She Did it Her Way

I had a sense when I was writing last weeks post, that my mother Ruthie’s body was failing and in the process of letting go. She died the next night, Monday October 2, 2017 at 8:10pm.

It was a beautiful experience to share with my sisters (Mary Jane and Cheri), who arrived in Phoenix the previous Friday for a long anticipated vacation. We were surrounding her as she transitioned, each sending her off with love and encouragement. By the time of her passing, we realized she was very much the captain of her destiny. There were to many synchronicities for it to be otherwise.

Her wish was to go quickly, before her mind deteriorated beyond her body, and at home. Her biggest fear was that with the Alzheimers, she would forget her kids. On the day of her death she had beautiful, but brief encounters with all of us. It was obvious that she knew exactly who she was talking with. Cheri is known for spending her entire vacation in the pool… and Mom asked her “Are you swimming everyday?” When Fito asked if she knew who he was… she responded “Of course… Fito.., my son-in-law”.

I am of course grieving… but not as much as I am celebrating her life and the beautiful way in which it ended.

About 2 weeks ago, she asked me “How did I end up here in Arizona.., was it because of money?” I said to her “No.., you ended up here because we were suppose to spend these last 10 years together.” We both learned and grew so much from one another. I have been blessed.., and also stretched in ways that I could have never imagined. She was too.

Both of us have had to address biases and beliefs, that had we not shared this time together would never have come up. I know because I left home at 16 and moved thousands of miles away at 19. We had a good and close relationship, but it was also one of challenge and misunderstanding at times.

However since moving here.., we had a chance to get real with one another in a way that if we had been states apart, would never have happened.

I think this is true for all of my siblings as well. They all have had a close relationship with her, and each for some period of time lived near her or close by. They all had their own unique and personal connection. Actually, that might be one of her great gifts. To treat everyone as an individual and build from there.

Many people in Phoenix, including my Storm Wisdom family, met her the first year we opened. She was my first employee or should I say “volunteer” as she didn’t want to get paid. She loved being there and created many long-lasting friendships. Others simply knew her from our annual celebrations which she always attended.

She was a bright light. Her self-deprecating sense of humor and storytelling, especially with her strong New England accent was engaging. She laughed a lot and cried easily. She was a character with character. A loving mother, a loyal friend and dedicated Christian.

I am who I am today in large part due to her influence. I will miss creating new memories with her… but not as much as I will enjoy remembering the ones we have created already! I could not be happier that even in the end, she did it her way.

RIP Ruthie Dow 11/18/1936 – 10/2/2017
Here is her online Obituary

With Light, Love, and Laughter
Charles

54 Comments

  1. Charles, thank you for sharing that beautiful story of the legacy of how powerfully your mother affected you and your family. I am sorry to hear of your loss but also hear what you are saying, how wonderful it is to celebrate her inspiring personality and gifts she gave the world. Bless you and Fito and your sisters and families. Sincerely, Darla

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    • Thanks Darla… it is a time of celebration!

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  2. What a lovely tribute to your mother! It is a pleasure to know of your connection to her and your family. If she had to leave this world, she left it obviously feeling very loved by all of you. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and my sincere condolences to you, Fito and your family.

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    • Thank you Sandy. She only had one piece of jewelry out on her dressing table, and it was the last one you made her! She loved it.

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  3. Thank you for sharing about your Mother. I am sorry for your loss. She sounds like a great woman. You both were blessed to have time together.

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    • Thank you Sharon… and I feel the same… we were both blessed.

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  4. Charles, what a beautiful way to honor and celebrate your beloved Mother’s life. To be surrounded by family as she transitioned is one of the greatest gifts you could have given her. Sending you love and light as you honor and mourn her passing from this reality to a new one.

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    • There have been so many gifts this past week Linda. Thank you for the support and love.

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  5. You really captured the Ruthie I knew too, we will all miss her in our family too. What generous sons you and Fito have been to your Mom, how delighted she must have been to be in your presence.

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    • So many fond memories of our San Diego days.., Casa de Pico.., and annual drop-in visits from/with Mom! Thanks Mary. I always know you are with me!

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  6. Charles, may you feel the love that surrounds you the way you felt when she laughed…but…you can still make memories with her! One of the best memories I have of my mother is the exquisite dream I had five and a half years after her body left Earth!

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    • Thanks MLHE… I will look forward to those! Thanks for being a gem!

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  7. Beautiful Charles. My mother’s last words to me were that she lived her life with no regrets. That deeply touched me and I am living my life with that intention now. I enjoyed seeing her at Storm Wisdom when she would stop by. Every time I create an Angel I hear my mom saying “that’s beautiful “and m dad asking “what was your process?” I am sorry for your loss but know she will always be with you. I celebrate my mom and dad’s life every day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and my best to you, Fito and the rest of your family.

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    • Thank you Nancy for sharing your personal experience. I had many conversations with my mother over the past year where she told me she was complete and ready to go. She had a good life and wanted to go out remembering it. I can’t think of a better way for her to start the next adventure.

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  8. “A character with character”. Charming simplicity. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

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    • Thank you Cheryl! It is something to aspire to I think! 🙂

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  9. I am sorry for your loss but grateful that it was also a healing experience for you and you all were together. Big Hug and lots of love ❤️

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    • Thank you Teri.

