Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celebrating My Mom's Life: Trudy Johnson

My mom, Trudy Johnson, May 1925 - July 2012

Some of you have already heard about my mom Trudy's passing on from this world a few days ago at the age of 87. But many of you don't know what an extraordinary woman she was.

A friend just asked me what my mom's secret was - how exactly did she do it? Raising five kids all by herself, and all of us were motivated, with ambitions, and grew into successful productive adults. My friend wanted to know what she could do to instill these ethics and motivations in her own children.

My mom Trudy, age 5

The truth is, I really don't know how my mom did it. I think back to the those times, of the difficulties and challenges she was faced with, widowed in 1963 at age 38 and left to raise five kids all by herself, ranging in age from thirteen down to ten months. We had moved from New York City to the small border town of Douglas, Arizona, when I was just four - and seven short years later, we lost my dad. Even though both Mom's and Dad's families were back in New York and they begged her to move us all back there, she decided to stay in Arizona, feeling that it was a better place to raise her children. I can't imagine how different our lives may have been had she moved us back to NYC.

Our last family photo before my dad passed away in 1963.

I cannot say enough good things about Douglas, AZ. It was like we had this huge extended family around us. The town couldn't have been bigger than 15,000 people. I am so grateful that I grew up there. Even though it was culturally lacking in the types of events and activities that big cities have to offer, there was always plenty to do. Every summer, the Johnson kids went swimming, took tennis lessons, played on ball teams, and rode our bikes everywhere. We always had friends over to the house, and my brothers and I were in all the school plays and musicals and starred in those hilariously comical plays written by the fabulous Wynne Strom down at the church - the Johnson kids were such big hams that she actually wrote specific parts for us.

Christmas in Douglas, Arizona, 1958

My mom encouraged us to pursue our interests and she was a great believer in having a back-up plan. For example, my brother Barry wanted a career in music, so she insisted that he get his teaching degree so he could also teach voice, just in case. And Barry now does both - teaches and has a singing career. My brothers and I all had such diverse interests - we all went into such different careers and all chose such different paths in life.

The Johnson Clan starts growing, adding daughters-in-law and grandchildren - 1976

Mom supported us in whatever we wanted to do, never missing an event where one of us was performing, or graduating, or playing. She was even honored with a big trophy by the Little League Baseball team that all my brothers played on - she never missed a single ballgame in about 20 consecutive years, not even the week she gave birth to my baby brother. Of course, I kidded with her that she should have shared that trophy with me, because I too went to all of those ballgames to cheer on my brothers or to man the concession stand.

Backstage after one of my brother Barry's performances as Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute - Colorado, 1980s

She was involved in everything - PTA, several women's groups, church, Community Concerts, local politics, the Blood Bank - I can't even begin to name all the organizations she was a part of. She was always busy making costumes for this play or that, or hosting a meeting for one of her organizations. She was even named Lady of the Year in Douglas one year, and ran for mayor a few years later. But she narrowly lost. Probably a good thing.

I remember her picketing outside the local movie theater when they were going to raise the price of admission. And I remember that my brothers had a paper route, and she got up with them every morning at oh-dark-thirty, helped them fold the papers and bag them, and then drove them around the route as they threw the papers while hanging off the open back door of the station wagon. I know because I went many mornings myself with them. We were a family and we did things together. And my mom was a great role model for us all, teaching us to never give up, to finish whatever we started, and to go after our dreams.

My mom and dad's wedding in 1949, with her parents

My mom tried her best to treat each one of us equally so we didn't feel that she loved one of us more than the others, while at the same time making each of us feel special. At Christmas she made sure that each one of us kids had the same number of gifts to open. But then she withheld those gifts until we had written thank you cards to everyone. At Easter, she carefully counted out every jelly bean or chocolate egg so we all had the exact same number of candies in our baskets. At Thanksgiving, our house was the place to be, overrun with adults and kids alike, with mostly the families of teachers in Douglas - the Huddlestons, the Rehureks, the Pierces, and the Levras. Since we all had no other family in town, they became our family.

Mom with three of her grandkids in 2003

Our house was always filled with laughter and jokes, and many times Mom was the butt of those jokes. There were funny things that happened that she was never able to shake off - like the day we came home from school and saw her leg dangling down from a big hole in the living room ceiling and heard her yelling "Help me!" She had been putting away Christmas decorations and lost her footing. Luckily she didn't fall all the way through, but she couldn't wrangle her way out of there until we got home from school. I don't remember how long she had to dangle there like that, but we all sure got a lot of mileage out of that incident.

