Dear Sean


Your mother-in-law must be a great person, and I’m so sorry about what your family is going through while losing her, but can we please hear about other stuff? Can you please write about something else?

I mean no disrespect,


My family and I appreciate your extremely thoughtful and heartfelt email during this time. Frankly, I’m surprised you haven’t been approached to start writing for Hallmark cards.

Nevertheless, I freely concede. Yes. Over the last week I’ve been pretty obsessed with my mother-in-law (boy, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write).

This is, of course, because my mother-in-law is dying. I don’t know if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you, but when people you love are passing, you make lots of promises to them.

When the hospice nurse first told us Mary didn’t have long, I stood beside her sickbed and promised her that I would dedicate many, many columns to her.

These mediocre stories I’ve been writing for the last nine years—which probably take ninety seconds out of your entire day to read—were often the highpoint of Mary’s entire month. Especially the stories I wrote about her.

Mary spent the latter portion of her life as a shut-in. She would sit in her wheelchair, holding an iPad, chuckling at things I’d written. This brought me a lot of joy.

So when I told a dying Mary Martin last week that I’d dedicate a bunch of columns to her, her face broke into a wide grin. She took my hand, stared at me, and tried to speak, but couldn’t. We shared a profound moment, although no words passed between us.

Also, what you probably don’t know is that Mary was one of the few people in my life who actually liked being written about. When I started this blog/column/naval shipwreck, I was surprised to learn how many people don’t want you writing about them.

I always thought people loved reading their names in print or seeing their pictures in newspapers. But trust me, they don’t.

People are touchy these days. Remember how people in New York used to stand on sidewalks outside network-TV studios for morning news shows, holding poster boards, smiling like they’d just escaped from Sing Sing, begging to touch the hem of Al Roker’s blazer?

Yeah, the world isn’t like that anymore. Not everyone wants an overload of attention nowadays.

But it was never like that with Mary. Mary loved to be featured in my columns. Especially when said columns involved my fine-tuned, albeit mature blend of inappropriate and adolescent toilet humor.

I once wrote a story, for example, about how my mother-in-law dropped off my mail. She let herself into my house using her spare key. No sooner had the door opened than she found me standing in my kitchen wearing nothing but my wedding ring and a pair of socks.

“Mary!” I screamed. “I’m naked!”

“Yes,” she said.

“You can’t just barge in like this. What are you thinking?”

She shrugged. “Right now I’m thinking, meh, I’ve seen better.”

Such a story would have embarrassed lesser mothers-in-law. But not Mary. I’ll never forget when Mary first read that column. Her reaction was to swat my hindparts and say, “God, you are such a ding-a-ling.”

A word which took on a brand new meaning between us.

So over the years, I’ve written a lot about her. I could fill an encyclopedia with the hundreds of tales I’ve written about Mary. She became one of my most beloved victims.

And now that she’s slowly disappearing, fading within her hospice bed, I realize that I am losing a main character in my life. In a way it feels like I’m saying goodbye to a piece of myself.

This death will also mean that our lives are about to majorly change. My mother-in-law and my wife are tighter than two coats of paint.

My wife spends every day changing her mother’s diapers, cleaning her infected wounds, administering breathing treatments, cooking her meals, doing her laundry, and lifting her mother’s frail body from wheelchair to commode. Mary has become the gravitational center of our universe.

When Mary passes—and she doesn’t have long—I don’t know where that will leave us. I don’t know what life will look like anymore. All I know is that my wife will be an orphan with a gaping void in her heart.

Ah, but there I go again, boring you to death. Forgive me. I’m not trying to excuse myself or elicit sympathy. I don’t want sympathy. Believe me, there are people in this world who are suffering far worse.

So thank you for your advice. I honestly appreciate you taking the time to send your unsolicited critiques regarding writing that nobody forces you to read. I hope this letter finds you well.

And I sincerely hope you never lose anyone close to you, Coach.


  1. Laura womac - August 3, 2021 7:22 am

    Sometimes I’m just shocked at the audacity people have. I am adding your family to my prayer list and I can honestly say I look forward to your daily updates about your mother-in-law. I lost my mother almost 2 years ago and can remember many of the same feelings you are going through. It was a difficult time as we watched her fade slowly away from us but also a time to reflect on her 94 years of life. God bless and don’t let people tell you what to write.

    • Joan - August 3, 2021 5:26 pm


  2. Alice Grimes - August 3, 2021 7:23 am

    Sean, God bless you loving Mary the way you do! Tell Coach to take a flying leap into a briar patch! It is your column and nobody is holding him hostage and forcing him at gun point to read it. I feel sorry for the people he coaches and whomever pays him to do it. He has no sensitivity, no manners and absolutely no class.

  3. Cindy Inman - August 3, 2021 7:24 am

    Sean I love reading your stories. Keep writing about your sweet mil and I’m praying God’s grace and sovereignty over you and your sweet family.

  4. Margaret Cade - August 3, 2021 7:27 am

    I love your stories about Mother Mary. They are a wonderful tribute to the love you have for her and the beautiful memories of sharing life together with her and Jamie. “Coach” can find something else to read or simply take a hike. Thank you for honoring her wishes and sharing her with your readers. I pray for peace for you and Jamie during Mother Mary’s final hours and the days to come. May God be with you.

  5. orgillian - August 3, 2021 7:31 am

    Someone once said that life is in the details and giving us the details of your life’s journey is exactly what attracts us to your work. Please ignore those who would assume the right to dictate which details you choose to share.

  6. Leila Travlos - August 3, 2021 7:47 am

    Sean, in my faith when someone dies we say to the family “May their memory be eternal.” You have helped do this for Mary and your wife. May you all be comforted by the knowledge that she is now a piece of so many lives, never to be forgotten.

  7. Doshia - August 3, 2021 7:47 am

    Please, please keep writing about Mother Mary. I feel like I know her as a personal friend. I would love to hear more about her life, and any stories you feel like sharing. I just lost my father, and I can relate to this so strongly it hurts my heart, and brings me joy.

  8. Susan Corbin - August 3, 2021 8:24 am

    A well written SCREW OFF to Coach Ignorant . Keep Mother Mary’s memory alive in your columns — I enjoy her!

  9. Heidi - August 3, 2021 8:51 am

    Your Mary stories are my favorite. She seems like my most fond neighbor and I am beyond saddened by her decline. Yours and Jamie’s devotion to her is what we would all covet in our dying days.God Bless you all and sending lots of love.

  10. Mary Drouillard - August 3, 2021 8:57 am

    Please keep writing about Mary. The stories makes me smile and storytelling soothes the soul. Wishing you peace.

  11. philip c middleton - August 3, 2021 8:59 am

    I’m not much of a cook, but if I could I would bring your family a nice comforting casserole, I’m not much of a hugger either, but if I could I would give you a proper hug that shores you up and strengthens you- not like one of those one armed side hugs I usually give people. I’m not the most religious guy, but tonight I’m going to light three prayer candles. One for you, one for your family, and one for Coach.

  12. stephenpe - August 3, 2021 9:15 am

    on behalf of all coaches let me apologize. Please. write more or as much about Mary as you need to or want to. We love her now and always will. Much like how we love you.


  13. S. Booker - August 3, 2021 9:27 am

    As I sit here, watching my failing husband this early morning, I just want to say, “Right on, Sean! You write on about Miss Mary as much as you want to!” The beauty of the friendship, and love that y’all share, shines through, and, I love seeing it! My thoughts, and prayers, are with you, and your family.

