memories of my Momma this Memorial Day weekend

my Momma was 18 years old when her new husband went off to war.  i wrote this piece to honor her and all military spouses who are widowed:


on Betty

i love following the flow of my heart on a day like today.  i am all over the place with emotions, but have learned to hang on real tight and not be afraid to ride.  after talking with an incredible woman who is on a mission to reach out to widows, i went to her blog to enjoy all the pieces and the comments.  it awakened me to all the others who have lost their spouse to death.  one post was about military spouses who are widowed.  i thought about the many different ages, time married, situations existing of each of these many women and men.  i felt my inner spirit simmering with something i did not understand.  that simmering kept me distracted and off balance.  i held on tighter and glanced over at my little Chirstmas Angel, "drunk Betty".  i call my little six inch angel "drunk Betty", cause she tilts a bit and her hair is messy.  she hangs out with me here on top of the cable box, and i find comfort in thinking about my own Momma, Betty, from time to time.  that's when it happened.  tears started to slide down my cheeks and i reached over to pick up my Momma's diary from so long ago.

as i read the early entries, i laughed, loved and cried.  it suddenly dawned on me that i have no real concept of separation from my husband while he was living.  my dear Betty, at age 18, proudly sent her brand new husband off to the war.  that is what real men did...they served their country in a time of war.  one of the things that really struck me is 2010, we have snail mail, fed ex, email, instant messaging, texting, skyping, blogging, social networking and more.  any separation i ever had from my husband prior to his death included phone calls.  i always got to hear his voice.  i read my Momma's handwritten entry to her diary on January 1, 1946:

"Ross called me from New Jersey - @ 1:45 A.M. first time to talk to my baby in 13 months. Said it took 12 rough days on the stormy sea to get home will leave for San Antonio Texas for his discharge. He talked to Mom, Dad & I."

13 months?  are you kidding me?  that means 13 months without seeing him or talking to him.

but she also had adventures when he was int he States, and took long trips to see him for  a bit.  the anticipation of an 18 year old woman child, made for some funny entries to the diary.  On Thursday, November 30, 1944, she wrote:

"Ross called tonight at 6:30 P.M.  I was at the show so missed his first call in his waiting to call me back he had a few derinks before dinner & was kinda tight he called me from "Time Square & I thought it was a Honkey Tonk but Ive changed my mind since I have seen it."

On December 23, 1944, while the world celebrated the holiday season, she wrote:

"Received my first letter from my darling today it was a V-Mail he wrote it on the 15th of December said he was somewhere in England & still on the go.  Went to confession with Mom & spent the night with her."

And then on December 24, 1944:

"Xmas Eve spend day with Mrs. Campise &Annie opened gifts. "Oh darling I wish you were here.  High Mass & I took Communion for you my darling & for me Sunday morning."


many years later, my Daddy Boy, Ross, began to show the early signs of dementia.  for nearly 10 years, we all slowly said our goodbyes.  my Mother, Betty, after a half century of sharing a life with this man, now had to lose him twice.  his physical presence couldn't hide the fact that he was already gone.  again, she experienced separation with a husband while he was on earth.

finally, she had to say her final goodbyes, and she wrote, on December 8, 1991:

"My darling died at 2:32 P.M. of Prostate Cancer." 

i find it interesting that she speaks of Prostate Cancer, which had little to do with his death.  she omitted any mention of the first death to dimentia.  perhaps she never even accepted the first good bye.  perhaps it was just too much pain.

finally, i found the December 25th page of the old diary, with three entries as follows:

"December 25, 1944 Monday Xmas Day & the first Xmas spent away from my darling husband. Spent day with my mothner."


"December 25, 1991 Second Christmas with out my precious husband last one until we ,eet im heaven..."


"December 15, 1992 Ross gone one year so lonely..."

In May of 1994 Betty died of a broken heart.



.  running parallel as the shades of a rainbow,  are the military spouses who have been widowed by war.  then there are the men who are widowed twice when dementia and alzheimers robs them of their loved one.  it is an extra letting go.  what brave people these are who must endure such great loss.



Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • note:  i copied entries from the diary as they were written, complete with misspelled words and other grammatical issues.  i wanted to respect the entries as they were put down on paper by my young mother.