Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Miss You, Mom


Ruth Jean Perry, seated in front, with her family.

Ruth Jean Perry, high school graduation photo. 


Ruth Jean Perry, wedding photo, October 2, 1948.

Ruth Jean and Olaf J. Helgestad

This is a small tribute to my mother, Ruth Jean (Flint) Perry Helgestad.  She was diagnosed June 22, 2011, with pancreatic cancer, told she had three weeks to live, and to go home and call hospice.  This was a shock to her, my dad, and my sister, brother, and myself.  My dad had been caring for her for the past couple years, primarily because of never-ending pain from shingles several years before.  After the diagnosis, I went to visit for a few days, returned home for a week or so, then went back.  My dad and I cared for her around the clock until she passed away very early on July 22, 2011.  It was her wish to be at home with her family.

Mom loved her family, her home, grandchildren, and new granddaughter, Hazel.  She was a talented, creative person, loved watercolor painting, crocheting, photography, gardening, and genealogy.  I am sharing a few photos here of her work.  She loved getting new painting books, and I expect those shown here came from patterns (so I am not able to attribute them to designer), but it gave her great pleasure to learn.

I like to think perhaps my creative bent came from her, and ability to work with my hands, from my father.

For 20 years or so, I would often pick her up and drive us to fabric shops, yarn shops, art/craft shows, and to towns like New Glarus, Mineral Point.  We had wonderful days out together, with lots of talk and laughter.  Then I had to move away, and for 20 years have missed those good times, except when I drove down to visit.  I had hoped after moving back, we would have more fun times together, but it is not to be.  I miss our frequent phone conversations to catch up on family and what we had each been doing.  Life has become emptier without her, yet has now given me the opportunity to spend time with my dad.  We miss you, Mom.  I thank God you are at peace and no longer in pain.  I will love you forever, and never forget you.  



A favorite watercolor.

She also painted with acrylics, painting birdhouses, ornaments, and Christmas balls.

Even the shed received her gifts, she could see this from the dining room and kitchen windows.

She enjoyed crocheting pillows with fine cotton.  Ripple afghans (not shown) were also a favorite. 

In addition to losing my mother, there have been other losses over the past 13 months.  I wrote of losing my pet cat Mokey last November.  In mid-December 2010 I lost Mitzi (below), then in October 2011, Muffin, followed by Keesha about three weeks ago.  When you have lost your husband and your kids are grown and gone, your pets tend to become even closer companions.




Mitzi, lounging by the woodburning range, her favorite spot in winter.


Muffin (left) and Moses, napping.


Keesha, summer 2011.
 I am looking forward to the New Year, and spending much more time weaving.  I plan to get back to blogging somewhat regularly, with my first post of 2012 about my week at VavStuga in November.  If we don't lose power from the snowstorm and wind, I hope to have that one posted tomorrow, January 1st.


5 comments:

Laura said...

Sending you best wishes for a better 2012.
Laura

MadCityMike said...

A beautiful tribute to all of your loved ones. I, too, hope that 2012 will be a much better year for you.

LaVonne said...

Lovely, Janice! Thank you for sharing. I am sure it was cathartic for you to put that post together. You are lucky to have had such a neat mom and a wonderful relationship with her. You are blessed. Cherish the memories.

shiborigirl said...

lovely memories. carry them forward with you into a bright and beautiful new year!

DS, St. Paul MN said...

Your mother was a true artist, and you are very fortunate to have followed so closely in her creative footsteps.