  14. Erica - August 3, 2021 9:51 am

    You are sharing a universal experience with so much love and empathy by being personal and detailed. I cherish these columns and Mother Mary. When I need a break or a day-brightener, I can read your column about her watching Naked and Afraid and feel tickled every time. Ignore the naysayers. You are writing from the heart with so much authenticity that it comforts all of us who have sat by a deathbed without knowing what to say or how to explain.

  15. Pat Rieley - August 3, 2021 9:53 am

    What a lucky lady Mary is to have a son-in-law like you! And your dear wife, a beautiful daughter who is suffering right now but taking such great care of her dying Mom. How sad for you to receive such an ugly comment from that Illinois coach who obviously knows nothing of love let alone empathy. May his students never learn how mean he is! My sweet husband walked every step of the way with me when my Mom was sick and dying. That meant so much to me; your devotion to Mary and your wife is invaluable. God bless you.

  16. Kelly - August 3, 2021 9:56 am

    I think it’s wonderful you are doing this ‘service of life’ for Mary. Blessings to you and your family.

  17. Jayne - August 3, 2021 9:57 am

    I am so sorry for the pain you and your family are experiencing. And I am so sorry that people can be so cruel. Losing a parent is not easy, and yes your wife will be lost when her mom passes. Hold her close. Praying for you all during this time.

  18. david grant - August 3, 2021 10:04 am

    Sean, I am new ‘reader/admirer of yours and have enjoyed your articles. With that being said the most recent ones have been battery acid strong. The undertone of them scream LOVE. So how about asking “””coach””” to send us his won/lose record. I bet he kneels with some of “”” those”” folks !!!!!!!

  19. Roger Easley - August 3, 2021 10:06 am

    AY-men, Sean. Your final sentence expresses your kind heart.

  20. Debbie - August 3, 2021 10:08 am

    I’ve lost both of my parents through Hospice. Losing a elder important family member is always hard passage of life. My heart goes out to you, your wife and Mary.

  21. Te Burt - August 3, 2021 10:13 am

    Each morning I read your column as soon as I wake (usually about 5:30 am, before the dogs wake up) to hear if Mother Mary is still with us. She’s got one foot in heaven already. BTW, you don’t have to explain yourself to your (obsessed) followers. We’ll be thankful for anything, and we consider ourselves blessed that you share this very personal moment with us.

  22. Lisa Williams - August 3, 2021 10:14 am

    I’ve gone through this. Reading about your experience helps us all to heal. But mostly, we walk with you in spirit and pray for you as we read each post. You have the gift of grieving and sharing what that’s like helps others with the gift of grief we wish we didn’t have to carry. But, it is part of living. We can go together or alone. I choose together God bless you.

  23. Theresa - August 3, 2021 10:18 am

    Sean I have become one of your favorite fans…. I look forward each and everyday or night to reading your columns…. You are so relatable in your writings and very empathetic. Sorry , Coach doesn’t have an ounce of empathy…..

  24. caminomishelle - August 3, 2021 10:19 am

    Sean, you just keep on writing what is on your heart to write. There are other things people can read if this is not what they want to read. I have been able to see into your family with eyes of love and compassion. I open my emails and search for your posts because I can relate. Please know y’all are being prayed for daily.

  25. Trisha - August 3, 2021 10:27 am

    Dear Coach,
    The beauty here lies in choice … you can choose not to read his words. Taking the time to email him and ask him not to write about his family member in hospice, well that’s just messed up. As an educator myself, I sure hope you don’t teach the high school kids you have the pleasure to be in charge up to be as heartless.

  26. Lin - August 3, 2021 10:27 am

    Please don’t listen to Coach – I love the memories of Mother Mary. Know that you still bring Mother Mary some joy by writing these memories, and write on!!

  27. Betty Martinez Lowery - August 3, 2021 10:28 am

    The first thing I do the moment my eyes open is pull up your column for news of Mother Mary. She has become a part of me, as have you and Jaime. Thank you for sharing her with us, the joys and laughter, the pain and grief. I know I feel privileged to be a witness to this moment in your lives. Hers has been a life well lived.

  28. Joanne Viola - August 3, 2021 10:29 am

    Dear Sean, I don’t even know what to say. Since you have shared that hospice was called in, I have wanted to write to you. But It seemed so silly. I LOVE your Mary stories! At times, I read them aloud to my parents (86YO) and my husband. I hope you never stop telling Mary stories. In fact, I hope there are many yet that have gone untold and will be remembered and shared. It is amazing how beloved you made her come to be for so many as myself. Praying for you, your wife and of course, Mary.

  29. Deborah Collins - August 3, 2021 10:35 am

    Sean, it was rather crass to criticize a love letter to your wife and her beloved mother. You love your mil and wife so much, they are very fortunate to have such a kind loving person writing about them. I’m sorry you’re all going through such a heartbreaking time. God bless you all and do keep writing your wonderful stories. I lost my brother to Covid in January. He was my last brother and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t try to remember all the conversations through life, places and family gatherings as well as silly moments we shared in our life.

    As we age, we lose some of our ability to remember every thing that didn’t seem important that when they are gone, were the essence of our love.
    You are constructing a lifetime of love between a daughter, a mother and a beloved MIL while letting us glimpse into those moments. Thank you and please continue, it provides balm for our grief and laughter so needed.

  30. Wes - August 3, 2021 10:40 am


    The stories you have written about Mary these last days have made me laugh, smile, cry and most importantly realize how precious life is. Thank you for sharing your stories and parts of your life with us. Please do not stop doing what you are doing!! Continued prayers for you and your family. Thank you for making an impact on my life!

  31. Lynn Poling - August 3, 2021 10:50 am

    Hello Sean, I’m sure you have heard from other faithful followers but I was so hurt by Coach’s comment. Please don’t stop telling us all about her. I have been anxious each morning to see how she is doing. I love her. God bless her, Jamie and you. We will be praying for strength to get through this journey. Ecclesiastes 3 explains it all! Your friend Lynn Poling

  32. Joan Moore - August 3, 2021 11:04 am

    Praying for comfort for Mary, for Jamie strength and courage and peace. For you, the ability to do an entire book based on the amazing woman God loaned you, but now needs back. And forgiveness for those who lack sensitivity or we could be guilty of the same. There are truths in these pieces that are only realized by the anticipation of loss.Tell Mary her Internet People love her so much.

  33. Gary - August 3, 2021 11:04 am

    I bet he lives in Chicago ! ……….. Yankee !

    • John - August 3, 2021 1:28 pm

      Gary- my thoughts exactly!

  34. Sue Kass - August 3, 2021 11:09 am

    Dear Sean,
    I love your writing and the words you’ve written about Mother Mary (especially in recent days) have often been your best. Your love, honor and respect for her are palpable and I so appreciate that. Those of us who read you each day feel like we know this amazing woman in a unique way through the descriptions you share. She is clearly someone very special. I am so sorry that you are losing this part of your heart and I am sorry that you ever had to read the words written by that insensitive coach. Anyone who has stood at the bedside as a loved one was slowly ushered into the presence of the Almighty (myself included) has appreciated and related to the thoughts, feelings and emotions that you’ve published. You have been spot on. Lots of leaky eyes…and that’s ok. What you’re experiencing are holy, sacred moments. We know that you don’t have to share and invite us to stand in that bedroom with you each day, but I’m thankful that you do. Thanks for being open and vulnerable and for letting us walk and grieve with you in this valley. Without deep love, there is no pain in the parting. Continue loving and writing. These are beautiful things, Bessings to you, Jamie and, of course, dear Mother Mary in the hours and days ahead.


