Mom loved her coffee! This is Mom just 4 months before she had to go into a nursing home. We were definitely beginning to see her going downhill around this time, but she was still her sweet, loveable self!

This is a tribute to my mom, Dorothy Rose Anderson Bruning. If you're a return visitor, then you'll know that on P.1, I shared my mother with you and the fact that she suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. If you read P.1 now, you'll find that paragraph missing. Mom passed away Oct. 29, 1999, at the age of 78, and while she was afflicted with AD, her passing still came unexpectedly to us. She'd only been in a nursing home for 1 1/2 years.

Mom was always ready to travel anywhere with anyone. Her suitcase was always ready! This is me, my youngest, Annie, and Mom, at Niagara Falls, Canada, on a trip to Vermont, in 1994.

Like many mothers in a family, Mom was the center beam of our family of 7 kids. She loved life and never stopped wanting to learn new things. She loved to travel and enjoyed reading maps and studying geography. Sometimes we'd sit for hours around a campfire and travel around the world! Mom loved to camp and camped even after she went into the nursing home. My sister, Kathy, and I took her for a weekend to a pen pal reunion. She loved to pen pal and enjoyed seeing her friends, and it didn't matter if she didn't remember some of them. She still loved being with people. Mom was a waitress in her small town for many years, not retiring untill she was 65 years old. She kept up with the younger workers and could "wait circles around them!" Mom could be seen crocheting often in her spare time. Her goal was to see that each of her grandchildren had one of her afghans. After she died, we found 3 afghans upstairs that she'd completed, and those were given to the 3 grandchildren that hadn't gotten one yet. And the woman was OBSESSED with making dishcloths! Lord, she must've made and given away 3,000 of those things in the last 5 years of her life! It got to be a standing joke after awhile, because Mom would give us and others DOZENS of them each time and not remember the next time she saw us and would give us some more! Even after she died, we found dozens and dozens more in drawers! This very trait of Mom's brought laughter at her funeral, because we pinned one inside her casket. Anyone that knew Mom and the dishcloth story would start laughing when they saw it laying there! Mom would've liked knowing there was laughter to celebrate her life, because she loved to laugh and have a good time.

This was taken at Mom & Dad's 59th WA Open House that the family gave in their honor, while Mom was still able to be at home (just 2 months before she had to be placed in a nursing home). Pictured in back, left to right are Rosie (me), Scott, Dave, Deb (in front of Dave and his twin), Kathy and John. The oldest, Ron, was absent this day.

The best lesson Mom ever taught her children was how to be a good parent. She never walked away from us or turned her back on us, no matter what we had done or how we may have disappointed her at times (and let's be realistic here ~ with 7 children spanning 4 decades, there were bound to be some!). She always made sure we knew that she believed in us and it didn't matter if we went on to be a teacher or a ditch digger ~ Mom was equally proud of each of us.

As we all sat in her room at the nursing home for those 3 days with Mom (and Dad when he'd come down which was often, bless his heart, because he's in ill health as well), when some would get up and leave the room to stretch or go outside or just to get out of there, those left in the room would get up and move to a different chair. When the others would come back in, they'd take the empty chairs, so during the course of this 3 day bedside vigil, we'd find ourselves sitting next to someone different several times in a 24 hour period. It allowed us all to hold hands with, laugh with, cry with and comfort each of us at different times, so that by the time Mom's journey was ended, we'd all been next to each other more than once. We prayed together as a family in that room, either as we sat, or while standing and holding hands around Mom's bed, shared memories of our years growing up, cried and held each other and did whatever needed to be done to get us through it all, and I just felt that even as she lay dying, Mom was still doing what she'd done best for 60 years of her life, which was holding our family together. Even with her Alzheimer's, she knew us still and knew we were there.

Mom was the oldest child in her family but the last of her family generation remaining. Her parents and her 5 brothers and sisters died before her. As my brother, Dave, said at her funeral, "Mom was the last button on the coat." It's that last button on the coat that holds things in place and keeps everything warm inside. That was Mom.

Mom and Dad were married 60 1/2 years at the time of Mom's death.
The following is a poem that I believe Mom would be saying to her family now.........


When I am gone, release me, let me go, I have so many things to see and do, Please don't tie yourself to me with tears, Be thankful for our beautiful years.

I gave you my love. You can only guess How much you gave to me in happiness...

I thank you for the love you each have shown, But now it's time I traveled on alone.

So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must, Then let your grief be comforted by trust.

It's only for a time that we must part, So bless the memories within your heart.

I won't be far away, for life goes on. So, If you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can't see or touch me, I'll be near. And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear All my love around you soft and clear,

Then, when you must come this way alone, I'll greet you with a smile, and say "Welcome Home! "

POSTSCRIPT: Dad passed away peacefully on Oct. 18, 2002, shortly after waking up. Just a month earlier, 5 of his 7 children were home for the weekend to visit with him and each other. Dad was always happy to have his kids around him, and it was a good weekend of visiting, laughing and taking Dad out to play Bingo on Friday night, which he always looked forward to. I did something that weekend I'd never done before. I took home the video recorder and a tape of where we now live so Dad could finally see where we'd moved to. I also did a short video of him that weekend as well. I took my camera, too, and took photos. I rarely did this before. I'm so thankful I did now.

This is the last picture taken of just Dad and Me.
This is Dad and (from left to right) Me, Scott, and Deb, taken on our last visiting weekend with him.


Tholl Food For Thought: P.1 of my web page with my intro and more great links!
Rosie's Favorite Photos: Check out my photo page and meet family and friends and places I've traveled.

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