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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Florence Smith July 1, 1923 - Oct 11, 2005

Florence Smith July 1, 1923 - Oct 11, 2005

Current mood:melancholy

Well, Mom finally decided she had had enough. Good for her.

My Mom was not a whiner or complainer. She was a simple person of simple means. She never had a sick day in her life and if she did, she did not advertise it. She was the breadwinner for the household due to my fathers "disability". She was the person who kept the place running on a shoestring budget while placing all of our needs above hers. I never appreciated that until I got older and had my own responsibilities. That gave me a new respect for my Mom.

After my Dad passed on about 8 years ago, my Mom got a new lease on life. My Mom lived pretty much under my Dad's thumb...old school marriage vow bs. There were times when I wondered why she put up with it but she did. Sometimes I respect her for that, other times I resent her for not having a spine. It all works out in the end though, dont it?

My Mom was not rich or educated or worldly by any means. She worked in service positions most of her life and worked hard. She retired from the school board...she was the lunchlady for many years. When we came to Florida around 1968, I remember her working as a waitress at the drug store luncheonette at Eckerd Drugs. Then she scored the good job with benefits at the school board...working in various lunchrooms until landing a permanent spot at Ormond Junior High. School work being seasonal, she worked the concession stands at the old Jai Alai fronton...eventually increasing her responsibilties to working in the office there for the foodservice franchise which contracted to the parimutual industry. Both jobs were seasonal, but there were the overlap periods where she would have to leave for work at 6:30 am, get home 3 ish and get ready to go do the night job til midnight, then start all over again. But I never remember being hungry. She split seasons between Jai Alai and the Dog Track and eventually landed full time at the Dog Track after her retirement from the school board. She worked for Daytona Beach Kennel Club until her sickness caused her to leave.

I was the youngest...a change of life baby that crept up on her in her 42nd year. My sisters have kids that are older than me. Being the youngest has its trials. I was picked on a lot by other family members, and my Mom always supported me, even if it were in secret. She sensed my responsibilty and always gave me enough rope to hang myself, whereas my father discouraged me and told me how bad I was and discouraged me from taking any responsibilty. I think history has proven who was more correct in their assessments.

My mothers mobile home was in need of repair and the house next to mine became available, so I bought the house and moved my Mom in. She got to enjoy it for 6 months before her health got bad. She has never gotten recovered from her issues, and my brother and I have spent the last several years taking care of her welfare and needs. She may have been somewhat helpless, but was not suffering much once home.

As the hospital stays got more frequent, so did her suffering. She was getting to the point where her return home seemed unlikely unless she came to move in full time. We were resigning ourselves to have her admitted into the rehab facility permanently. This was what were were initiating before this last incident.

Each day seemed to be getting worse. After the last hospital visit the doctor suggested turning her over to hospice. This was a good move as the facility and the staff made sure she was as comfortable as possible at the end.

They called me to let me know she was having a bad day...then they called right back to let me know she was gone. I got there right afterwards and sat with her for about an hour and a half. I had my calls forwarded to my cell and when it would ring, I would answer quickly so as not to wake her. My brother got there after I left and he shared a similar feeling...he said he bumped the bed and looked to make sure he didnt wake her, LOL! I guess that is the conditioning of being in that environment for so long.

The home was good about letting her stay in her bed until my sister could make it over from Tampa. My sister in Miami was not as fortunate though...they could not hold her there that long as nature was doing what it does to people who are not living.

That was a tough day...but I bucked up and made it to work. Thought that would be better, to be out in public...

Today I completed all of the arrangements for her cremation and tightened up a few other loose ends. There is so much to do. Just feeling a little catharsis in typing what is on my mind.

After all is done and dusted, I want to try to get away for awhile to decompress. It has been a long road.

My Mother is very beloved by her immediate family and friends. She will be missed. I will miss her. She always had my back...I am proud to have had the opportunity to get hers.

Love ya ma.

Florence leaves a brother in San Diego, a daughter in Miami, a daughter in Tampa, a son in Astatula, 2 sons in Deland, a step daughter in Las Vegas, a step daughter in Minneapolis and many grandkids and great grandkids.

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