    • John - August 3, 2021 1:29 pm

      Sue, agree!

    • Harriet Bryan - August 3, 2021 1:42 pm

      That was beautiful and says it all well. I have been through this twice and know the heart ache of seeing a loved one pass on to another blessed life.I thank God for people with a southern heart who understand. It was well written . HB

    • Bob - August 3, 2021 5:18 pm

      Sue – Yes ma’am!

  35. Kenneth Mitchell - August 3, 2021 11:11 am

    Coach Sean, You bring out the best in us….ken

  36. Bar - August 3, 2021 11:12 am

    Forget “Coach.” It is apparent that he/she has never felt self-giving love for another. Your filled-with-love writings help us remember the love and then loss of our “Mary.” May God give you all peace.

  37. Bill Henderson - August 3, 2021 11:15 am

    Ouch! Coach, you just got pan-caked. Or was it a high, inside fastball thrown at your noggin that send you rolling in the dirt? Or maybe your legs taken out when going in for an easy layup. We all live and learn do we not. Sometimes it hurts. But at least we can learn from it if we choose to.

  38. Greyn - August 3, 2021 11:18 am

    It is possible ( nay, likely) that ole coach fails to grasp that you are writing about the entire grand and challenging sweep of life in your Mother Mary columns. First thing I read every day. Don’t know if your primary aim is to engage, instruct, amuse, provoke, comfort, etc., but you manage to do it all, and very well, too.

  39. elizabethroosje - August 3, 2021 11:21 am

    Man. The audacity 😥😳 Sean I love your writing and very much all your collumns on Mother Mary. I check in carefully to see what you wrote and for news about Mother Mary. And I will continue. Praying very much for you 3 ❤🙏

  40. Teresa Brooks - August 3, 2021 11:21 am

    I love the stories about your mother in law.

  41. Kelly Marks - August 3, 2021 11:25 am

    When my time comes I can only hope someone loves me enough to tell good stories about me. Your willingness to be vulnerable about your pain is a gift to us all. Prayers being sent!!!

  42. Sara Shaver - August 3, 2021 11:27 am


  43. Stephanie Powers - August 3, 2021 11:29 am

    Sean – thank you for each column about your Mary–it reminds me of my mom who left this world over twenty years ago. I still think of her everyday and wish I could speak with her one more time. She, too, was a loving mother to her twelve children and one tough lady. Please know that you, Mary, and your wife are in my prayers. The feeling of loss never disappears but it will ease with time. Laugh at every silly memory. It does help.

  44. Honey Rothstein - August 3, 2021 11:30 am

    I am humbled by the way you write about your family The experiences while your family goes through the myriad of emotions during the final days of Mary’s life engage me. I lost a couple generations in four years (2000-2004 Dad, grandson, husband and daughter). I can feel the connection and the love. Your experiences and writings help me to feel grounded and touch base with myself. I hope you don’t mind my intrusion

    Please continue.

  45. Penn Wells - August 3, 2021 11:30 am

    As I told my daughters the other day when I forwarded “Fly” to them (not sure why they don’t just subscribe 🤷‍♂️), it’s been a week of remarkable writing. You found a way to elevate your game, which is noteworthy. But I think Mother Mary may have twitched with the use of ‘majorly change’… she would say “Really, Sean? Use your words!”
    God bless her.

  46. Janice Greenwood - August 3, 2021 11:32 am

    Dear Sean, You responded to that jerk with the love and humility and compassion you always show others. Even if some people deserve it less. Since I first began reading your columns and books, I’ve known you are a loving person.
    My heart hurts for you and Jamie as you say farewell to Miss Mary. It’s not goodbye but it’s still painful. Thankfully it isn’t for her.
    Prayers for you all.

  47. Lisa - August 3, 2021 11:33 am

    I guess it takes all kinds but for me, I think these last essays about MM have been some of your very best writing. Probably because they’ve shown us the very best Sean. Like others who have lost someone, their moms especially, it reminds me of when we lost our mom. These essays will be life giving to Jamie for the rest of her life. Well done Sean.

  48. Alan poling - August 3, 2021 11:37 am

    Dear Sean, I also have been disappointed by all these stories of your mother-in-law. Please refund my subscription fee immediately!! Talk about insensitive!! Hey coach, if you don’t like what you’re reading, just keep on scrolling and go kick a puppy until you feel better!! Sean, I love your stories, especially the ones of Mother Mary. Please continue to write more of them. You sir, are a breath of fresh air in a world filled with negativity. I pray for strength for Jamie, I pray for peace to your family, and I pray you keep writing/loving your Mother-in-law in your own special way. And I pray you keep sharing your thoughts and memories of this very special lady with the rest of us for as long as you care to.

  49. Grace Foxwell Murdock - August 3, 2021 11:37 am

    May all your memories of your mother-in-law comfort you. Love on your wife because losing one’s source of unconditional love who brought you into the world is a lingering longing for more time. Prayers.

  50. Any S - August 3, 2021 11:39 am

    There is not much more I can say than has already been said, but thank you for sharing Mary with us. She has been a huge part of your life and putting those stories to pen and paper, is a forever dedication to Mary. I too have had a “Mary” in my life, so I understand the feelings you are experiencing. So you keep that promise and continue writing about Mary and all her antics!
    Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  51. Samantha - August 3, 2021 11:40 am

    Rise above. When you sit with the dying, and I did it for 4 years with my mother-in-law, and much shorter and crushing periods with each of my parents before, it is all consuming and life-changing. Forever. Coach, enjoy some Lewis Grizzard while Sean cares for his wife, his wife mother-in-law, and himself. Sean, gather all the comfort you can through writing. Music saves me; your writing is saving you.

  52. Allison Gilmore - August 3, 2021 11:42 am

    In my humble opinion, that Illinois high school coach is just a little too full of himself and has earned himself one very long timeout. And maybe he can use that timeout for some much needed life coaching from someone who has a heart.

  53. Vicky - August 3, 2021 11:42 am

    I don’t know what I am considered-a reader, a fan, a friend? Whatever I am, I have strong reactions to your columns every single day. These days are difficult ones, because my heart is with you, your wife, and Mother Mary. I have lost a lot of people and every single loss has done something to my heart. My husband was on hospice for 4 days and it was something that my family and I will never forget. Praying for someone to leave this earth is the hardest thing that I will ever do and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Yes, these days are hard, but the memories that you are sharing are ones that need to be told. This is your life right now and I can only speak for myself when I say that I feel lucky to be hearing the stores of your mother-in-law, because she sounds like such a character. You hit the jackpot with your wife and Mother Mary and I love that you are sharing this with me. Sending so many hugs to you, Sean!

  54. Jean - August 3, 2021 11:43 am

    Critics…always critics. I like reading about Mary. We will all go thru this one day..and it’s rather comforting to read your words. You just keep on writing and we will keep on reading.

  55. Judy Broussard - August 3, 2021 11:44 am

    Amen Sean, AMEN

  56. Shelton A. - August 3, 2021 11:47 am

    Thanks for that column. I’ve lost my fair (or unfair) share of loved ones, family and friends. Please continue to write about Mary. It helps you, Jamie, and Mary. God bless you all.

  57. Gina T in NC - August 3, 2021 11:48 am

    Well Said, Fred.

    Please tell Mother Mary that the Internet people love her and send her only the best vibes and love. Yours and Jamie’s dedication to this frail, sweet woman are so inspiring to me and countless others, Sean.