Getting silly with two of her grandsons

Another funny memory of Mom is the video we have of her on a family vacation to Disneyland. All of us kids were filmed enjoying the rides, eating, and laughing, but throughout the whole video, each time we filmed Mom, she was coming out of a different restroom. It was those darn water pills she had to take half of her life!

Family Reunion celebrating Mom's 70th birthday - 1995

Being in the travel business for many years, I feel fortunate that I was able to take Mom on some nice trips to Hawaii and Europe. But I never heard the end of it when I took my mom to Australia and she couldn't find her passport when we got to the airport to return home. I had to leave her in Australia to find her passport, and I came back all by myself. Luckily she found it and came back the next day, but boy, did I ever get ribbed for abandoning my mom in Australia.

Clowning around in Austria with family in 1989

And then there was the time when my daughter Shaune and I were both quite pregnant, and we brought Mom to my home when she had just been released from the hospital after having had back surgery. Somehow she fell down as she was entering my house, and Shaune and I couldn't lift her up. So she had to crawl all the way to the bedroom, and then Shaune and I pushed her up from behind onto the bed while we were all hysterically laughing. Ah, good times...

Mom with two of her grandsons in Washington

Growing up I knew we weren't rich, but she made sure we all had everything we needed even if she couldn't afford to get us all everything we wanted. She taught us to be thrifty. I remember during the summer when she would drop us kids off at the public pool and she gave us money for our admission plus an extra dime so we could call her on the pay phone when we were ready to be picked up. But we had a special code when we called - we would let the phone ring twice and hang up, and this was her signal to pick us up. That way, we got the dime back because the call wasn't completed.

At barely 5 feet tall, her sons towered over her

She was well known around town as the Avon Lady - she sold Avon for more than 30 years. I used to love helping her put together her orders, and I can still remember the smells of those boxes of products and those small samples of lipsticks, perfumes or creams she used to give me.

My mom wasn't known for her cooking prowess, but that was probably because she had a houseful of finicky eaters. We used to tease her about her lumpy mashed potatoes and her lumpy chocolate pudding, and then we'd tease her that they weren't lumpy enough. I remember when we had a guest over for dinner one night, and my brother Roy brought out a plate of leftover pancakes, telling the guest that it was my mom's attempt at making bread and to just eat it and say it's good so my mom wouldn't feel bad. Mom usually stuck a pot roast with potatoes in the oven that baked while we were at church on Sunday mornings - there was always plenty of food for the extra friends we inevitably invited home with us for lunch.

A smaller family reunion in 2011, all but one brother was present and accounted for.

She turned 87 this past May and since I couldn't be there with her to celebrate, I wanted to do something special for her that I knew she would appreciate. A few days before her birthday, I put a message out on my Facebook page calling on friends and family to wish her a Happy Birthday. I had my sister-in-law Sandy print off all of the messages and after the traditional family birthday dinner, everyone sat around the table and took turns reading aloud the more than 150 birthday greetings I had collected. Some remembered something special about her, and others remarked about how influential she had been in their lives. My mom was very touched and moved by all of the greetings from people in her past that she thought had long forgotten her. It was the best gift I could have given her. There are so many more wonderful memories I have of my mom. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

My mom's 87th birthday in May 2012

At the end, her dementia had gotten worse and getting her meds at the right dosages was a real challenge. The side effects of the meds gave her terrible diarrhea and extreme tiredness. She always asked me when I was coming back, but the last two times we spoke, she didn't ask. She sounded like she had given up and was just ready to move on to the next life. She was admitted to the hospital with severe dehydration on Friday, July 6, 2012, went into kidney failure and was in a semi-comatose state. By the next day she seemed to be improving, producing urine which indicated that there wasn't any permanent kidney damage.


Family Reunion photo in 2003 in Gig Harbor, Washington

My brothers Roy and Barry live in the area, and they and their wives took shifts being with Mom. They played the music she loved from her favorite musicals - The King and I, Sound of Music, and Oklahoma. She had her eyes closed and she couldn't talk or sing, but she mouthed the words and moved her arms to the beat. I can just see her doing that. Mom passed on very peacefully in the wee hours of Sunday morning, July 8th. I am thankful that she went fast and didn't suffer and that Roy was with her at the time, to usher her gently into the next life where my Dad has been waiting almost 50 years for her. I'm sad that I couldn't be there with her at the end. It's hard living so far away - every time I would leave her these past few years to go back to Saudi Arabia, I always thought, is this going to be the last time I ever see her? And this time, it was.

