- Always a Mother CB3 Buy 4:02
On May 13th, 2000, my father passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. There was a funeral at the retirement home where he and Mom lived in North Carolina. After the funeral which mom was able to attend; the three of us children drove — without Mom — to Fort Pierce, Florida to attend a second funeral service and Dad’s interment in the churchyard of our lifelong family church St. Andrew’s Episcopal.
After the service and reception, I was sitting in the airport awaiting my return flight to Chicago. I was thinking: “Who haven’t I called to check in with regarding Dad’s passing?” It occurred to me I hadn’t actually talked to Mom that day and she was dying of ALS back in North Carolina. She was unable to attend the funeral service in Fort Pierce, and thus unable to see her husband of almost 50 years interred in our church’s burial site.
After hanging up my call with mom, as I sat alone in the airport, I thought to myself I was so very blessed to be her son. There were so many people in Mom’s life that she had affected in such a positive way: she was, of course, a wife, a co-worker, a choir member, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, a daughter, and a community leader in our hometown. But to me, she was my ever-loving Mom.
As the months passed, it was apparent that Mom would be dying within a year of my father’s death. ALS is a horrible disease. To lose one parent to a mind-killing disease and the second parent to a body-killing disease was quite difficult for me and my siblings Suzanne and Don.
If you do a web search for “Tuesdays with Morrie,” you’ll see a similar story to what happened next. I began making monthly trips to her home in North Carolina, recording her life story. It became evident to me as I recorded those sixteen compact disks (technology in those days) of her life that she presented to me over the next half-year of interviews, she had many multi-faceted relationships.
By October 2000, I knew I wanted to make a tribute to this knowledge of her. I wanted to “speak” for these people that had meant so much to her and her so much to them. I wanted to give her the gift of this song on Thanksgiving, 2000. I did not yet know that she would die less than four months later.
Jean Mustaine Brown, as the song describes, was a marching band member, a real estate broker partner, a lifelong friend, a sister, a daughter, an alto soloist in our church, a wife of (just four months short of) fifty years, a cousin, an aunt, and a great grandmother. She befriended so many people during the course of her 77 years of life. Yet, to me, it was a unique relationship: to me, and throughout my lifetime of many ups and downs, she was Always a Mother.