My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

The death watch is over, a celebration of a life!

As some of you may know, my mother has been in a nursing home for the past few years, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I haven’t said anything about her condition lately, but she was going downhill quickly the last two weeks. Just last week, we had to call in hospice care again for her, as she was getting to the point where the portion of her brain that controls swallowing and eating was shutting down, making it almost impossible for the care givers to get any nourishment or water into her.

Well, today, just after noon, my mother’s suffering came to an end as she passed away, and went to the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ.

I have very mixed feelings about this right now, on one hand, I’m deeply saddened by my mother’s passing. On the other hand, I know that she wouldn’t have wanted to continue existing the way that she has for the last year or so, so in some ways, her death is a blessing, which may come as a shock to some people. All I can say is that watching the strong, intelligent woman who my mother was for most of her life reduced to little more than a vegetable as Alzheimer’s destroyed her brain was in many ways worse than her passing.

Some of you may even be wondering why I would choose to do a blog post right now, well, it’s a form of therapy for me, and I’m going to make this post a celebration of the love of nature that my mother instilled in me as I was growing up.

Over the years that I have been blogging, I’ve mentioned a few times that both my mother and father were nature lovers, in particular, my mother loved birds and flowers. So, I’m going to start this post out with a few photos of her favorite birds, northern cardinals.

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Male northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

Female northern cardinal

While my mom could still get around well enough to feed the birds, she could tell you how many pairs of cardinals that she had coming to her feeders each day, and her favorite sweater had cardinals on it of course.

I wish that I had a few photos of hummingbirds for this post also, because my mom also spent hours watching the hummers come and go from the feeder she put out for them as well, sorry mom.

These will have to do, as a way of paying tribute to the love of nature that my mom passed on to me.

While my mom would never have approved of how much I spent on my photography gear, she would have loved these images. She would also commended my attempts to share what I’ve learned with others. While she didn’t have the patience to be a great teacher, she certainly had the knowledge, and she believed in sharing her knowledge with others.

So I will add which lens I shot it with, with no other comments from me.

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Smooth-leaved thistle?

Smooth-leaved thistle?

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Sedge flowers

Sedge flowers

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Great blue lobelia

Great blue lobelia

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Male American goldfinch

Male American goldfinch

Canon 10-18 mm lens

Cardinal flower

Cardinal flower

Canon 10-18 mm lens

Cardinal flower

Cardinal flower

Canon 10-18 mm lens

Unidentified sunflower

Unidentified sunflower

Canon 10-18 mm lens

Creek scene

Creek scene

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Water strider

Water strider

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Northern flicker

Northern flicker

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Northern flicker

Northern flicker

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

Juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

Juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

Juvenile red-bellied woodpecker

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Sumac leaves in the sun

Sumac leaves in the sun

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Canon 10-18 mm lens

Sunny day

Sunny day

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Silver spotted skipper

Silver spotted skipper

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Primrose moth, Schinia florida

Primrose moth, Schinia florida

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Male indigo bunting

Male indigo bunting

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Fox squirrel

Fox squirrel

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Sigma 150-500 mm lens

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Joe Pye weed

Joe Pye weed

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Female rose-breasted grosbeak

Female rose-breasted grosbeak

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Pink chicory

Pink chicory

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Pink chicory

Pink chicory

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Pink chicory

Pink chicory

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Great egret in flight

Great egret in flight

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

Great egret in flight

Great egret in flight

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

American robin

American robin

Canon 300 mm prime lens and Tamron 1.4 X tele-converter

American robin

American robin

Tokina 100 mm macro lens.

Great blue lobelia

Great blue lobelia

I said that my mom wouldn’t have approved of how much I spent on photo gear, as she was a very frugal person. On the other hand, I can’t remember the number of times I heard as a kid, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right!”, so, I listened to half of what she tried to teach me at least.

I feel as though I should write a lot more about the person that my mother was, but I don’t have it in me right now, I’m feeling drained more than anything.

It’s been very difficult watching my mom’s health decline the past two weeks, and that has weighed heavily on me. Both of my parents are now gone, and I know that I’ll miss my mom as much or more than I do my dad. But, every time I see a bird, or hear a one singing, every flower I see blooming, will remind me of both of them.

Bye mom, I love you!

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42 responses

  1. A beautiful tribute to your mother. My deepest sympathy for your loss.

    August 20, 2014 at 2:20 am

    • Thank you Kimberley!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

  2. What a wonderful way of paying tribute to your mother.

    I sympathise with you in your loss but agree that none would have wanted her go on as she was. I am sure that you have good friends and family to support you at this time. Remember – a trouble shared is a trouble halved.

    August 20, 2014 at 3:53 am

    • Thank you Susan!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:37 pm

  3. Sending my condolences. My mom died in similar circumstances on the very day of her 96th birthday (Christmas eve). I know exactly what you mean about how hard it is to watch a loved one die by inches from this horrible disease. Hoping that time will ease that ache you’re likely feeling now. Wishing you all the best.

    August 20, 2014 at 4:00 am

    • Thank you, I’m sorry that any one has to watched a loved one die, but it has to be even worse around Christmas.

      August 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  4. This is a moving post, with beatuiful images.

