My Mother, Glenna Pierce Murray Foran
Italics notes added 24 January 2017
19 July 2002
Excerpt from a longer essay “2002: The Summer of My Discontent”
Friday night I drove to Defiance (Ohio) to spend a few days with my brother and his family and to visit my mother. She moves in and out of lucidity, but I was able to spend some quality time with her. I had thought that I might sing at her funeral. Didn’t There is an old Rainbow Girls’ song “You Are A Wonderful Mother” that I always enjoyed, so I took her outside to the garden area and sang it to her there, along with some old hymns that I know she likes. I’m not sure how much she comprehended, but I was thrilled to be able to do that for her before she dies. We don’t know when that will be, but this time I felt more at peace with that inevitability.
14 January 2003
My mother will be 80 years old on January 24. The way she is now is so different from the way I remember her. She was busy, active, attractive, never had trouble with attracting men, and had a great sense of humor. She loved to make wisecracks, sarcastic remarks, or little comments that would evoke laughter. She had a beautiful singing voice and was in the church choir for many years at Trinity Methodist Church in Xenia. This is the same church where two of my siblings were married and several of my cousins. It is the church I grew up attending, active in MYF and through which I attended summer church camp for at least two years when I was in high school.
My mother adored her grandchildren. She spoiled them relentlessly. They would be happy to tell stories of sitting in front of cartoons on the TV at her house and having her bring them poptarts and hot chocolate for breakfast – or anything they wanted.
After my father died in 1963, she was a 40 year old widow with four children, 17, 16, 12 and just 6. She hadn’t worked outside the home since she married my father in 1944.
24 January 2017
Mother finally died on 2 January 2005 after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease. And she did fight. At the end my brothers made the decision to not insert a feeding tube – after much agonizing and many tears. The evening before she died, her husband of many years may have whispered in her ear that it was okay to let go. I believe that she did what he said – mercifully and thankfully. I also believe that her strong will to live and be with her family kept her alive much longer than others with the same disease progression, but with no one holding on to them the way we all held on to Mother.
My mother would have been 94 today. I still miss her. I still talk to her. Unfortunately (or fortunately) she doesn’t answer me. As it turns out, I look so much like her that my younger brother, Morris, is creeped out when he first sees me during our all too infrequent visits. I can only hope my family feels about me the way we all felt about our mother.
Preserving our Memories
Yes, your grandchildren WILL appreciate your stories - someday - but your great grandchildren will appreciate them even more. How much would you pay to have a copy of the original story your 2nd great grandmother wrote about meeting her husband? How much would you pay for the original story written by your passenger on the Mayflower? I remember when I found an original letter written by my grandmother to her daughter, my mother. I was thrilled! My grandmother was literate! These were poor farmers from poor families and poor ancestors. There was no need for a woman at that time to learn how to read and write. My female ancestors needed to know how to farm, make clothes, cook from what was available, and cure without medical professionals or strange chemicals.
I can't imagine what I would give for a video interview with my 2nd great grandmother who - by all accounts - was a feminist who divorced her cheating husband in the 19th Century. Even Hillary didn't do that!
For anyone with no direct descendants, you have family and you will have family in 100 years. Your family is a lot more than what comes out of your womb. They will want to know. Look forward by looking back and recording what you see.