Mom helping me celebrate my 60th birthday in October 2011

She was a very strong woman and had more common sense than anyone I've ever known. I will miss her pretty blue eyes (although she insisted they were green) and her sense of humor, which she had to have raising her five prankster children. Our mom never remarried and took great delight in all of her children's accomplishments - Roy, the oldest, now a retired airline pilot; Me, her only daughter and the cause for all her gray hair; Doug, a retired mining engineer and once mayor of his town; Gary, an author and a statistician with the NCAA; and Barry, the youngest, who is an opera singer and teaches voice. She also leaves behind 11 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. My mom always wanted a big family - she was a lonely, only child and longed to have a houseful of kids, which she got. Sometimes later in her life, when she was feeling rather useless as she aged, we needed to remind her what a wonderful job she did in raising us. Heck, not one of us has ever been in jail, and not one of us even smokes cigarettes! How did she do that?

4 generations - Mom, me, my daughter Shaune, my son Adam, and my granddaughter Kayla

We have chosen to have a "Celebration of Our Mom Trudy's Life" instead of a traditional funeral, and I think she would approve. This memorial service will be held on Friday, August 10th at 2pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 3615 N. Gove Street in Tacoma, Washington. I am making plans to go the US in the next 2-3 weeks so I can be there with my family and my mom's friends to say goodbye to our amazing and extraordinary Trudy. All of my brothers and their wives and families will also be there, along with my own two kids and my granddaughter Kayla. My husband Adnan won't be able to come because it will be the middle of Ramadan, and it's quite difficult to travel such a distance when one is fasting. But I know he will be there with us all in spirit.

Trudy Johnson, still beautiful in her 80s

If there is any way that you can join us to celebrate our mother's life, we would love that. If you are in one of those hot places like Arizona, or Florida, or Texas, I must say that Tacoma is quite heavenly in August, and it would be a great respite for you from the heat of summer. And "heavenly" is a good way to describe the sendoff we will be giving our wonderful Mom.

Thank you all for your friendship, concern, and love that you have shown for my family and our very special Mom.

With love and peace -
Susie of Arabia / Susie Johnson Khalil

92 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to your mom.......Your are blessed, I'm sure you know that.

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    1. Thank you, Janice. I do feel blessed. I also feel lucky to have 4 wonderful brothers I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I hit the jackpot when it comes to family.

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  2. What a beautiful tribute to your wonderful mother. Your love a pride comes trough loud and clear. Please accept my condolences for your loss.

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    1. Hi Judy - Thanks so much. I'm thankful that she went so quickly, but at the same time, I don't think any of us were ready for it. She was quite a remarkable woman.

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  3. So sad to hear about your mother's passing, Susie. Such a touching tribute!

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    1. Thank you, LuckyOne - Writing about her has been very therapeutic for me.

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  4. Susie that was a very touching tribute to you mother. I never knew her but after reading your tribute it seems I did.

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    1. Thank you, Xavier. I'm glad I was able to give you an idea of the kind of person my mom was.

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  5. Susie,
    So sorry to read about the loss of you beautiful Mom. It sounds like she was a strong and caring woman...much like her daughter.

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    1. So good to hear from you, Lori. Thanks for your friendship.

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  6. I am so sorry for your very great loss.

    Your mother sounds like she was an incredible woman and Mother. How lucky you all were to have her as your Mom.

    May she feel the love when you all congregate to remember and rejoice her life.

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    1. Hi Amy - Thank you so much for your condolences. I'm sure we will all have a wonderful time remembering Mom at the tribute we have planned for her.

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  7. At first congrats for your mother 87th birthday. Looks like a great family with an ideal mother. So lucky by getting a chance to enjoy all of the pictures. Wish for your mother healthy life.

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  8. Wonderful pictures to flesh out a wonderful tribute and history.
    You were fortunate to have such a mother.
    May her memory be a blessing. God comfort the mourners.
    Thank you for inspiring us by sharing this story, dear Susie.

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    1. Thank you, Dina - it's good to hear from you. Our family gathering was comforting for us all. Thanks for thinking of me.

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  9. What a beautiful and touching tribute to your mother. So sorry to hear of your mothers passing.

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    1. Thank you so much, UmWaleed - I appreciate your comment.

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  10. Condolences on the loss of your mother - she was a remarkable woman with a great family. So glad you are able to travel back for the service. Have a safe trip.

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    1. Hi Diane - I'm glad that I will be among my loving family members soon. Thank you.

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  11. So sorry to hear about your loss :( Your mom was an amazing woman, very inspiring!

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  12. Dear Susie,

    I am so sorry to read that your Mother passed away. I discovered your blog recently but I feel very touched by your loss. You are an amazing person and blessed very much with such a great family!

    M.

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    1. Hi M - Thanks so much for your kind comment. It's much appreciated.

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  13. That was a beautiful tribute to your mother! It's hard for a daughter to lose her mom, no matter what her age is. I lost mine almost 10 years ago and miss her so much to this day. Thank you for sharing your memories with us, Suzie.

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    1. Hi Jeanette - I still miss my dad, and he's been gone almost 50 years now. I'm glad I have this platform with which to share how wonderful my mom was. Thanks for your comment.

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  14. Glenda Scalzo PayneJul 12, 2012, 4:49:00 PM

    Susie, we wish we could be with you and it would be lovely to get out of our Arizona summer but we just got back from visiting my Mom in Wisconsin who is now 98 and I know that someday I will be going through what you now are doing so gracefully. Gordon and I have you in our hearts.

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    1. Hi Glenda - Wow, Gordon's mom is 98 now? What an amazingly long life she has had. I'm glad you were able to go and visit her. Thanks for thinking of the Johnson family.

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  15. I'm sorry for your loss. Your mother sounded like a wonderful woman.

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    1. Thank you, Panya. Thanks so very much.

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  16. I read your blog with MUCH happiness and sadness!! I am SOOOOO sorry for your loss...as an expat living in a sand pit for 14 years, can relate to your post....just know that there are many many people out here that are givimg you s virtua; hug ccccc

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    1. Hi Muscateeress - Thank you - I can feel the love.

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  17. Susie, I know that Trudy would be so proud of you for writing this lovely account of her character and accomplishments. Of course, her biggest accomplishment was raising such a great family as a single mom!
    I remember her fondly as a part of our happy days in Douglas. I do hope that your wonderful memories of her will help you deal with your sorrow. My deepest condolences.

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    1. Thank you so much, Margie - I do have nothing but good memories of my mom and I know they will sustain me and my brothers. Thanks again - it's good to hear from you.

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  18. Such a lovely tribute to your mom, Susie. Though I didn't know her well at all, her reputation as an extraordinary woman was well known around Douglas. I know that she had to have been extremely proud of each of her children's accomplishments. She was blessed to have been surrounded by children who obviously loved her so much. My deepest sympathy to you and your brothers as you both celebrate and grieve the passing of your sweet mother.

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    1. Hi KellyS - Thank you so much for your lovely comments about my mom. We will all miss her greatly.

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  19. This is wonderful. I so enjoyed "meeting" your mom and seeing her with her family this way. Thank you for sharing these memories. I know she will be missed by many.

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    1. Hi Susanne - I'm glad I am able to share how wonderful my mom was with so many people who didn't have the pleasure of knowing her. Thanks so much for your comment.

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    2. Susanne - I feel lucky that I am able to share how wonderful my mom was with so many people who did not have the good fortune of knowing. Thank you for your comment.

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  20. Nice tribute to your mom, my condolences
    Your husband could easily travel with you
    You do not need to fast while on a journey

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    1. Hi Anonymous - Thank you. It's a bit more complicated than just the fasting. There are other reasons as well for why my husband cannot make the journey with me.

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  21. I am so sorry for your loss. Your words are so moving and touching. They remind me of how lucky I am to have the family that I have too and I should make more of an effort to see them. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing. God bless you and your family.

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    1. Hi Angel - I'm glad my post about my mom reminded you about the wonderful family you are blessed with too. Take care.

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  22. I was so sorry to learn of your mom's passing. May God ease your grief and grant you patience during this difficult period. Your story of your mother is moving and beautiful. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    Sarah

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    1. Thanks so much, Sarah - I'm glad you enjoyed this special personal post about my mother.

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  23. So sorry for your loss, Susie. I can tell from the sweet pictures that she was a kind, fun, and beautiful person, inside and out! God bless you and keep you as you and your family through this difficult time. I, like all the others before, thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute to your mom.