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  10. Beautiful! A life worth celebrating: full, alive, loving…. she will be missed.

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    • Thanks Mary…

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  11. A beautiful tribute to your mother, Ruthie. You have so many wonderful memories. You are so blessed. Much love to you. ❤️

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    • Thanks Jerri…

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  12. You have built a beautiful bridge from loss to love. In the sharing there is great comfort and healing. And in the end as Ram Dass says “We are all just walking each other home.” 😘

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    • I love that Shirley… Mom loved all the shared experiences you two had. I think she could lean into your knowledge about all the new things she was encountering in those early days at Storm Wisdom!

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    • Love that Ram Dass quote…brought a tear to my eyes. True, true. =)

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      • 🙂👍

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  13. Charles my sincere condolences. May you continue to have peace and comfort knowing her spirit lives on. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I feel honored to have met you and to be reading this as you know I can relate to what you are feeling and experiencing now. Sending Love and Blessings to you and your family.

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    • I do know you can relate Denise… Thank you for your support and caring.

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  14. Thank you for the beautiful sharing about your mother, Charles. I am sending condolences to you and all of your family. May your memories of your mother always be a blessing to everyone who knew her.

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    • Thanks Jere…

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  15. Our thoughts are with you, Charles.

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    • Thanks Don.

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  16. Your mother was a bright Light indeed! Thank you for sharing this with us, Charles. It’s heartening to hear that your mother was able to have an experience where she was surrounded by Love and you were all supported by family. Deep condolences and Love for you all.

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    • Thanks Jamye, I appreciate it.

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  17. Charles, I’m so grateful it was a beautiful experience for your tribe and that Ruthie triumphantly “did it her way”. How fortunate that your current focus of being present provided you with a rich, full experience. Love to you as you travel your grief journey, in your way.

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    • Thank you Vikki.

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  18. Wow I’m sadden.. I knew Ruthie to be a kind, and having good sense of humor. I thought she was very funny . I love seeing and visiting her. She lived well. Your in my prayers my friend .

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    • Thanks James…, she always enjoyed being with you!

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  19. I have known Ruthie since we became good friends at the telephone company in the 50’s. Lots of fun times. In later years we enjoyed trips together with Max, her lovable dachshund. I will miss her. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all the family.

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    • She loved your visit to Phoenix with Ione, and those cross-country road trips with you Joyce! Thanks you for being a dear friend.

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  20. So Sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing Charles. It sound like she was a super neat lady and I am sure you will miss her terribly! She is with you now 24/7 in spirit and you can now start a new relationship with her. She can come through from the other dimension and encourage you still. Maybe even channel her wisdom from the other side. I had a some neat conversations with my maternal Grandpa and was able ask what is it like where you are? My heart and prayers are with you and your family.

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    • Thank you Mary for sharing your own insights and awarenesses… thanks for always being so supportive!

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  21. Charles,

    How awesome that Ruthie got to spend her last days with family. She indeed did it her way and got her wish to pass quickly with her memory intact.
    I am glad that you both got to spend the last 10 years together ironing out your differences and that she was able to see that love is love, no matter what form.

    I’m very grateful to have known Ruthie.

    Sending peace and a virtual hug.

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    • Thank you Courtni… and I am glad you got to know her too. So much magic over the years. Anything is possible!

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  22. Thanks Charles for sharing I remember all the times we had fun at your hours after school. She will be missed

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    • Thank you Lorrie… seems like we were all at each other’s houses all the time! Nice memories.

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  23. What a beautiful post, about an even more beautiful woman. Chuck, there’s nothing I can say that has not already been said. Ruthie was a remarkable woman, and she left an imprint on the lives of those she came in contact with, and I know this to be true because my mother is cut from the same cloth. Never an unkind word for anyone, loves her family, and will/would do anything she could for them, even if it meant putting her “dreams” on hold. It is never easy losing those we love, especially when it comes to our immediate family members. I am glad you had the time you did with her before she passed, it makes a difference, and it is “those moments” that will give you the added source of comfort now, and always. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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    • Thank you Trudy… that means a lot.

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  24. I am so sorry to hear of Ruthie’s passing. I never had the pleasure of meeting her but feel like I knew her from your beautiful tribute. How very fortunate she passed her way with her dear family with her. I see that she endowed you with a zest for life and a great sense of joy. May memories of her bring you comfort and peace.

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    • Thanks Nancy, I believe they will!

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  25. What a wonderful and beautiful portrait you presented of your mom in your post today. Our heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Your memories will be with you forever. Blessings.

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    • Thank you Eufemia!

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  26. I knew you would be writing about Ruthie this week. It made me so happy to hear that she was clear at the end and knew all of you. That was her greatest blessing and gift to you at the end. My mom couldn’t communicate at all towards the end even though I know she knew who I was and when I was there. Ruthie was such an incredible joy to be around and a real pistol, to boot! I am so happy her transition was gentle and easy. We sure do miss Storm Wisdom and all of you!

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    • Thank you Karen. I am convinced it is what made her seem so at peace. Many blessing are among the mixed emotions of letting go and saying goodbye. Her peace at the end is filled with Joy. Thank you for always being so supportive.

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