    May your memories of Miss Mary remain fond and crystal clear, and often blogged about. As they say, haters gonna hate. Let Coach’s comments roll right off of your back like a raindrop on a duckling.

    Gina in NC.

  58. Sam Varney - August 3, 2021 11:48 am

    I watched you suffer
    I saw you die,
    And all l could do
    Was sit close by.

    You went away.
    We had to part.
    God eased your pain
    But broke my heart.

    • John - August 3, 2021 1:36 pm

      Beautiful Sam!

  59. Frances Bramlett - August 3, 2021 11:50 am

    Thank you for continuing to share Mother Mary’s life with us. I love seeing your Instagram posts featuring her as well. Your stories and photos enrich my days. Many blessings on your head! 🙏🏻

  60. Lisa Wilcox - August 3, 2021 11:52 am

    Ignore people like Coach. Your MIL is a wonderful source of rich material for your columns. Probably because she herself is a wonderful person who has enriched all of our lives because you’ve shared her with us. Thank you for that. My heart has ached for all that all of you have been going through but I am so glad that you’ve had this gift of going through it together and that Mother Mary has been under yours and Jamie’s loving care at home vs in “a home”. I don’t know if it’s harder losing our parents slowly or suddenly (the latter being my experience) but either way, it’s a painful sorrow. Thankfully, one that’s tempered by so many great memories and stories you have. So.. thanks for sharing.

  61. Ed (Bear) - August 3, 2021 11:52 am

    Lots of comments about this posting. Nothing riles us more than seeing a kick from an apparently spoiled selfish stranger while you are down.

    Expressing oneself in the public eye requires a thick layer of extra skin. You wear it well.

    Mary is fun and a pleasure to read about. You are fun and a pleasure to read.

  62. Denise Walker - August 3, 2021 11:54 am

    for those of us that have lost parents to dementia, age, or cancer, your columns about Mother Mary is a tribute to her… her sense of humor, her love, her fondness for all things Sean. If it helps, write about her. We are here for you and like hearing what’s going on in your life, even if the news is sad. God bless you and the Mrs.

  63. Ginny Judson - August 3, 2021 11:55 am

    Sean, I look forward to your stories about Mary every morning. They make me smile, laugh, and cry. They make me nostalgic for the old days. They make me think of my grandma whom my mom and I nursed through the end of life. I think of us sitting with her night after night with boxes full of old photos asking her who the people were, listening and laughing to her stories about the people and diligently writing names in the margins and on the backs. I remember how we struggled to keep her in bed on that next day to last day because she wanted to go “over there”. “Over there” was somewhere beyond the built in book case northwest of her bed and I believe she was seeing Jesus and his angels waiting for her there. Your stories help me to reminisce about Mama. I nursed her through the end of her life right after my sister, Karin, was suddenly killed in a car wreck. I thought she was losing her mind over losing her daughter, but dammit no, it was a glioblastoma multiforme. That’s the worst of the worst. It was the hardest five months of her life and of mine. So yeah, they lead me to warm memories of Mama and Karin. Finally I think of my grandpa. I always called him Grampa until one day my 16 month old son walked past him, stopped, turned, pointed, and emphatically dubbed him Pawpaw. Well ok then. Pawpaw came to stay with me while I was taking care of Mama and proceeded to have two strokes. He ended up in rehab until Mama went on Hospice care and he told me if I didn’t get him out of that GD place he would leave and walk to my house! He meant it so I loaded him up and brought him home. He sat diligently at my mama’s bedside while he wasn’t warming his old bottom at the fireplace or stoking the fire up to the point just before all of our blood turned to steam and ordered coffee from me at least 347 times a day. Pawpaw had to go to assisted living after Mama died so I could go back to work. I could tell you a story about that that would have you on the floor rolling with laughter, but it involves diarrhea and elderly testicles, so I’ll just stop there. Pawpaw went to heaven just 4 1/2 months behind Mama.

    What I’m trying to say is that these stories touch me deeply. They bring me back into touch with my own grief, loss, joy, and love. While you write to manage your grief and get into touch with your joy, you help so many of us to remember our own. In short, we have empathy. We feel your pain. We understand. We want to take this journey with you. So pay no attention to Coach. He’s got his own issues and has probably only one or two feelings that he’s never gotten in touch with. Someday he’ll learn empathy and I am willing to bet it will be a painful lesson for him.

    May God richly bless you, your lovely wife, and feisty Ms. Mary!

  64. Susan Carter - August 3, 2021 12:01 pm

    Amen and that puts an end to someone who has no idea of the pain and hurt y’all are going through. Don’t pay him any mind because one day he’ll understand. I have lived through this stage of life with my precious Mama. It is so hard going through it but the pain after it’s over never ends. Not that you won’t be happy and live life to the fullest…. it will still just be there in your heart. Y’all are in my prayers and I am holding you and Jamie close in my heart. Mother Mary stories are my very favorites.

  65. Liz and Mac - August 3, 2021 12:02 pm

    My husband and I are grieving along with you and Jamie. Please don’t stop writing about Mother Mary. She has become a part of our lives too and we will all grieve her loss when she transitions from her earthly body to her heavenly body.

  66. Nan Hedgspeth - August 3, 2021 12:03 pm

    Write Mary stories as long as you can. My young sister in law passed unexpectedly this year. It stinks. We get by remembering stories about her. It helps.

  67. Pam King - August 3, 2021 12:05 pm

    “Coach” seems to be the type of person that would put his mother in a nursing home and let someone else deal with her. Love reading about Mary and the care and love your wife and you shower on her. When my father was dying, I tried to do all I could for him so I would have no regrets when he died. I still have times when I think ‘I wish I had done this, or wish I had done that’ and I am sure you will, too, but rest assured you did the best you could. God bless you for giving Mary this, not just these last days, but always.

  68. Sheri Smith - August 3, 2021 12:08 pm

    I frankly love to hear about Mary. I’ve been praying for her and your family. Your remembrances of her are wonderful. Thank you for sharing them. I’m sorry this Coach guy was not understanding. Both of my parents are old and I know these days are coming for me and my family. Please keep telling us these stories about your adorable mother in law.

  69. Robert L Chiles - August 3, 2021 12:12 pm

    Aaaaannnndddd it’s Mother Mary for the Win!!!!!!!!

  70. Kathy Willis - August 3, 2021 12:14 pm

    Sean, please continue to write about Mother Mary. I love all your stories about her, and the special relationship that you two have. Your column is the first thing I look for each morning to see how she, and you, are doing. Don’t let some jackass keep you from writing about her. The rest of us want to read it!!

  71. L Keyes - August 3, 2021 12:17 pm

    I think, the majority of your readers, appreciate you sharing this time and part of your life with us (I know I do). In a world filled with hate, it is do wonderful to read your stories and see the love you have for your “mother Mary”.
    And I think your response to ‘Coach’ was perfect – My heart aches for you and for Jamie – I, too know what it feels like to become an (adult) orphan. Please keep writing about Mary and sharing your lives together with us. May God Bless and Comfort you all in the day ahead.

  72. chrisswain3 - August 3, 2021 12:18 pm

    I never knew that reading your column was mandatory.

  73. Karen Snyder - August 3, 2021 12:19 pm

    My mother, rest her soul, taught me many things, not the least of which was, “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” Sorry, Coach, this isn’t about you, so move along and take your self-centered opinions with you. Love and prayers for you all, Sean.🧡

  74. susanrennianderson - August 3, 2021 12:24 pm

    You go, Sean! My dad and my husband both passed through Hospice on their way to Heaven. Now there are some godly people! Your columns about Mary are some of your best. The columns you are writing while watching your mother-in-law and remarkable character actively dying have been my favorites. Maybe Coach ought to check our the funnies in the newspaper – more his speed.

