My mother, Loretta Breslin (20 July, 1921 – 11 December, 2014) was 93 year old when she passed away. She went to bed on 10 Dec not realizing she would be woken the next day by a choir of angels. In a few days (20 February) I will be at her funeral at Arlington National Cemetery where her body will be put to rest next to my father, Lt. Col. F.J. (Jim) Breslin, USAF Retb. Dad passed away on April 18, 2009 after 65 years of marriage to mom. While I do feel sad anticipating mom’s funeral, my wise sister, Pam reminded me that we are coming together to celebrate a life well lived. Yes we are! Mom was an exceptional human and mother in about every way I can think of. I hope I can finish as well as mom did.
Mom taught me to say the Lord’s prayer every night before I went to bed. She was relentless in how she mothered me. I remember her sitting up with me many late evenings to help me put an extra finishing touch on school projects. She pushed me to be a finisher. I remember how she lovingly nagged me into finishing my Eagle Scout award when I was finding more joy in high school athletics than Boy Scouts. I appreciate it more now than then. I remember how mom hosted my high school wrestling team after weigh-ins with many fantastic meals. Those guys could eat! Mom loved it! As far as I know, mom attended every football game, wresting match, diving tournament, and soccer match I was in. Wrestling matches were particularly stressful for her as she hated to see my face ground into the mat or my arms twisted insanely behind my head by my opponents. But neither did mom fully appreciate it if I was doing it to the other guy (which I humbly admit was most of the time). Mom was not squeamish nor the panicky type. She took me to the hospital many many times for childhood injuries; for unstoppable nose bleeds, concussions, a nail through my foot, severe poison ivy, pogo stick accidents, surgery, etc. I remember her calmly apply first aid as I lay bleeding profusely on the bathroom floor with a friend’s two front teeth broke off in my forehead (he jumped higher than I for a header in a neighborhood soccer game). I forget how accident prone I was! I remember how she comforted me when I inadvertently left my collection of pet box turtles out in the scorching heat of the sun.
Mom was also an extraordinary hostess. She put on big dinner parties in our home with marvelous and complex meals. I use to try and sneak out of the house early on the day of a party because I always got drafted into vacuuming the stairs, polishing the silver, and other tasks torturous to a boy. Somehow I never got away but I remember my brothers Sean and Chris did. Hmmm? I don’t know if I’ve ever forgiven them for that? Something to do before the funeral.,
Mom also loved to chit chat and engage people. She was never content with my one word answers to her questions. I loved to watch her socialize. I remember in 1982 when I met this lovely young Swedish woman in Berlin, Germany. One of my earliest impressions/predictions of Katarina was “she and mom will really hit it off”… and I was right… she was not only a great mother to me but a great mother-in-law to Katarina. They enjoyed each others company and that was great to see. In the past 28 years I have worked in Asia and Europe and did not get back to our Annandale, VA homestead very frequently. And while I grieve that our four children were raised 5000 miles and two contents away from mom & dad, I am comforted that mom had the pleasure of watching my brother Sean’s children grow-up next door. That was a deep blessing for mom and dad. Thanks Sean and family for being there.
I am also thankful for my sister Pam, and my older brothers Tim and Chris and their families who also lived closer to home and visited more frequently than I was able. I am proud of all of you. I was blessed with the opportunity to visit with mom just over one week before she passed away. I had no suspicions that it would be my last visit, but I always said goodbye as if it were. I am thankful to Katarina for encouraging me to go see mom when I did. It would have been much harder otherwise. I had a great last visit with my mom that lasted several days. The attached picture is me and my sons with mom (or Grandy as she was lovingly known) about a week before the angels came calling. Mom, you will be missed and celebrated every time you come to mind (which will be frequently) by your 18 beloved grandchildren and five grateful adult children. We celebrate you for a life well lived! Miss you! Your son, Scott.