Moving my Mother…. Again

Rest in Peace Mother

Yesterday my Mother was moved again…into the heavens. I wrote this tribute to her several years ago and now she is in her final resting place. I thought I’d share again with a few updates as it pleases me to review the photos in remembrance of her lovely life. It was only last week we celebrated her 95th Birthday via a Zoom celebration. The entire family from all over the country participated. It was a happy day as she wore a tiara surrounded by fresh flowers. How she contracted Covid we do not know but it was not a battle she could win at her age. She was asymptomatic and died peacefully in her sleep.

95th Birthday Zoom Celebration
95th Birthday Zoom Celebration

We don’t “lose” our Mothers.

Recently I read: There’s nothing good that comes out of the death of someone you love, but I have learned this: the magnitude and bottomlessness of the pain you feel is a testament to the love you shared. I know that I am so, so lucky to have loved and been loved that much by anyone.

That may be small consolation against the howling wind of sadness that is blowing through my friends’ lives right now, but it’s the best that I can offer. That pain you’re feeling is directly proportional to how much you loved and were loved.

It does not ever, apparently, go away altogether, but over time the howling diminishes to a roar, which degrades to a sigh. And you find yourself able to go about your life again, though sadder, different. Be gentle and kind to yourself and honor each stage of what you’re feeling. I’ve been blessed to have had my Mother in my life for so long and to have had her so close by for the last 35 years.

On her birthday we drove by her former home in Seattle and she would have been so very pleased to see how prettily it is decorated. She wanted to drive by every time we brought her over to dinner and the last time she met the new homeowners who invited us in! Sadly we didn’t get to as we haven’t been able to visit each other except through a window since March.

Mom's Former Home-Christmas 2020
Mom’s Former Seattle Home-Christmas 2020
Mother at 90
Mother at 90
Mother at 70
Mother at 70

From my Original Story:

We are moving my Mother again today. At 92 years old she needs more care. I am sad as her current one bedroom apartment in a Senior Living Community was just so perfect for her when we moved her two years ago. After a stroke last month she requires more care and attention so has to move to a much smaller studio which is closer to the nurse’s station. I am feeling sentimental and want to share some of the highlights of my Mother’s wonderful long life.

A Love for Traditional Design

Since I was a little girl, my Mother and I toured all the mansions up and down the East Coast. Visiting Williamsburg many times, Sturbridge Village, Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village outside of Detroit, Designer Show homes, open houses and museums all contributed to my love of furniture and decor. Growing up in Philadelphia there was a plethora of historic homes to visit. We would often take a Saturday and drive to Delaware to see the DuPont home of Winterthur. We toured the White House in Washington DC when I was only 9 years old. Our mutual love of home decor is the reason I am an Interior Designer today. I excelled in my history classes whenever there was mention of interior furnishings and I love studying sets of TV shows and period movies especially. She gave me my love for traditional design and antiques.

More about my Mother

She has always lived in the prettiest of homes. We have had a few painted for keepsakes and these will definitely hang on her walls in the new apartment. Unfortunately we did not take many interior photos. Mother grew up in Center City Philadelphia in a two bedroom apartment home which today has been renovated and is even more beautiful. We lived about 7 miles away and would visit my grandparents several times a week.

Regent Street Philadelphia
Regent Street Philadelphia- My Grandparents Apartment Building for over 50 Years
Our home outside of Philadelphia
Our home for 22 years outside of Philadelphia where I grew up

We lived outside Philadelphia for 22 years near Swarthmore College where my Mother was a librarian. I was in college when they moved to the Poconos where they lived for 10 years. My father died suddenly at age 58 and when my Mother was 62 she sold their “Gentleman’s Farm”. It was too much maintenance although she loved driving the tractor to cut the grass.

Oil Painting of our Pennsylvania Home in the Poconos
Oil Painting of our Pennsylvania Home in the Poconos

Attending my wedding in Seattle in ’86, she bought a house the following week. She bought a home large enough for my sister and her two young children to live with her. Mother worked at Sears (now the Starbucks headquarters) and my sister attended the Art Institute.

42nd Street Seattle
42nd Street Seattle

We have always been amazed that she never even had a coffee with another man even though we encouraged her to date. She worked part time until she was 80 at the YMCA. We will definitely be hanging these paintings of the homes in the new apartment.

Too Much Stuff!

I’m sad because all her lovely traditional furniture will no longer fit.

Art Nouveau Armoire
Art Nouveau Armoire
Aunt Elsie's Chinese Chippendale Curio
Aunt Elsie’s Chinese Chippendale Curio

I think my sister can fit the curio in her home. There are not enough walls for her large botanical prints or the Robert Furber monthly botanical prints that have graced a room in every one of her homes over the years.

April by Robert Furber
April Botanical by Robert Furber


Three Moves in Three Years

I know many of my readers have experienced similar “trauma” in downsizing their parents’ homes. And it is quite stressful. During the move two years ago I tried to fit a few small chests of drawers and tables into my home so I would not have to give them away. For sentimental reasons, I kept the Hekman glass and brass coffee table that is not really my style, but does fit in my Family room. I stripped and refinished the old dining table and reupholstered the chairs for my breakfast area. I actually love them!

Today I think the 18th Century High Boy will fit in my guest bedroom and there is a small marble dining table that I may use for a vanity in my Master Bedroom.

High Boy
High Boy

Down Sizing is a Good Thing…Keep Believing

She is not truly aware of what the move means, but she will not have a kitchen anymore. No need as she isn’t capable of making a pot of coffee and the toast keeps burning so it is not safe. All her meals will be served to her in a communal dining room. We already gave away 2 sets of China and now there is no need for the sterling flatware or the Limoges that we enjoyed at the family dinners for so long.

