Tag Archives: my mom

(Great Grand)Father

There was a recent news story that reminded me of my family.

My dad’s maternal grandfather was a man everyone simply called Father. He wasn’t a Catholic priest, of course, but he was a deeply religious, pious man. I actually remember him; he died in the early 1960s when he was over 90. He was always decent to me, and my father adored him. But Father’s children clearly feared him. It was strange to me; he was a little old man, but my grandmother and her siblings, who were in their 50s and 60s were in terror of this diminuative fellow.

After he died, his house was cleaned out. Continue reading (Great Grand)Father


I must say that my friends have been most helpful to me in dealing with grief. Apparently, I had said something useful to a friend when her father died, which was at some point after my father died: “Just so you know, I often think of (and quote) your message to me after my dad died, that grief is a non-linear thing. Still happens, in the most unexpected places.”

Well, THAT’S right. Besides the situations already mentioned in this blog, in the past couple months, I’ve cried at:
* sad songs that have nothing to do with my mother, or death
* the mournful sound of train whistles
* an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”, where a young father dies before he can take his son to the big game; I believe he had a stroke, which might be a factor for me

Of course, the other thing that’s in play is that this is my LAST parent who is gone. As another friend in the same position noted Continue reading Grief

Assuming Facts Not In Evidence

One of the things that has puzzled, occasionally annoyed, but ultimately mystified me was that, when my sisters and I told people that my mother had died, and knowing that she hadn’t died in an accident or the like, not a small number of them, whether they got the news in person or by e-mail, said something along these lines of “I didn’t know she was sick.” Well, that’s just the thing; she wasn’t.

I’m stealing an e-mail my sister Leslie sent to one of those people. “She was not physically ill. In fact,she was feeling great, had just taken her shower and was getting dressed in anticipation of having the bus pick her up to take her to Adult Day Care. She complained about her head hurting, but did not have any of the typical stroke symptoms.

[Our sister] “Marcia decided to call 911 to be safe, again, not because she had the typical symptoms. They determined that she had had a massive stroke and moved her to a facility that has a better neuro dept.” This was referred to as a brain bleed, a rarer, and apparently more problematic, type of stroke, which measured 9 cm, when the “average” stroke is 2 to 3 cm.
Continue reading Assuming Facts Not In Evidence


My parents were married on March 12, 1950 in Binghamton,NY. I always found that very convenient to remember; I would often say that I was their early third anniversary present.

When their 50th anniversary was coming up – in 2000 (easy math!) – my sisters and I were trying to plan a surprise party at my parents’ church in Charlotte, NC. The only trouble was that there was an occasional conflict with the date, which was a Sunday. It turns out that my father was ALSO planning a surprise anniversary party at the church, for my mother. Once we were apprised of that fact, we gave up trying to surprise them both and concentrated on her.

So my sister flew in from San Diego, and my parents-in-law, my wife and I drove down from upstate New York, staying at a local hotel. My father did most of the decorations of the room at the church. my father needed to rest more often than he did just months before Continue reading Anniversary

February Ramblin'

I think I have an instinctive sense of balance about my blog between the personal and the other stuff (politics, popular culture, etc.). Obviously, that’s been skewed more than a little this month, and frankly, I’m all right with that.

Serene Green- the flower arrangement my office sent to my mother’s funeral (and which we brought to my parents’ gravesite

I received a bushel of great notes of condolences re: the passing of my mother earlier this month. Some came in the form of e-mails, others in comments to various blogposts. I received cards, e-cards, cards with flowers. This doesn’t even count the telephone calls and the face-to-face comments. One that struck me greatly was written by someone I’ve worked with for 17 years:
Continue reading February Ramblin'

The Lydster, Part 83: The $50 Headache

Back on January 29, my wife and my daughter went down to Saugerties, about an hour south of Albany, to go to the birthday party of her ten-year old twin cousins, my brother-in-law’s daughters. Carol and Lydia left late and so got to the party about a half hour after its 2:30 start time.