  75. Debbie g - August 3, 2021 12:27 pm

    Sean. Thank you for keeping on we love your stories and families you write about
    Praying for all of you. Love to all including coach 🙂

  76. Rhonda - August 3, 2021 12:28 pm

    Ditto to all of the above. I lost my Mary in 1997. A simple memory still ends in wet cheeks.In the grocery store the other day I heard a lady an aisle over speak in that wonderful southern lady drawl. Not the redneck “howdy” but that that sweet gracious, I was raised with class, selection of communication. Next thing I knew I was leaking all over a display of pork and beans. I suddenly missed her so bad I couldn’t feel anything else. Thats a love I hope every heart feels at some point in their life. Even Coach. Love you Jamie!

  77. haroldmorgan52252459 - August 3, 2021 12:28 pm

    Keep telling your stories, Sean! Keep telling YOUR stories!!!!

  78. Dr. Dennis Stalvey, aka Preacher Dennis the Storyteller - - August 3, 2021 12:29 pm

    There is no direction book for how people deal with grief and loss, just as there is no such thing on how to rear children when children are born; Dr. Spock tried that years ago and look how his guidance messed up parents. Most of us fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to loss. And even though we may know our loved one is dying, we are never prepared when it happens. Psychologically, I’m not sure if “Coach” is really tired of what you write about your mother-in-law or he wants to see if he can generate people to come to your defense. Either way, I would not want anyone close to me under his supervision. Whoops, there he goes again, got me doing it. There are two things found in the Bible: 1. Judge not, lest ye be judged in the same way. And, 2. There are still some Old Testament curses “Coach” would regret for a lifetime if they got release on him. But let me be very clear, I ain’t judging him! Sean, it is your grief, your time, your way, and Mary is your mother-in-law; and she is the mother of your wife. Not some losing “Coach” in Illinois. There he goes again. All this coming from a retired chaplain who ministered to many older adults in a retirement/nursing home setting. And one final thing, “Coach” may not know it, but his dying process began the day he took his first breath at his birth.

  79. Debbie - August 3, 2021 12:30 pm

    I feel sorry for this guy. I feel even sorrier for those he coaches and his family. Remembering the characters in our lives is perhaps one of the great joys that hasn’t been taken away from us in this crazy world…watching them slowly leave us is perhaps a gift of having time for a long goodbye. I had that gift with my dad and I am thankful for it.

  80. Tina Laird - August 3, 2021 12:30 pm

    My heart knew not to read any further about Mother Mary but I couldn’t stop. Being an only daughter and losing my mother in November to dementia, while the world was shut down, is something no amount of grief counseling can heal. I am sorry you and your wife are going through this heavy burden but when Mother Mary says something funny, try to hold on to those words. I will continue to remember all of you in my prayers.

  81. Jim McGuire - August 3, 2021 12:30 pm

    Amen, amen and AMEN! You keep right on writing about Mary for a month or a year. And I hope with all my heart it is a year…though I know that’s not possible. In many ways, I think your recent columns about Mary are some of the best you’ve ever done. I won’t say I enjoyed them, because I would be a pretty sorry human being if I took any pleasure from what I know from my own experience is a tragic and heart-wrenching ordeal. But they were sure good and covered the gamut of emotion. Your writing is about people, their attitudes, and situations, and Miss Mary and what she’s going thorough now fits all three criteria. Writers write, and the best of ’em write about reality and truth and the impact is has on lives and hearts. You and your family, including Mary, will be in my prayers. Stay strong and vulnerable…

  82. Paula Calhoun - August 3, 2021 12:32 pm

    Well done! Another great one for Mary!

  83. Jo - August 3, 2021 12:33 pm

    Sean, don’t let the insensitive words of that coach affect you and what you write about your sweet Mother Mary.
    Focus on all of the positive, encouraging supporters which far outnumber those of COACH.

  84. Susan Reeves - August 3, 2021 12:36 pm

    Sean, your post today will, no doubt, command a huge numbers of responses, as well it should! I feel sorry for the coach and the students whose lives he touches–I’m sure those students are not getting daily examples by the coach of loving kindness, consideration, and compassion in a world that truly needs those traits. Wishing many blessings to you and Jamie as you bid farewell to that precious Mother Mary.

  85. Judy - August 3, 2021 12:37 pm

    Your response was so gracious! I am thankful for the thoughts you are sharing with us. I recognize some of those thoughts from in my experiences from not too long ago. Perhaps he can’t handle remembering his experiences, or he hasn’t had them yet. Maybe he needs to just take a break. But you, Sean, please continue. Your writings are so inclusive and therapeutic for the majority. Blessings! 🌻

  86. Karen Fluharty - August 3, 2021 12:39 pm

    Sean, I have been and am so glad that you are sharing this journey with us. We all love Mother Mary and we know how important she is to you both.
    Yep, that coach has a career at Hallmark- not a good one! Karen

  87. Betty F. - August 3, 2021 12:41 pm

    Wonderful words for Mary and for us! So many have said it better in previous comments. I must say one thing (or two) in defense of Coach. So many men in our culture have been programmed not to show weakness or tenderness, so they stuff all related feelings. I think you hit some nerves that he had forgotten and it was not comfortable, so he pushed back. Testament to the power of your words to cut through hall that armor! Peace and love Sean to you and Jamie.

  88. Rhea Wynn - August 3, 2021 12:43 pm

    You are such a kind man. My reply would not have been nearly as gracious. I love hearing about Mother Mary. Your columns the last few days remind me of the precious time I had with loved ones as they were passing. Keep on letting us be a part of your love for your family; it is beautiful to behold. And I pray for both you and Jamie when Mother Mary gets her wings.

  89. Jill McKenzie - August 3, 2021 12:43 pm

    Sean, I LOVE how you love your mother-in-law! We should all be so lucky!

    “…unsolicited critiques regarding writing that nobody forces you to read…” My sentiments exactly Sean!

  90. Ruth Ledyard - August 3, 2021 12:45 pm

    I have loved every column you have written about your mother-in-law, the older ones and these as she is dying. She is quite colorful and full of wit, and I can tell you love her dearly. Just ignore this guy. There is always at least one you can’t satisfy.

  91. ROBERT STORCK - August 3, 2021 12:47 pm

    Keep writing about meaningful stuff. I wish that I could have spent time my folks in their last days. There are lessons to be learned in your simple words. If anyone is growing tired of reading about these end of life joys, they can stop reading after the first couple of sentences. Keep up the good work.

  92. Jan - August 3, 2021 12:48 pm

    Your stories of Mother Mary are some of the best you have ever written. That statement says a lot because you are a very talented writer with the ability to capture the humanity of the people you write about. The writer you remind me of more than anyone is Lewis Grizzard and I consider that high praise. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Mother Mary, you and Jamie. Thank you for the privilege of sharing this journey with your family.

  93. Russell - August 3, 2021 12:50 pm

    Keep doing and writing as you have been. Forget this coach and others like him. I’ll continue to pray for you and your wife. No matter the ages or circumstances, saying goodbye to your mother is hard, incredibly hard, perhaps the hardest thing a person will ever do.

  94. Tiffany - August 3, 2021 12:51 pm

    Me myself and I.

    People need to remember our world is US not ME.

    It saddens me to read that people have lost compassion and still look outside for others to entertain and focus solely on me, myself, and I. Grow up and be the person you might need.

