, Mary suggested my mom go to the shelter to look for her own dog. AND WHAT a trip that was. My mom adopted Calvin who became perhaps the third love of her life. This was back in like 2000. Calvin was not a puppy hew was about 2 years old. We just had to put Calvin down on February 13. He may have been the longest living dog in history. But like everything, he got old. I did my best to keep him alive in spite of a heart condition, liver failure, collapsed trachea, cataracts and who knows what else, because my mom needed him. Calvin was her little buddy. Nothing will convince me that his death wasn’t a catalyst to my mom’s demise. I honestly think my mom died of a broken heart. I didn’t take Calvin’s death well at all. I cried for days. My mom never let me see her shed a tear. I know she was greatly upset but I didn’t really recognize how deeply it had affected her until February 28. That was when she had her stroke.
|The Wizarding World of Harry Potter|
It was my birthday, I had come home from a B-day trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and my mom didn’t ask me about my trip, didn’t wish me happy birthday and didn’t even turn on the television. I knew something was wrong. After a few trips to the doctor and blood tests, she was continuing to act a little stranger and finally I had to take her to the emergency room. It was the worst day of my life. Of course, my mom still insisted that she was fine. She felt great. In reality, it was and up and down struggle those five days she spent at Edward Hospital. On Wednesday, my worst nightmare came true. On the brink of being released to a rehab center, my mom was just walking around the floor with her physical therapist, she collapsed in her chair. She expired, just like that. I’m telling you right now, that I really don’t know what I am going to do without her.
|Betty Jean Boseley, 1955|
I always hated it when people told me I looked just like my mom or that they can tell I’m her daughter. What a terrible thing. I want to be exactly like my mom. She was an amazing person. She was kind and generous and funny and wise and she made me laugh everyday.
Of course I can only tell you about my Mom from about the time I was three years old until her death. She had some pretty funny stories about her life growing up in the mountains of West Virginia. She was unfortunate to have her baby front teeth busted out when she fell on a wooden dog pull toy, had her new permanent front tooth knocked out by Johnny Koffman on the monkey bars. One of her only trips to the doctor, I can probably count the times she agreed to go willingly if I thought about it long enough. She went because she had wrecked her bicycle accident and cut her knee into the bone. She didn’t want to go and her parents wouldn’t have taken her because she taught herself to be tough. She tried to hide the bleeding and refused to limp. But her uncle saw how severe it was and took her to the doctor. Even at 80 years old she was still proud of what a tough little girl she was.
My mom was wise and naïve at the same time. And what I mean by that, is she was very good at reading people, but naïve to all of the wonders that the world offered. In general, my mom liked everyone and was never one to gossip, but loved to listen to gossip. When I got older and had the means, I started taking her places that she commented on when we watched TV. In 2002 we went to New York City to see the department stores decorated for Christmas. We did a lot of walking and saw a lot of funny things. I took her to Letterman and she met Rupert at the Hello Deli. But before that. Our first excursion out of the hotel that very first instance made me shake my head. She stepped out of our hotel and stood on the side walk, coming to an abrupt stop. My mom had pushed herself to the curb and just stood there. I said “Mom, what are you doing, you’re going to get run over.” She told me that she wanted to get a good spot for the parade. I had to explain that this was just the busy New York City street and there was no parade. We walked miles that day. From the Waldorf Astoria to Central Park, Rockefeller center and the Empire state building. That night, we turned off the TV, opened the blinds (just a crack) and watched the people in the building across from us. “Why don’t these people pull their blinds?” She commented. I told her that I was glad that they didn’t otherwise we wouldn’t be as entertained. Because what we saw was better than Cinemax after 10 PM.
|Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas) and I at Fashion X Dallas 2016|
My mom and I have always had a good time together. Back when I was little, we used to watch the Friday night CBS line-up, especially Dallas, laying in the floor in front of our console television. Lately we’d watch the nightly Shark Tank marathon. When she moved in with me, these evening rituals were often accompanied by libations. But don’t ask my mom to make a drink for you because I can promise you, it would put some hair on your chest. You see, my sweet mom never really drank on her own until she moved in with me and I always made the drinks. One night she tried to help me out and make me a cocktail after a rough day. I took a sip and my eyes popped out, smoke came out of my ears and my tongue was on fire. I asked her how much she put in – 3/4 of a pint glass. I only needed about half of the liquid in the pint glass, that’s for sure. She had a sharp and sarcastic wit. She got into a little trouble one time a few years ago with drinking and it messed a little bit with her meds. The doctor asked her why she wanted to drink and she said to get high. He showed her how much she was allowed- 1/8 of a pint glass. She exclaimed, “That’s All?” and then scoffed and said what’s the point then?
My best recent memory with my mom was showing her how to use our Amazon echo. I bought this for her for Christmas because it was becoming increasingly difficult for her to use her phone. If you’ve never used this device, you say the name ‘Alexa’ and give her a command. Easy? Right? Hmm. “Urethra, play Englebert” “Alexi, put Calvin’s eye drops on the list for Peapod” Many after work lessons later, I was standing in the grocery store; my mom at home. I received an alert on my phone, “Homestyle waffles have been added to your grocery list.” SUCCESS. More recently, I pulled into the driveway, got out of my car and heard music coming from the house. “The damn TV volume – my mom must need to have her hearing aids cleaned.” I open the door and blasting is Englebert Humperdinck. So, without further ado, Englebert’s The Last Waltz which was blasting from the house invading the neighborhood.
|Englebert Humperdinck, the Last waltz|