A personal note on New Year’s Eve

I hope everyone has a happy and blessed New Year.

I intended to write this note on Christmas, but like so often intentions never materialize. I’ve had several intentions over the last month. I intended to make this a Christmas post and share a sonogram of my son who is schedule to make an appearance in February. It was going to be a post about how amazing 2011 had been for me personally—and that at times this had distracted me from posting as many fun (ok, often somewhat mean) articles. See, I find I’m at my best when I have something to complain about, and for both Alabama football and my family life, I had much to be thankful for in 2011.

On this topic of intentions, my mom recently went to live in Somerby at St. Vincent’s 119. It is a very pretty assisted living facility, and we were all excited for her to be settled into the new place as my wife and I prepared for the birth of our child. She had lived with us prior to going to assisted living, but I wanted her to remain involved in our family life. To that end, I had intended on bringing her home to see the way too tall Christmas tree I put up over the holidays (think Clark W. Griswold), and to see progress on the nursery—we painted it and got the crib and changing table setup. Unfortunately, life was hectic at the holidays.

On Christmas night, we went out to dinner at Sumo’s in Hoover. This might not have been the brightest move to take a my mom who was on oxygen to a restaurant where you sit next to a flame. But, we survived.

She had fun that night.

Unfortunately, on her birthday of December 29, she wasn’t feeling very good. A trip to the ER at Brookwood revealed no new issues and she was released. On December 30, we were back in the ER as mom’s vitals crashed. I am so appreciative to everyone at Brookwood for the way they worked to revive her and care for her on the 30th and 31st. In particular Dr. Phillips and Dr. Stanley on this occasion, and on other visits with serious problems Dr. Johnson did great things to help us.

Mom had been very ill since 2005 when she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called polymyositis. This autoimmune disease scarred her lungs and weakened her muscles. She spent the rest of her life on oxygen, and in the end, the increased pressure in her lungs caused an enlargement in her heart that would end her life on New Year’s Eve.

Her health was bad with many other issues. Just after the polymyositis was diagnosed and treated, mom developed breast cancer that required surgery. In 2008, mom suffered a massive brain bleed, and this stroke left her paralyzed on her left side. Oddly enough, in 2011 she was making tremendous progress in rehab thanks to her therapists—she had walked 40 steps with her walker dragging that left foot—an amazing accomplishment for someone suffering from paralysis and an autoimmune disease that weakens your breathing and muscles.

Mom would have liked to have lived a bit longer. She would have liked to have seen her new grandson. But, we know she is no longer suffering and is no longer burdened by the chains of her illness. While her grandson Evan Michael will not know her firsthand, I will take heart in being able to share with him the memories. I’ll always remember my mom and my dad (who passed away in 1994 when I was in college), as persons who sacrificed to give me a better life. They always cared more about my sister and me than themselves. It is an example that I too often fall far short of living. But, everything good that I do (or will do, or hope to do) for my child was made possible by every single good that my parents did for me.

I can safely say that both my mom and dad were the most virtuous people that I have ever known. Their example outshined their human flaws. I was blessed.

2011 ends on a very sad note for me. However, I’ll keep hope that my mom who loved to sing at church in the choir and could no longer sing because of her ailment, will now be able to fill heaven with a renewed soprano’s voice that sings and praises God for his glorious gifts.


Add Yours
  1. 1
    Paige Atchison

    I love you. You are the best husband. You will be a wonderful father. And without a doubt you were the best son she could have asked for.

  2. 3

    Our family greives for your loss. There is no replacement for a mother’s love. A mother’s love is uncondtional and that means all the times that you felt like you failed or came up short, she understood and loved you a little bit more.
    I felt the same as you when my parents died. But the good that came from it was that it made me a better parent and husband following thier example.
    Somewhere they await you to be reunited for enternity. Until then be the best parent and husband you can be.
    Your family will be in our prayers.

  3. 4

    dude, i’m so sorry.

    on a personal note of my own, my mom and i had a huge row on of all days, christmas day.