    "Ajnabiya"

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    1. How nice to hear from you, Ajnabiya - I hope life is good in your neck of the woods. I'm glad you enjoyed "knowing" my mom thru this post.

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  24. Susie,
    Im so glad you had many happy memories of your mom.
    What a great challenge to bring up a family alone and an inspiration to everyone.
    God bless her - and you
    Tony

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    1. Hi Tony - "Inspiration" is a very fitting word to describe my mom. Thanks.

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  25. I'm sorry for your loss Susie. Beautiful post, beautiful woman.

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  26. Dear Susie,

    longtime reader here -- I'm terribly sorry for the loss of your mother. It's a beautiful tribute you've created, and I hope that you will find the time back with your family to be a wonderful experience of memory and sharing. Tears and laughter are not a bad combination, as you know....

    Keep well.

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    1. Thank you so very much. Our family time together was actually quite healing for us all - and we did make more wonderful memories together. There was a nice mixture of laughing and crying.

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  27. Hey!Such a beautiful tribute to your mom.......Your are blessed, I'm sure you know that.Thank for posting and so much.I really like its.Islam in
    reunion



    Thank


    Zainab

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    1. Thank you, Zainab - I do know that I am blessed with a wonderful family.

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  28. My deepest sympathies for your loss. May her soul rest in eternal peace. Regards, Tariq Al-Maeena

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    1. Thank you, Tariq - Your kind words are much appreciated.

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  29. What kind, loving words. Nothing, nobody is more fundamental to a person's life than a mother. From the text and pictures, she was a doll - full of life and loved by all. Bless the many years she was there for you and the family. Jay

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    1. Dear Jay - Thanks so much for your comment. I'm really glad I was able to share with the world just how extraordinary she was.

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  30. Hi Susie,
    I am so sorry for the loss of your mom. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Love,
    Andrea C.

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    1. Thanks so much, Andrea - I am overwhelmed by everyone's kindness.

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  31. Thanks for sharing your mom with us. It was a lovely tribute. I live in the tri-cities. Enjoy your time in Washington.

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    1. Hi Midge - You are most welcome. And thanks for expressing your appreciation.

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  32. Oh Susie, I hadn't check your blog in a couple of weeks. I am terribly sorry that you lost your mother. She was beautiful! Always smiling in every photo! She looked proud! And you are correct in saying she was a wonderful woman - she raised 5 children practically by herself. She is my hero, and I'm sure she is yours as well. Please accept my condolences Susie. Francesca from Ottawa, Canada

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    1. Thanks so much, Francesca - My mom was a very special woman and truly was a hero in every sense of the word.

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  33. HI SUSIE, I WAS SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR MOM. SHE WAS TRUELY AND EXCEPTIONAL LADY. I FEEL BLESSED TO HAVE KNOWN ALL OF YOUR EXTRA ORDINARY FAMILY FOR SO MANY YEARS. WE HAVE SO MANY MEMORIES THAT HAVE ALL OF YOU IN THEM. WE WILL SEE YOU ON THE 10TH TO HONOR THE LADY SHE WAS. LOVE AND HUGS TO ALL OF YOU, ROBIN AND WENDY JEWELL

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    1. Hi Robin and Wendy - I was so happy to see you both at my mom's tribute. I wish we could have visited for a bit longer. Thank you so much for coming and sharing in our celebration of my mom's life.

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  34. I am sorry for your loss Susie,amazing woman! and always so beautiful.

    Nassima

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    1. Thank you, Nassima - I appreciate your sympathy.

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  35. Dear Susie,
    i have been following your blogs from last 3 yrs,i have found ur blogs interesting and felt many times to put a comment but then never did...this time around i thought of writing to you to express my condolences on your loss.
    every one who comes to this world have to say bye one or the other day, all matters is what one does in this alloted time, he or she will be remembered for that and your mom for sure has done her part in the best possible way. And like you said, her life has to be celebrated and your tribute to her is real touching....

    rgds
    B Raghav

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    1. Hi Basanth - I'm so glad that you finally felt compelled to comment. Thanks for your kind words.

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  36. Wonderful Images of love..The love who made you leave the wonderful country of Arizona and Washington behind to come and live with your sweetheart faraway in the desert of Saudi Arabia,,God bless.

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    1. Hi Free Spirit - It's nice to hear from you. Thanks for thinking of me.

