Thoughts about Mom – Part 1

My mommy passed away on Friday morning. I am a firm believer that the universe kind of sets you up for what is about to happen in life. For example. My mom had not felt very well since June. In November of last year, I started making some major life changes (major to me). Changes in my schedule so that there was more time to spent with my parents (we always talk everyday – sometimes multiple times a day – to the point where I often heard, “don’t you have something else you need to do? I know I do!”), I started getting into yoga, and other little things. I think to prepare for what is happening now.

There is so much I learned from her. We will call them Toni-isms and my plan is to share Toni-isms from time to time on my blog (of course, in addition to lesson plan stuff when I head back to work … I haven’t decided if I will head back next week or the week after). I do know that going back to work is going to help. When you are around kindergarten – 5th graders all day, you have no choice but to be on and animated and that’s what I need. At this point, there is SO MUCH to do in terms of the business of death. Stopping her credit cards, cancelling her LLC, just so much.I don’t want my dad to do that by himself.

With that said, this blog post is going to be ways that friends and I have already seen her come back to us along with some Toni-isms that I can’t stop thinking about. I know where she is right now. Read the book Elsewhere and you will know too. That was one of her favorites. She is in a place where she is learning how to visit us. If you dream of my mom, know that she is visiting you. She always told me that. When my grandfather passed away in 1994 (her dad), I dreamt about him all the time and she would tell me that was his way of visiting and checking up. She has already been in my dreams, but is always where I can’t really see her. I hear her and know she is there, but I can’t see her. I am looking forward to the day where I can see her and talk to her.

A couple of things that have really helped get me through this is YOGA and my Reiki training with Margeret Self. Every day since she passed away, I have been going to a yoga class. While it is odd for folks to be surprised that I am there (after all, they know I am a teacher and they are wondering way/how I am off), but in yoga, all I can concentrate on is yoga. And, another thing about yoga is that the lesson at the beginning of the class always seems to be something I really need to hear at the time and that has been true these last few days. The reiki helps because of the energy. If you are into it, you understand – if you aren’t, just ignore that 🙂

So, here is the first round of “Toni-isms.” Some were shared yesterday, some you may have never heard.

*I was not allowed to go to a friends house EVER until my mom met the parents of said friend. Especially the father.

*I have always had to call when I get to the place where I am going. Even now. I have had to call my dad every night to let him know that I am safe at home.

*YES. She embossed her toilet paper and folded the ends (think of a fancy hotel. That is what it was like at their house)

*She loved a Sunday trip to Target

*She loved All my Children, reality television and How I Met Your Mother. In the summer, she could not wait to watch Big Brother. She also loved American Idol and even liked to have a friendly bet going on about who would win.

*She loved her Saturday night poker games.

*She loved going to places like Gardenridge in Greenville and spending the day shopping with my best friend’s mom (someone who eventually become my MOM’S best friend as well)

*She gave guilt trips like you wouldn’t belive. Even when I was going through National Boards and said to her that I did not think I would do Sunday dinners and Target runs during that time (I was working on all my National Board stuff on Sundays) – I got a MAJOR MAJOR guild trip. She said something along the lines of “if you love school and work more than your parents, then fine, work on Boards – don’t comes to dinner.” Needless to say, I was at dinner  🙂

*She totally supported and loved Marty (after a time). Their first meetings were rocky to say the least, but once she realized that he would do anything for me, she came around and would proof read and offer suggestions on manuals and newsletters and other things that my ADD just couldn’t handle.

Ways that I know she is still here:

*We have XM radio and I enjoy listening to talk shows where people call in and ask for advice. There have been so many Toni’s and Tony’s calling in that it is getting a little crazy.

*One of her favorite couple’s reports that they have seen deer in their backyard, just chillin.’ My mom LOVED to look out of her back window and see deers in her backyard.

*There were birds EVERYWHERE in the funeral home where we had the service and where she is entombed. In paintings, on the furniture fabric – everywhere. She LOVED birds. She and I were planning on getting bird tattoos, but never made it there. My dad and I plan to do that in the next couple of weeks.

*Possibly the most obvious sign was yesterday at her entombment. After a wonderful church service, we head to the funeral home to have the blessing before she is entombed. We get there and flowers and chairs are set up beautifully. However, the flowers and chairs are ON THE WRONG SIDE. They had opened the wrong tomb. It has been taken care of now (and I really don’t want that to reflect poorly on the funeral home. They were SO SORRY and mistakes happen. This one, my mom did on purpose). Right in front of where I was sitting with my aunt, there were two other tombs with name plates on them. One name plate was something like Ida Crapps and the other was something like Mark Crapps Moore. If you know my mom, that would have totally made her smile and like someone said, “that was Toni’s last joke on us.” Very, very true.

If my mom sneaks up on you anytime, I’d love to hear about it.

More in the next couple of days 🙂 I will make sure I include “Mom” in the subject heading of any post that is about her. I know that not everyone wants to read these posts, but it is going to help me a lot. So, please indulge.

I love you all – I am planning yet another post about just how much my friends and family have supported me during this time.

My dad and I know super, super people.

Much love,



About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
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3 Responses to Thoughts about Mom – Part 1

  1. Melissa kneece says:

    Wow! First, I’m so impressed that you have it together right now, allowing yourself to post!
    I only met your mom once. But, based on your posts, I soooo relate to her. Sounds so much like my grandmother.
    I saw you two at Target on more than one occasion. I love anyone who shops at my most favorite place!
    I know you will miss her more than words can describe. I’m so glad she continues to share her spirit, which will allow your saddness to be filled with great memories.
    Keep yogaing and whatever else you need to do. Take care of you and dad!
    Big Hugs!
    Melissa Kneece

  2. Anne Lemieux says:

    Love the Ida Crapps and Mark Crapps Moore, I cracked up and my mother would have been rolling on the floor. She sounds like a great lady, sorry I did not know her. But her daughter is pretty great.

  3. Angie Enlow says:

    I really wish I could have met your mama. Take all the time you need.

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