    (i survive these things telling myself everybody’s families are crazy)

    i’ll not burden you with the melodramatic details, but suffice it to say this story has convinced me that whether i’m right or wrong matters not.

    she’s my mom (i’m told i wouldn’t be here were i not for her ;-)===) and i need to go fix it.

    thank you for sharing this with us, cap.

    know that this poster is thinking of you and yours in this most difficult of times.

  4. 5

    I am very sorry for your loss.
    A mother is a very special person.
    ” The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.

  5. 6
    Hate Smurf Coach

    Sorry for your loss. Hope your new son will bring peace to you. I see my parents in my children often, things they do or looks they give. That is God’s gift is allowing part of our souls live on through our children and grandchildren.

    Merry Christmas and bless you, I will pray for you.
    AU and Bama is just a game not real life. Some people have a hard time separating that including me.

  6. 9

    God bless you AA your sister and mother.

    That was an eloquent glimpse of your relationship with your Mom. It shows the respect and Love that a son has for his Mother. Rest in the knowledge that she is has gone to be with the healer of all.

    I am glad you have PA to lean on and have a bright future together.

    Bless you brother


    • 10
      Tran Boler

      I lost my precious mother, Daisy Charlton Forman, on December 29,2006 to polymyositis.She battled it for about 4 years before it took over her whole body. Christmas was her favorite time of the year and I begged her not to die on Christmas Day, and she didn’t.
      Polymyositis is a terrible disease that many people don’t know about, and they need to.

  7. 11
    Thad Hankins

    Wonderful article. Thanks for writing it. I have been reading this blog for several years and have never felt compelled to comment on anything until now. I fully understand what you are feeling as I lost my mom to breast cancer on July 27th of 2011. It’s tough but I, too, take great comfort in knowing that my mother, a preacher’s wife and married to my father for 61 years, is now singing in Heaven with your mother, to the One who has now healed them both. Know that my prayers are with you and your family. Here is a link to an article I wrote on my blog, The View From We2, about my mother on what would have been her 82nd birthday.


    I’ve written several articles about my parents but haven’t written at all lately as the holidays have been rather tough with mom gone. You’ve both encouraged and inspired me to put fingers to keyboard again. Thanks again.

  8. 12
    Glenn Atchison

    I was deeply saddened to hear of Aunt Carol’s passing today. When I heard about it, in spite of knowing she’s in a better place and enjoying the bounties of Heaven without the limitations of Earth, I cried. It’s a selfish part of me that insists on doing so, I know. There is a part of all of us that grieves when we lose someone we love. It’s human nature.

    But it wasn’t for my own loss of a dear aunt that caused my tears — it was because I am just old enough that I remember the first time I met her. Uncle Dwight had brought the young girl who was going to be his new bride down to our home to meet the family. My brother Jeff, my cousins Kim and Misty, and I, all usurped her attention showing her toys, talking to her non-stop, picking her flowers…

    My tears were because, even though she will be sorely missed down here by those of us who loved her, I imagined her once again with the wind blowing through her long dark hair, walking through that sunny country field, taking the wildflowers we handed to her along the way, smiling and laughing and happy.

    I know she would not have wanted to miss seeing her grandchildren grow up — and so she won’t. She’ll be in Heaven, laughing and happy, talking to Uncle Dwight and my dad who beat her there, but she’ll be watching over the portals of Heaven every move those grandkids make — and Heaven’s choir will only be sweeter for having gained a soprano voice like hers.

  9. 13

    So sorry to hear about your mom. I echo the sentiments already said in the room, and agree that she is happier where she is now…and wouldn’t return if she could. I’ll also say she was extremely blessed to have a son like you who took care of her to the extent that you did. I was in awe at the level of devotion you showed her, not that it should be surprising to take care of a parent, but somewhat surprising at how unwilling most are to do it, especially to the extent that you did. And I agree with Paige that it’s that kind of heart that’ll make you a great dad.

    Praying for you.

  10. 16
    Denny Chimes

    Sorry Cap. Praying for you and your family. Kinda put me in my place about wanting to see an article on what a douche Clay Travis is. Puts it all in perspective. That stuff is not important compared to this kind of stuff.

  11. 17

    Aside from heartfelt condolences for the writers mother, this is National Championship time and it is way past time to start some threads to generate interest in responding. This site has been deader than a two week old possum on the highway for more than a week. RTR!

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