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  37. I just wanted to tell you what a beautiful tribute that was to your Mom. I feel like I know her from all the wonderful things you wrote. What a lady! Your family is in my thoughts and prayers!

    Terri

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    1. Thanks so much, Terri. I'm glad I could give you a glimpse of the wonderful woman who was my mother.

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  38. Dear Susie,
    This must be the 6th time I have read your wonderful tribute to your Mom, and I still well up every time.
    I just want to wish you and your family well for your Mom's 'celebration' funeral that is to be tomorrow the 10th August. I trust your journey back to the states was pleasant and you have the best time you can in the circumstances with your wonderful, loving family.
    Peace be with you all,
    Much love and respect,
    Julie x x x

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    1. Hi Julie - Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know that you enjoyed my tribute to my mom. The celebration of my mom's life went well. We had a great family reunion and enjoyed remembering Mom together.

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  39. Dear Susie, I read your whole post with much attention and care. How proud you can rightly be of your mother, and how blessed you are to have had her as your mother. Her presence and spirit shines in all the photos you posted of her, from radiant child and bride to beautiful grand-mother. I am glad you took the time to write about her in such detail. It's such a wonderful tribute to her. My deepest thoughts go to you and your family.

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    1. Dear Nathalie - It's good to hear from you. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about and seeing the pics of my wonderful mom and my special family. Thanks for your kind words.

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  40. so sorry for your loss.my mother,who was 80,was buried the day before valentines day.it has been so hard still and i miss her so much.

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    1. Hi Princess - I am so very sorry to hear about your mom. It's so hard losing our parents. I still grieve for my dad and he's been gone almost 50 years...

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  41. Wow Susie, what a family, what a tribute....I am not envious per se, just know I will never experience what you have. You honor her tremendously. I hope that your time in the NW is everything you need and deserve right now.Beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Julia - I have a very special family and I know I am blessed. Thanks for writing.

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  42. Asalamu Alaykom from Egypt,

    So much of what you wrote touched me. I'm fasting and feeling very sensitive but I can't blame it all on my day. No, you wrote love into every sentence. I'm crying when I shouldn't be.

    In many ways, you had the mom I wished I could have had. That amount of giving and caring is really tremendous. You were blessed for so many years. Alhumdulillah. Truly you had SO MUCH with her which will remain. It is in every picture. It's in your memories. Some people NEVER have what you have had. Mashahallah. And of course it lives on in you, your brothers and your children.

    It's hard for me to read about her dementia at the end. My father has Alzheimers and I know how he used to email me bi-weekly asking me where I was and when I was coming back. He doesn't do that now. Yes, I think they make peace somehow with how life is; maybe with knowledge that they can't change a thing.

    I understand why you couldn't be with her. The end is not the everything. You were with her so much. Alhumdulillah. She knows that love you had together. That's what remains---even after her "ending". Inshahallah you'll be together again at the end of time.

    Sending you love and light!

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    1. Hi Yosra - Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I'm sorry to hear about your dad. May God bless you and your family.

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  43. Susie, I just now popped into your blog and read about the sad death of your wonderful mother. Your tribute to her is something that would make her very proud. Sorry for your loss.

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  44. Hi Susie,
    This is a wonderful tribute to your mother. I liked her very much. She was a very beautiful and interesting woman. I just saw her picture on my parents' refrigerator this past weekend and was thinking of her and of all your family. (My parents are Pete and Rose Neff.)
    My best to all of you.
    Susan Lyon

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    1. Hi Susan - Sorry for my late response. Thank you so much for your comment. It came in right when I was preparing to return to Saudi Arabia, and I guess it got lost in the shuffle. I'm so glad you had the pleasure of knowing my mom. She was a very special person and a great mom. I am very fond of your parents too. Thank you again.

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  45. Hello,

    I just popped into this blog by chance while surfing the web, I have been reading quite a lot in few hours and I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed reading this article and it moved me so much that I got tears in my eyes. This tribute to your mother was wonderful and it made me regret that I did not get to know such a woman. She must have been someone.

    Thank you for sharing her story.

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    1. Thanks so much, Blandine. I really appreciate your comment. Not a day goes by when I haven't wanted to pick up the phone and call her. It's been hard since she passed, but I try to focus on the countless wonderful memories I have of her - and it helps. Thanks again.

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  46. A beautiful tribute to your mother. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  47. Hello, just to let you know someone is using your pictures and copy and pasting their picture to your picture and using it on their facebook page

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