Beautiful Italian Dishes
Favorite Italian Dishes

She had a love of travel and traveled to Europe several times becoming a Francophile and collecting and loving all things French. My takeaway is to realize that the treasured items have provided much joy over the years.

Decorative Wall Plates
More Dishes!

And now it is time to let them go and appreciate our memories. I vow not to collect too much stuff. This cartoon I saw recently about sums up the state of our possessions!

Sunday Funny
Sunday Funny

Her most important possession by far is Daisy.

Daisy in her new Digs
Daisy in her new Digs
Today in the New Apartment
Today in the New Apartment

Donations Galore!

Two years ago we donated a truck load to various charities and I plan to take many boxes today again. Goodwill-cartoon


It is with deep sadness that these cherished accumulations cannot be kept forever. The grandchildren do not care for the “old-fashioned” style or are too transient or live in small apartments too.


Celebrating 90 with her Grandchildren
Celebrating 90 with her Grandchildren

But now I am so happy my niece wants to take the dainty pink flowered china!

Slowly I will unpack the framed pictures knowing they will not all fit. Many of the paintings were purchased in Paris when my Mother and I visited my friends. The Pessemiers are former Seattlelites who lived in Paris for a decade and now reside in Italy. They write a very interesting weekly column named ArtNotes about their painting experiences which I find fascinating.

Painting by Laurie Pessemier
Painting by Laurie Pessemier purchased in Paris
Painting purchased in Paris
Painting by Laurie Pessimier purchased in Paris

As I am writing this I realize my Mother’s little studio is much more organized than my own house which is now bursting with her stuff!

Things don’t Matter…except to Me!

And it is bittersweet that I don’t even think my Mom realizes that she has left so much behind in her move. The four poster bed she has had since marrying 72 years ago has a new home with a neighbor who happily appreciates it. We were able to keep the large stained glass window which adds a little color and style to the plain windows in her new “Living Room”.

Antique Stained Glass
Antique Stained Glass

I don’t think she cares all that much. She just wants to spend time with those of us she knows. Or at least recognizes…most of the time.

Reminiscing with Photos

Her favorite pastime is to look through old photographs. Many of them are not in albums or organized but those are the ones she seems to enjoy the most because she can read the notes on the reverse side. The following photograph is with her dog Pudgy and all her wedding gifts displayed.

Mother in her Wedding Dress with Gifts
Mother in her Wedding Dress with Gifts


Pop Pop with Mother circa 1927
Pop Pop with Mother circa 1927
Nana and Pop Pop Philadelphia circa 1945
My Nana and Pop Pop Philadelphia circa 1947

I’m writing this as a cathartic way to document some of my memories. I am cherishing each day and am grateful for the time I still have with my Mother. Most important to me is that she still knows who I am and is happy to see me. Occasionally she calls me Elizabeth! And as I was leaving today, not for the first time, she asked ” Who is your Mother?”

You can see from the photos that she has a light-hearted spirit and is mostly happy with her new surroundings! She has always been a diehard sports fan rooting for her beloved Phillies and Mariners, and Seahawks and Eagles and the Villanova Wildcats (my father’s alma mater). Sadly, it is difficult for her to concentrate on the games just these past few months.

Seahawks Tailgate 2017
Seahawks Tailgate 2017

Always ready to dress up for a special occasion, she can be the life of a party especially if there is an opportunity to dance. Oh how she loves to dance!

New Year's Eve 2017
New Year’s Eve 2017
Mom at 94-Summer 2019

She can call me any name she wants and as long as she is smiling that is just fine with me!

Postscript: you are loved and we will miss you.

19 thoughts on “Moving my Mother…. Again”

  1. Judy, what a beautiful tribute to your beautiful mother. What I know about the death of a loved one is that a little bit of ourselves die when they die but the love we have for them regenerates that spot. The love will not die. You have my deep sympathy. Judy Sw.

  2. Oh Judy, I am so sorry to hear the news of your Mom’s passing. My thoughts are with you and the Wright family.

    I have such very vivid and fond memories of so many times spent at your home and with your family so many years ago. I distinctly remember how much your Mom loved sports and followed them so avidly.

    I loved the pics, especially the one of your home on Cedar Avenue in Holmes.

    I will be sending you a personal message shortly.

    1. Thank you so much John. I am sure she would be happy to know you read all about her homes! I was just remembering that fun dinner we had at the Pink Door when you visited Seattle. How she got down those steps!… she was excited to see you!

  3. Judy,
    What an amazing and lovely tribute and remembrance of your sweet mom. You were both blessed to have each other. I had not read the first version and was so touched by your writing and photos today. I will be thinking of you and hoping you find comfort in knowing how much you were loved.

  4. Thank you for sharing your loving account of life with your mother. You write so well! I am sorry for your loss but what a joy to see the ones we have lost come alive in the faces of our offspring. Now that my own mother has passed a few years ago I am always surprised to see her reflection as well as my fathers in the faces and gestures of my children and grandchildren. I wish you comfort and much joy in 2021. Happy New Year!

  5. My heart breaks for you, Jude. No matter the when or why losing oue Mommies, as they will forever be remembered by us , leaves such a sadness and emptiness in our hearts. I am thinking of you and will be here if you ever need to talk. I love you.

  6. What a beautifully written tribute about a beautiful woman and her mark on the world and you, as her daughter. You are a shining example of her beauty, class, talent and exquisite taste Judith, and my heart hurts for your loss. Sending you and your family love and prayers for peace in your precious memories of her.

  7. Leslie Carothers

    Judith: I’m so sorry to read about the passing of your beautiful Mom. I loved reading about her long and fruitful life and through her life, about yours, too.

    Please accept my sincerest condolences ~

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to recieve more design tips? Subscribe below for my latest blog posts. 

Scroll to Top