On Memorial Day my mother, Dee Quinn, passed away and it crushed me. In college I was lucky enough to take a Crisis Communications class taught by Dr. Jim Towns and we learned a lot about the grieving process and how to deal with that, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing.
Somewhere close to 300 people were in attendance for the funeral at St. Martha’s, my parents church in Kingwood, Texas, which shocked me given the scare around the corona virus. Ladies from the church volunteered to decorate the church and the reception hall, a neighbor created a small piece of art in memory of mom that my father was able to duplicate and give to close friends and family. My dad’s best buddy Grant Chapman, his wife Betty and his two kids Chris and Kerry, along with his cooking team called the Holy Smokers, prepared lunch for over 100 people at the reception and nobody let us pay for anything. Dozens of people cooked meals and brought them to the house and cards, donations to my mother’s charity, flowers, text messages and phone calls came in to my dad Nick, sister Cari, brother Jeff and myself to express their condolences. The love and support was felt in a very meaningful way.
All of this happened the way it did because my mom was an amazing lady that gave a lot of herself to people. She worked as a volunteer with Family Time, a shelter for abused women for over 17 years, and was incredibly generous to her friends and family. She was definitely the “go to” if you needed to talk through a problem. As for the impact she had on me, that would be impossible to put into words. She listened to me, supported me in all things, kicked my butt when it was necessary, and loved me like only a mother can. Her influence in my life has helped me become the person I am and any success I have experienced along the way can be directly tied back to how she raised me.
I was sad when she died, but more than that, I was grateful for the fact that she was my mom and for the influence she has had on me, my wife Bridget and my kids Gabby and Nick.
The overwhelming response to her death was the result of her connection to people. Investing in our family, friends and co-wokers and creating strong relationships with others is what it’s all about isn’t it? What impact are we making on those around us? How will people FEEL when we leave this earth? What good have we done? What will the ripple effect from our life be?
My mothers life will impact others long after she is gone because of what she did when she was here. My pastor once told us that we have to be mindful of the dash. The dash between the date you were born and the date that you die. What will we do with our dash?
Love and miss you mom! I will see you again.
My brother Jeff (Todd), has never written a poem in his life but the passing of our mom inspired this writing. I think he did a terrific job of sharing his heart and what we all feel about who she was.
From humble beginnings with love in her heart
She met a man and fell from the start
The Bulldog inn is where it all began
and he walked her to class like a fine young man
They didn’t have much but they made it work
and that’s when Dee learned how to be a damn good cook
They had three children Cari, Mark, and Todd
Raising them right as children of God
The kids made nicknames for all they loved
Sweet Dee was hers a gift from above
Dee filled our hearts with love to the sky
The kids left the nest to learn how to fly
Grandkids came next 2 of each kind
More love to give and let Sweet Dee shine
A mother, A sister, and a wife extraordinaire
Every role she played she did it with care
17 years she gave of herself
To those in need and not much wealth
A smile, a laugh, a quick-witted jab
She gave this life all that she had
Her health went south but she fought a good fight
Until God was ready to use her light
The reception in heaven will be so grand
with your Mom & Dad to hold your hand
If a life is measured by those you touch
Sweet Dee did that in spades and I think that’s enough
Jeffrey Todd Quinn