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Memories of Mom

Ric Harrison, Clinical Research Manager at Oklahoma State University, shares memories of his mother's life and her death in the comforting care of hospice.

It’s the third Mother’s Day since my mom died. What I miss most about Mother’s Day is buying my mother a gift. I would sometimes start shopping months in advance so I could find just the right one. I always wanted to please her and I usually did.

My mother and I were close. I remember, as a child, we would talk for long periods. I would sit on her lap and she would tell me stories -- real ones and made-up ones -- and I loved listening to each story she told.

One of my favorite stories was about her job with the FBI and all the good she did to help people. I would tell anyone that would listen that my mother worked for the "FBE" (yes, I got it mixed up). I remember looking up at my mother’s face as she was telling me stories and I would see how beautiful she was! I didn’t learn until later in life that she had not worked for the FBI but had been a beauty queen!

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." Kahlil Gibran Tweet

I never thought of life without my mom. She was my rock, my stabilizer, and my favorite person ever. She was the only one that I felt complete, unconditional love from. She was there when I came out as gay, she was there through the years of my chemical dependency, and she was there when I was diagnosed with a terminal illness. It never crossed my mind that I would outlive her.

When my mother became ill, she had to go to a nursing home for a short while. When I arrived at the nursing home, I found that she was in the same room that her mother had been in just 3 years earlier. When my mom was closer to dying, she was then transferred to a hospice house, and when she was admitted, she was in the same room that her best friend had been in two years earlier.

That wasn’t a coincidence. Her mother and her best friend were there for her in spirit. She was surrounded by those that she loved so much: her husband, her three sons, their families, and a bunch of friends.

My mom was a huge University of Texas fan -- I mean HUGE! She was right there in front of the TV every game day and especially glued to the TV when they played the University of Oklahoma during the annual Texas State Fair. OU usually won but she faithfully rooted for her team, so it was always a big day for Mom whenever UT beat OU.

My mom died on October 11th, 2015 -- just hours after the University of Texas BEAT the University of Oklahoma.

Although it still saddens me when I think about my mother’s death (even unreal at times), I am able to look back and smile -- remembering the good times and the love she brought into my world.

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