Mom's senior class photo

Mom’s senior class photo

My mother passed away last week. She was only 74, but she had been battling lupus for nearly two decades and it had taken its toll on her liver. There is a very long and upsetting story that goes along with her decline, but this is not the place for it. It is upsetting enough that she is gone.

My mom was born in 1938 in Toledo, Ohio. She spent most of her childhood near Marion, but moved back to Toledo when she was in high school. Her father, Howard Eben Foster, was a musician and Mom took up both cello and trombone (the latter of which Grandpa also played). She loved music, particularly jazz and big band. When I first got satellite radio in my car, I would play 40s on 4 with her in the car and with every new song I’d grill her, “Who’s this?” She told me, “I don’t know ALL of them.”

Music is one of the biggest ways I bonded with Mom. I started to play trombone in junior high. I was in concert band, marching band and jazz band and Mom was at all of my concerts. When I was a freshman, our high school invited the Ohio University Marching Band to play the halftime show at our football game while they were on their way to their own event. Volunteers were sought to host members of the band overnight. My mom gladly agreed to host three, including at least one trombone player, in our tiny two-bedroom apartment. I’m not sure what those guys thought of us, but I know we were thrilled to have them there.

I spent a lot of time following a few rock bands around the country, and got to know the band members of one of them, enough to be listed in the liner notes of their CD. Mom supported that particular band nearly as much as I did. I will never forget how when I first played their single for her, she burst into tears. She didn’t know why, other than the music just affected her so much. I know exactly how she felt. It happens to me frequently.

My mom had a wonderfully close relationship with my sons, mostly due to the fact that I was a single mom when they were born. When I became a single mom again after my husband died, Mom stepped up to help out however she could. She rooted for the Chicago Cubs, through good times and bad, right along with the rest of us. She was my representative at games I couldn’t get to because of work. She was back up transportation and she was the cooler head to vent to during those oh-so-stressful teen years.

I think it’s safe to say that 2013 hasn’t been kind. I didn’t mention it at the time because he’s neither a Foster or a Branum, but I just lost my dad in April. I’m still grieving over that loss and now this. 🙁

I really don’t know what I’ll do without either of them.


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