On the return trip, Lydia complained of a raging headache, which she described as “sharks sawing into my head” and “like I’m dying”. When she got home, she curled up in my arms, not wanting to eat. Continue reading The Lydster, Part 83: The $50 Headache

Random Post-Funeral Thoughts


My father died on a Thursday; we had the funeral on a Sunday, and he was buried on a Monday. My mother died on a Tuesday, and our first inclination was to have the funeral on the following Saturday. But, instead of working on the obituary or the program on that day, we sat around telling Trudy stories. I think, in some way, we died my father’s death the way he would have wanted his death to be handled, quickly and efficiently; it also helped that we knew my father wad going to die at least the day beforehand. Whereas mom’s death took us, and indeeed her long-time doctor, by surprise; her heart was still strong, even after the stroke, and we were having conversations about placing her in some medical facility after she got out of the hospital the very morning she died.

Once Saturday was off the table, we considered Sunday, but it was Super Bowl Sunday, on which my mother’s mother died; I remember getting the call during the 3rd quarter of the game in 1983. Besides, it was just different. My dad was the hare, my mother, the tortoise, and we all know that slow and steady win the race.

So, it was a Tuesday funeral Continue reading Random Post-Funeral Thoughts

Trudy's funeral program

Since, once again, I’m writing about this before the fact, I thought I’d describe the thought process behind what (presumably) took place at the service yesterday.

The front of the bulletin, in addition to the usual information, contains this scripture: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19). I think Leslie picked this scripture and it was pretty accurate. I opted for the New International Version, because most of the other versions mention only “brothers”, or “bretheren”.


In lieu of a wake, there was scheduled to be a time for the family to receive friends at the church from 1 to 1:45 pm. During this time, my niece Alex was putting together a bunch of photos of Mom, both solo and in various family combinations. At the same time, there would be secular music playing: Johnny Mathis, Ray Charles and especially her favorite, Nat ‘King’ Cole. She had a bunch of Cole 78s when I was growing up.

Prelude-“Sweet, Sweet Spirit”
Though ths is a reference to the Holy Spirit, she did in fact have a sweet spirit.

Lighting the Candle – the granddaughters
My mother had three granddaughters: Leslie’s daughter, Rebecca Staubes, who is 32; Marcia’s daughter, Alexandria Green-House, who turned 20 at the end of December; and Lydia, my daughter, who will turn 7 next month. Assuming Becky can get a flight, this will be the first time that Rebecca and Lydia have met, though the older two and the younger two are very tight. And Lydia has seen Rebecca on Wipeout.

Invocation – Rev. Cannon

Hymn of Praise- – “Goin’ Up Yonder”
Initially, it was going to be “I’ll Fly Away”, a song I always associate with that great TV show of the early 1990s, starring Regina Taylor a pre-“law & Order” Sam Waterston, as well as the soundtrack to the movie O Brother Where Art Thou. The final selection, though, I don’t particularly know.

Scriptural Reading: Proverbs 31:10-31
The Wife of Noble Character, or the Virtuous Woman, which Leslie picked out, and which her daughter Rebecca will read. Continue reading Trudy's funeral program

17 November, 1927-2 February, 2011

Writing an obituary is often a negotiated exercise when more than one person has to be satisfied with it. The one below I started writing. The mechanical stuff – who she’s survived by, e.g., – is easy, but I was having trouble with the middle section. So one sister wrote a bunch of stuff for that, then the other sister and I had to trim that down, not just for length (and thus cost), but because it was a bit disjointed. This is the Thursday night draft version, not yet approved by the first sister, but it’s close enough for the blog.

Incidentally, the website of the Charlotte Observer has annoying instructions for submitting an obit. It tells you to either call or e-mail for more information.

Interesting/strange thing about the photo to the left: my mom cut the neutral background out of the picture about two weeks before she died, and no one knows why, possibly not even her. It’s not as though there was someone else in the shot.

I suppose it is quite obvious, though probably inappropriate for me to say, that my mom was a real babe when she was younger.

CHARLOTTE – Gertrude Elizabeth (Trudy) Green, 83, of Charlotte, NC, passed away on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in Charlotte, NC. Born in Binghamton, NY, she was the daughter of the late Clarence and Gertrude (Yates) Williams, and the widow of Leslie H. (Les) Green, who died in 2000. She was a member of C. N. Jenkins Presbyterian Church Continue reading 17 November, 1927-2 February, 2011