    Prayers for your family as you navigate unknown and unchartered moments. I pray you will have peace and calm. Celebrate the life shared.

    Poo on those that want to stomp in your garden. They only smell the %@$& and not the fresh cut grass or flowers.

  95. Linda Vaughan - August 3, 2021 12:52 pm

    This response is perfect for an insensitive coach, whose players will hopefully not learn from him.

  96. Ted Norton - August 3, 2021 12:58 pm

    Take a hike coach. Sean, I’m enjoying everyone of them.

  97. Allison - August 3, 2021 12:59 pm

    I just discovered your column and I regret I have only known Mary for a week now…and yet I feel like I know her. Your stories bring back sweet memories and remind me to retell “my Mary’s” stories before they are forgotten.
    Life is a thousand small stories – I’m grateful Coach is not an editor!

  98. Ron - August 3, 2021 1:01 pm

    My wife and I have gone through the same process with my father recently. Please keep writing. We are comforted and encouraged by such stories.

  99. Mike Crawley - August 3, 2021 1:03 pm

    Dear Sean, Your stories about Mother Mary remind so many of us of our own experiences. First there were tears then smiles as I was taken back 25 years. My father and my mother in law both went to their reward the same year. Thanks for helping us to remember the loved ones in our lives. Keep writing! You have a mission and a gift from you know who.

  100. Barbara Shields - August 3, 2021 1:04 pm

    That coach has no raising. That is all that can be said about him. I am sure MM might come up with something better though. Thinking of her today and her sweet family.

  101. Cynthia - August 3, 2021 1:06 pm

    Sean, words cannot convey the sadness over the impending long loss yiu and your wife are going thru, sending all of my love and best thoughts to you all xo I lose the best most sweet Mom in February, aged 73, to cancer…. I know your pain.

    As for you Coach… your a Dweeb…

  102. Kay Britton - August 3, 2021 1:10 pm

    My only complaint about these columns is that I never got to meet that special lady! Thank you for loving your family!

  103. Donna Messervy - August 3, 2021 1:11 pm

    I admire your wife and the dear, sweet care she is giving her mother! I know how hard it is to do that! Your mother-in-love is lucky to have you care for and love her so much too! I always love the stories about her and can bring several to mind with a big smile! I have also shed tears as I have read about her being so ill! Please continue to honor her through your endearing stories!

  104. Lucinda Harding - August 3, 2021 1:15 pm

    As long as you want to write MM stories I’ll keep reading and enjoying them!!! I love the way you are honoring both MM and Jamie. 🙏🏼

  105. Eva Toews - August 3, 2021 1:21 pm

    Mother Mary articles are my favorites! She is a dear old soul. Love and prayers as you go through this special time. 💚😢

  106. MermaidGrammy - August 3, 2021 1:22 pm

    We don’t know what pain Coach is going through that made him write such an unkind email. I feel honored that you are sharing this sacred experience with us. The first thing I always do is read your article. Nowadays, it’s to make sure Mother Mary is still with us. Bless you, Sweet Sean

  107. Jeannine Auth - August 3, 2021 1:22 pm

    Apparently, this coach’s sensitivity chip burned out. Pity his poor players. But you and Jamie and Miss Mary are gold-plated, so keep sharing that love and hard-won wisdom with the rest of us.

  108. Alan Jamison - August 3, 2021 1:25 pm

    Ouch! I pray that he can be as blessed as you have been

  109. Anne Robinson - August 3, 2021 1:26 pm

    At the moment, we still have freedom so why is the coach reading your column if your stories bug him? If I started to write of all the loss in my life, I might make you cry but unsure you would be so flat out mean. Many times I come across lots of things in this life that offend me, don’t apply to me and so on. I don’t make a case out of it. When it comes to death of a loved one, disrespect is the ultimate hatred in my personal humble opinion. Go away coach. As for your stories of Mary, oh my goodness, she kept you upright and on your toes. She is such a big part of your life I am hurting thinking of your sadness when she is gone. We are praying, my prayer list grows longer each day that I have to ask God for forgiveness if I drift off to sleep at night before I am done. I wonder around my home every single day and pray until I fall into sleep at night. Tomorrow I am praying for strength as it is the second anniversary of our sweet great grand boy Alastor Avery. He passed away from SIDS on August 4, 2019 at the age of 7 months. Not a day goes by that I do not think of him. But I know God has a plan for each life he takes from us. We will never know until we see Him face to face why he took them. My grandmother use to say, God only takes the good ones. Mother Mary, she is one of the good ones. Much love and many prayers to you and your wife.

  110. Laine Thayer - August 3, 2021 1:27 pm

    Your writings of your loved ones and others loved ones are absolutely a beautiful gift! I reached out to you about my 16 year old nephew whom had glioblastoma … he wished for ‘fame’… you immediately answered with a touching story about Ben! He was thrilled … just like Mary. After he passed, you wrote again! I am forever grateful for your kindness and your writings! Thank you for being the BEST human you are meant to be!
    I continue to pray for your family!

  111. Alan Jamison - August 3, 2021 1:29 pm

    Ouch! I pray that his life may be as blessed as yours has been

  112. Bex - August 3, 2021 1:29 pm

    I have no words…You said them all! Praying for you and Jamie and all your family for God’s Amazing Grace, Healing Power and Perfect Peace to comfort you! Praying for ‘the coach’ too.

  113. Billy Daniel - August 3, 2021 1:30 pm

    How blessed we are to be able to read your column and to mourn along side you. Your column is a highlight of my day – whether about Mary, your wife or your dogs, or just sights and other people you meet — you make me feel connected to God’s world. May God’s peace fill you at this time.

  114. SilkPurseProductions - August 3, 2021 1:36 pm

    It has been a privilege to read your stories about Mary. You have brought her into my life and shared so much of her with us. Even though I have never met her, I will feel a void when she is gone and miss her as well. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  115. Kate - August 3, 2021 1:36 pm

    Geeze Louise, maybe Coach feels guilt about something or this is hitting too close to home, still no excuse for him.

  116. Kathy Compton - August 3, 2021 1:37 pm

    Excellent as always…I appreciate the love and respect you show for your mother-in-law and for your wife!

  117. Sybil Smith - August 3, 2021 1:38 pm

    Pay no attention to a poor guy who has never loved one as you, I and millions of
    Others. I hope they will continue after she reaches Heaven.sybi

  118. lindadykes4557 - August 3, 2021 1:39 pm

    Sean, keep writing about whatever you need to write about. My mother is in hospice care right now, and I can completely identify with what you and your wife are going through. I’m so sorry you’re losing someone dear to you. The coach who made such a comment must have a young (and insensitive) soul. Yours is not. Take care. Prayers for comfort for you.

  119. Gordon - August 3, 2021 1:42 pm

    Sean-Continue to write what you wish to write-especially concerning Mother Mary. It’s your blog; not anyone else’s. Thoughts to you, Jaime, and your family.

  120. Arelene Mack - August 3, 2021 1:44 pm

    Continue to celebrate the people you’ve met on your journey to where you are now. God put each one of them in your life for a reason and for a season – some seasons having lasted longer than others. I read your musings because I enjoy seeing your thoughts in print. I have been at 2 of your public appearances and try to hear your voice in my head as I read. Keep up the good work. I like it.

  121. Carol Watson - August 3, 2021 1:44 pm

    Oh my gosh please don’t stop talking Ms Mary! I have grown to love like my own family & l will miss her but hopefully you will keep her alive by continuing with the many stories about her, ignore that “coach” ,he does not speak for us. I love y’all!