    August 20, 2014 at 5:13 am

    • Thank you Cara!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  5. I empathize with your loss. seems like your coping well! God bless.

    August 20, 2014 at 5:40 am

    • Thank you John!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  6. Bless your heart, and your mother’s, as well. I remember well the mixed emotions after my Mom’s struggle with Alzheimer’s. You’ve written a lovely tribute for your Mom. It’s so very obvious how much you love her and your Dad. Be gentle with yourself as you grieve.

    August 20, 2014 at 6:04 am

    • Thank you Judy!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your mom, Jerry. I can remember you writing about her occasionally over the years. I went through much the same thing with my father. He died of cancer and it was indeed a blessing. It’s up to time now to heal that pain that is left. Take care.

    August 20, 2014 at 6:46 am

    • When we shared a walk that day, we talked a bit about your mom. I remember you telling me that her disease was tough on you, as you had to watch her decline, although she seemed content in her surroundings. There really isn’t any good way or bad way to lose a parent – there’s only the way each of us has to experience it. In any case, it leaves a hole in your heart, which takes time to patch itself.

      Photo therapy will help you out. Hang in there, Jerry.

      On Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 6:46 AM, Quiet Solo Pursuits wrote:

      > New Hampshire Garden Solutions commented: “I’m sorry to hear about > your mom, Jerry. I can remember you writing about her occasionally over the > years. I went through much the same thing with my father. He died of cancer > and it was indeed a blessing. It’s up to time now to heal that pain that is > lef”

      August 20, 2014 at 7:13 am

      • Thank you Judy!

        August 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    • Thank you Allen!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:40 pm

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve come to really appreciate that the death of a parent is a really big life event, regardless of the particulars. It’s hard for us as “children” to see our once capable parent diminishing and becoming so dependent and un-able. You have created a beautiful tribute to your mother. I think we all gain when grief is articulated and more openly expressed in our “busy busy deadline oriented let’s move along culture.” Take good care of yourself –

    August 20, 2014 at 8:41 am

    • Thank you!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  9. Condolences to you and yours.

    August 20, 2014 at 9:12 am

    • Thanks!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  10. Jane

    Beautiful pictures. Beautiful post. You touch my heart.

    August 20, 2014 at 9:28 am

    • Thank you Jane!

      August 20, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  11. This post is a most fitting and beautiful tribute to your mother and I pray that time will ease your heart-ache. Her release is a blessing because she is free of pain and her illness now. People say that sufferers from dementia and Altzheimer’s disease have two deaths – the first when they stop being the person they used to be and the second when they finally pass away. You have been suffering her death for many years now and your life cannot have been at all easy. I have not had the misfortune to have a close relative die from this most awful of illnesses but I worked for a number of years as a volunteer carer for people with dementia and I know quite a bit about it. May God keep you safe and comfort you. Clare.

    August 20, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    • Thank you Clare!

      August 21, 2014 at 2:46 am

  12. I great tribute to your mother and you are lucky to have a way of remembering her through nature that will always give you good feelings about her.

    August 20, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    • Thank you Tom!

      August 21, 2014 at 2:45 am

  13. My sincere condolences…. beautiful post.

    August 20, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    • Thank you Ingrid!

      August 21, 2014 at 2:45 am

  14. Deepest sympathies to you! I admire your bravery and encourage you to continue blogging and mentioning your mom in your posts. Yes, it does help the grieving process. In time, the pain lessens, but her memories will last forever. God bless you!

    August 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

    • Thank you Peggy!

      August 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm

  15. Sincere condolences. Thank you for sharing this very moving tribute to your mother with a wonderful selection of photos celebrating her love of nature. Time does heal the hurt and through your blog you will continue to enjoy memories of her.

    August 21, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    • Thank you Brandy!

      August 22, 2014 at 1:34 am

  16. Your lovely photos are a warm and beautiful tribute to your mother, and I wish for peace for you in this really difficult time.

    August 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    • Thank you Jet!

      August 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm

  17. My sincere condolences on your Mom’s passing, and what a fitting tribute to her memory this post of yours is. She would be proud, and would be smiling at your choice of the cardinals. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us here.

    August 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    • Thank you Babsje!

      August 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

  18. This post brought tears to my eyes, Jerry.

    I’m so sorry for your loss and send you many prayers and cyber ((( hugs ))) as you deal with your grief.

    This post was a very moving tribute to your mother. So many fabulous photos here. How wonderful that you will be able to celebrate her life and your memories every time you are in your favorite cathedral, the great outdoors.

    God bless.

    August 25, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    • I should add the words to one of my favorite contemporary Christian songs:

      And I will rise, when He calls my name
      No more sorrow, no more pain
      I will rise, on eagles wings
      Before my God, fall on my knees
      And rise…
      I will rise….

      August 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      • Thanks again! I didn’t want to be unfair to other people who commented on this post, I replied the same to every one. But, thanks for passing on those words, I do find them comforting at this time.

        August 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    • Thank you Amy!

      August 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm

  19. plantsamazeme

    Just catching up on your blog, so sorry to hear about your mother passing away. It is never easy to lose a parent, the northern cardinals shots were beautiful by the way.
    Take Care, Chris 🙂

    September 1, 2014 at 11:54 am

    • Thank you Chris!

      September 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm