Mom's 75th Birthday Party

After celebrating my dad's 75th birtday, I visited my mom. She wanted to know why I hadn't been there for her birthday. I promised I'd be there for her 75th birthday. In late February 2005, we found out that Mom was rapidly becoming a mom-shaped blob of cancer. We decided to go visit, and celebrate her 75th birthday, just in case she didn't show up for it in a couple more years. We told her she could have dinner anywhere we could get to in the car that evening (Morocco, for instance, was right out). She chose Shoneys there in Aiken, SC.

Click on any image to see a larger JPEG (all around 3/4MB).

Hail, hail, the gang's mostly here! Kinda. Bill and Laura had eaten with us the night before, and couldn't make it this evening, and Sharon and Gary, who'd been up for the weekend, were back in Brunswick. I forget where Kelly was, probably moving. But we had fun, anyway. I'm not in the picture because I'm hiding behind the camera (what a coward). Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the others, this trip. I think this was the only time I even remembered I had the camera.

Mom. Momma. Mother. Mommy. What else is there to say? If you had a mom who loved you, that's all that needs to be said. If not, you have my deepest sympathy; I hope and pray someone comes into your life to fill that void.

My sister, Kathleen. She's the crazy one in the family; she plays the pipe organ. But we love her, anyway. She and Bill and their spouses just poured themselves out to take care of Mom the last few weeks, just as Mom had so often poured herself into caring for us.

George goes with Kathleen. Guitar player, photographer, sound guy, and a million other things, and I want to publicly thank him for all his help, and for his unwavering support of Kathleen as she took care of Mom (and in everything else).

My wonderful wife, Sharon (as opposed to my sister, Sharon). How she puts up with me, I'll never know. But what a wife! At the drop of a hat (well, at the drop of a phone call), she organized everything in a couple of days to get Esther, her and me back to Georgia for this week. At the drop of a brain wave, she did the same thing in one day the next week, to get us back for the funeral.

My darling daughter, Esther. She also dropped everything for two weeks, a week apart, to come back and visit. Her support, along with Sharon's (and Josiah's the second trip; the army wouldn't let him come to this one) helped a lot.

The trained combat medic shows the correct way to approach a birthday cake preparatory to attack. Note the feral grin. Note the perfect, horizontal knife angle, blade ready to parry in case the cake realizes its danger and attacks first. Note the flexibility of the grip, thumb and fingers extended, in case she needs to flip the knife into an overhand stab position. Note the cell phone for calling either an air strike or an evac chopper, depending on how well prepared the cake's defenses are.

I'm not sure why we have this picture of two, random, short people. Probably just camera hogs.
Though they weren't here this night, thanks so much to my brother Bill and his wife Laura, who also spent incredible time and energy helping Mom those last few weeks. Kelly also helped out a great deal. Sharon and Gary, like Sharon and I, couldn't do much but pray from afar and encourage those who were on the front line.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to mom, a lot of good things came out of this. I believe that we siblings are closer as a whole than we have been for a while. And I must say a special thank you to dad, for offering to help, and for visiting mom, and to Wink, a very non-evil stepmom, for helping Dad and all of us, and making sure Mom had the best hospice possible.

Last updated: 19 March 2005

Copyright 2005 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514