  122. Leesa - August 3, 2021 1:52 pm

    Today is the tenth anniversary of my mother’s passing; she was the last of my birth family of five. So, much of what you are expressing and sharing in your journey of saying goodbye to sweet Mary is so familiar. But, your way of sharing it with us is truly insightful. And, loving. And, respectful. In spite of being a lifelong Yankee, I so appreciate your sharing. Keep it up, Sean. We need you.

  123. Phyllis wilson. - August 3, 2021 1:53 pm

    Sean, I’m so sorry that you received the letter from the coach. Your column starts my day. I’m 82, hopefully a young 82, but I am so grateful that you love old people. You appreciate the value of a lifetime of experiences, experiences that young people will never have. They live in a different world and have different values. You see the treasures in the simple stories the elderly can share. You recall times much like my younger years. Slower times when people gathered just to enjoy one another. The pieces you write about Mary make me wish I could have known her. God Bless You for your loving care for her. I feel privileged to be witness to this beautiful and touching journey your family is going through. Each day I leave the moments you share with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. Thank you. A kindred soul.

  124. Harriet Bryan - August 3, 2021 1:58 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I didn’t know Mary but I felt like I did. I went to Huntingdon College in ’54, love to wear pearls, always use Dukes mayo, grew up with a summer house on the Choctahatchee Bay SP? , danced at the Grayton beach store, watched the Blue angels practice out of Pensacola, plus more memories than you have time for. Rejoioce that you knew such an incredible southern lady. I am 87 and I will be buried at liberty church in Rout 3 Brantley Alabama with my husband . You always bring out the best of my southern memories. May angels carry her home.

  125. Dina Voutour - August 3, 2021 2:00 pm

    How said the fellow who wrote you that comment has no heart. I laughed at the Meh comment from Mary. I cried through the rest! My advice is NEVER stop writing about Mary.

  126. Jenny Young - August 3, 2021 2:04 pm

    So many people have come to depend on your posts to help them through hard times that some of them struggle with being expected to help you through yours. But that doesn’t really matter. This is Mary’s time & the world’s turn to pay it forward by being there for you as well as we can through the internet. You have been there for so many people but I know that Mary & Jamie are your world & it’s perfectly fine to sit in that world as long as you need to. Thank you for sharing glimpses of it with us. We love you all more than words can say.

  127. Cindy - August 3, 2021 2:08 pm

    “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” Since Coach took the time to read entire columns, maybe he will be bold enough to read the comments, too. Shame on him. My parents are 85 (Mom) and 91 (Dad) and though they have surprisingly good health at the moment, I know that I, too, may be walking in your and Jamie’s shoes in the near future. I pray and hope I can be even a smidge as dutiful as Jamie is with her mother. Bless her (and your) breaking hearts. Your columns inspire me to rise to the occasion and for that, I am beyond grateful and thankful. What a gift you have. Keeping you, Jamie, Mother Mary and your pups in my prayers.

  128. Joretta Parker - August 3, 2021 2:08 pm

    Sean I think it’s nice that you are writing about your Mother in law. Don’t pay any attention to this jerk. Evidently he doesn’t have a heart or has never lost anyone close to him. I hope for his sake that he doesn’t have to watch someone he loves slowly leave this earth. My prayers are with you and Jamie. May Mary leave in peace on her new journey.

  129. Pondcrane - August 3, 2021 2:09 pm

    Definition of blog (Entry 1 of 2)
    1 computers : a website that contains online personal reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photographs provided by the writer
    also : the contents of such a site
    2 : a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by a writer.

    Perhaps COACH doesn’t understand the meaning of a BLOG.

    “Sean of the South-volume one” is a great place to “hear about other stuff” 🙂

  130. Helen De Prima - August 3, 2021 2:11 pm

    Stick to your guns, Sean! Honest emotion trumps sickening-sweet every time.

  131. Carol Leeth - August 3, 2021 2:12 pm

    I think it is great that you have that kind of relationship with your mother-in-law. I love reading your daily posts. They make me remember my Mother who passed a little over 2 years ago. She had just gotten set up for in home hospice care and after about 3 days she passed. I wish I could still have some time with her. There are so many people that don’t have a good relationship with family members. It is so sad. My family is not as close as I would like for us to be. I have 3 grown children and only one of them will call me and talk just because she wants to talk to me. Not because she wants something from me. My brother passed June 7. Now it is just my sister and me left.

    Missing my Mom in Alabama

  132. Suellen - August 3, 2021 2:15 pm

    I once went to a therapist and her best advice to me was “talk about it, talk about it, talk about it”. It’s not that they need to hear it but that you need to say it. If it stays it my body it festers. You have intuitively found a way to do that with your writings and didn’t need to pay for the fancy doctor. I think you can tell from the reactions to your columns that you are touching a lot of people and helping them through their healing process as well. I love reading you every day but I agree with others that some of these have been your best writing. Carry on and we continue to pray.

  133. Linda E Crenshaw - August 3, 2021 2:16 pm

    I open your column each day to read about Mary. I love you for loving her, and I am crying for what you are going through. At the same time, I am sobbing with a broken heart over losing my mother 7 years ago. I feel sorry for that coach. Either he has little emotion or he has never lost a piece of his heart.

  134. Carmen - August 3, 2021 2:18 pm

    For what it is worth, I have enjoyed reading your stories about this journey with your mother-in-law. I can see how much you love her and that is so special. Some people are just disrespectful and never change. I’m glad to know he was never a “coach” to me or my children! Keep telling us her stories. In the end we have nothing but memories and sharing those with others keeps that alive. God bless you all and you are all in my prayers daily.

  135. Chris - August 3, 2021 2:24 pm

    Many people are u comfortable with death. We have sterilized it and put it in a corner. We talk in whispers. You are putting it front and center for us and some are uncomfortable…that’s too bad as it is part of living and we should celebrate it as we celebrate births. We should talk about it like you do and enjoy every moment we can. Keep doing what you do Sean. It resonates for many of us, and for those who don’t like it, turn the page !

  136. Linda - August 3, 2021 2:29 pm

    Well said my friend ! Sometimes I wonder what we humans are evolving into. I was hoping a better species but I truly have my doubts.
    Sending healing light & love to you three!

  137. Christina - August 3, 2021 2:40 pm

    Mother Mary is one of the most lively persons I know, even just from your columns. How can you not write more about our beloved Mother Mary?! We are with you and Jamie. Sending love to you all!

  138. mollytoddmccgmailcom - August 3, 2021 2:40 pm

    Oh, my goodness! I just discovered your writing about a week ago, and the stories of these times with Mother Mary are so dear. Of course, it’s because you have been able to articulate your feelings about her and, likewise, have hit notes of my own and those who have gone through this special time with someone close. Please ignore coach as you would a pesky fly or the strike from a baby–neither of them can hurt you, and you would forgive both for their ignorance. Poor Coach! He sounds like he is very new to coaching–what real coach refers to himself as a coach? To my chagrin, in my first year or two of my teaching career, I was certain that I was the only one who loved my students. It was only until I had children of my own could I understand the various facets of love that a parent can feel. So, bless his heart, when he goes through a similar hard time with letting go of someone who is very dear to him will he he remember the lessons in your writing and realize how empty his words sounded and hopefully how embarrassed that he is to be showing himself to be so immature.
    I look forward to many more of your columns about MM. They take me right back to those sad, special, last, important, holy days with my parents. Your Jamie is a real jewel–I was not nearly as wonderful to my mother–I had a hard time letting go of her as my mother and seeing her as a dependent child. Others reassure me that I did a good job of taking care of her, but I know I could have done better. So, one of the hard things about grief is trying to forgive yourself for whatever you did, or didn’t do.
    May you see the angels that are surrounding you and your family. This is a very special, blessed time.

  139. H J Patterson - August 3, 2021 2:41 pm

    Just keep writing Sean and we’ll keep reading. I’m somewhat glad this goober head coach wrote in, it made a great subject matter for another piece about a southern lady who is obviously a character. She’ll be missed by more people than you know.

  140. Robin McDonald - August 3, 2021 2:47 pm

    Your column, your content. Keep on writing about Mary! I recently lost my mom, my best friend a d am an orphan. I feel so lost without her. Hugs and love to you and your family. I don’t wish orphan hood on anyone! 😢❤️

  141. Paul Moore - August 3, 2021 2:47 pm

    Maybe he meant it in a good way Sean. It’s easy to get paranoid when your emotions are stressed. And remember the family has the best replacement for Mary. Your wife. My family didn’t have that. Time moves on Time the thief. Time the equalizer. Time the conqueror. Be glad you had her for so long. Take comfort in memories and family. ☮️

  142. Kerry - August 3, 2021 2:51 pm

    Sean, I am reminded of the quote from a famous author who said ‘Writing is easy…just open a vein and let it bleed.” In times like this, I know that strikes home with you. Blessings to you, love your columns every day. Especially those that are ‘Straight From the Heart’, by Bryan Adams. Let the tears of loss and those of grief and those of good-fortune-to-have-such-a-great-MIL flow! And then after this season has passed you will cry tears of laughter.

  143. johnallenberry - August 3, 2021 2:52 pm

    Coach needs to remember it’s not about him. Goodness, I’ve never met the center of the known universe before. Must be nice. I hope he reads this and thinks about things for a minute. I’ve rarely read anything quite so tone deaf, so insensitive. You responded a lot better than I would.


  144. johnallenberry - August 3, 2021 2:54 pm

    Please keep writing about Mother Mary. These stories are sweet, vital, beautiful.

  145. Linda Hanna Lloyd - August 3, 2021 2:56 pm

    To the coach from Illinois: I don’t know a thing about you. Are you the coach who says to your player who comes back to practice sad because he’s lost a relative “pul up your boot straps and get on the field now!”

  146. Lori - August 3, 2021 2:56 pm

    Sir, you put into words what most of us couldn’t who have experienced the same. Coach will be in my good thoughts when this inevitable situation arises in his/ her life. I hope they have a fraction of your ability and good heart to make the most of their loved one’s memories and time in their final days.

  147. Lori - August 3, 2021 2:57 pm

    Dear Coach in Illinois – kiss my grits!! It’s Sean’s blog – he writes what he wants – you are free not to read but the disrespect of your comment about his writing about his mother in law is absolutely horrid!! You need to check yourself and ask for forgiveness.
    Sean and family – we walk with you knowing this path is heartbreaking. Keep writing about your journey.

  148. Nancy Crews - August 3, 2021 2:59 pm

    ❤your writing. Don’t let anyone push you around about your writing!

  149. Marge Clark - August 3, 2021 3:00 pm

    Just keep writing what is in your heart, Sean. You are loved.

  150. Stephanie - August 3, 2021 3:04 pm

    Thank you Sean for your stories. Thank you for sharing your life in such a vulnerable way. Sharing these moments with you brings back the moments I spent with my mom. I was Jamie back then. And although the moments were exhausting and full of grief, they full of joy, laughter, existential experiences and finally emptiness. The emptiness of being orphaned. It’s disorienting at any age.

    Your column puts words to feelings that most of us can’t find. And all I can say is thank you. Thank you for being in my life through this column. Thank you for sharing Jamie and Mother Mary.

  151. Nancy Colbaugh - August 3, 2021 3:07 pm

    You probably don’t know but your columns about Mother Mary are preparing me mentally and emotionally to handle potential loss of my Sunday School class of very senior, senior adults who have become parents to me. Average age 85. Only two of us are in our sixties, two in their nineties and one that is 100 years old and the rest scattered between 70-90 years old. The wit and wisdom is beyond measure in these people like your Mother Mary. I’ve even bought one of your books for one 92-year-old Alabama girl and print out other columns that I know she would love. I decided to start buying your physical books to pass around to my class. One of your columns, I gave to my son-in-law as he is struggling with health issues. As I told my class about your columns, you sprinkle bits of the Holy throughout your columns.

  152. Rose - August 3, 2021 3:09 pm

    Sean – I consider it the greatest of honors to be with someone as they take their last breath. I was with my husband and my mother as they transitioned from this world to be with Jesus. It was a thing of beauty. I pray Mother Mary has a soft landing in Heaven and that you and Jaime are gentle with yourselves and each other as you figure out life without her. I have thought often that my Mother taught me everything I know but how to live without her. It took a little while. Good bless you guys.

  153. Mary - August 3, 2021 3:10 pm

    I am so moved by the love and care you both are giving Mary. So many just shove loved ones in to nursing facilites and do not care. Thank you for caring.

  154. Dot Giersch - August 3, 2021 3:18 pm

    Thank you Sean!! And nicely said!!

  155. Leigh Amiot - August 3, 2021 3:22 pm

    Dear High School Coach in Illinois,

    A long time ago a priest said to his flock to be diligent to pray for the dying because they often are unable to pray for themselves during that time. The process of death is a sad and uncomfortable topic, I reckon we all don’t think it’s going to happen to us or someone we love…until it does. I knew you were going to get scorched in the replies, so I’m tempering my two cents.

    I thank the Lord Mother Mary has had such diligent at home care. Breaks my heart to hear of families kept apart during this time due to the pandemic.

    And Sean, the column where your MIL caught you starkers, then later “bobbed her eyebrows” up and down while recollecting that—it’s one of the best belly laughs I’ve ever had. May Mother Mary rest peacefully in the time she has left here on earth and in the hereafter. I loved my mother-in-law, too. She was funny and never interfered, just loved.

    Love to you all.

  156. Martha V - August 3, 2021 3:24 pm

    I’ve been following your daily reports about your mother-in-law with great interest. My own mother is nearing the end of her life and I could only hope to honor her half as much as you honor Mary with your wonderful writing. Keep them coming!

  157. Tom Wallin - August 3, 2021 3:27 pm

    Sean, you keep writing about Mother Mary as often as you wish. Most of us don’t mind and we care about how she, you and Jaime are doing through the ordeal. I don’t wish that on anyone but many have also had the same burden. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Say “Hi” to Mary and tell her we are all thinking and praying for her.

  158. Deborah Blount - August 3, 2021 3:29 pm

    By all means you need to write about your mother-in-law, Mary. What Coach doesn’t seem to understand is this is part of your way of grieving the imminent loss of someone you love. For those of us that have been through this, we have all chosen different ways to handle our loss. Each of us has chosen what works best for us. I applaud your choice. It is my hope that you continue to do what is best for you. Coach and those of like minds will actually gain from your grief, whether they realuze it now or later.
    Give Mary a kiss from me and tell her she is so blessed to have so many who care about her. Even though I have never met her, she and all her loved ones are in my thoughts and prayers. Bless each of you. You are truly blessed to have this time to share with Mary.


  159. Peggy Slaton - August 3, 2021 3:32 pm

    Your mother-in-law sounds like a very special and fun person. I know she will be sorely missed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the relationship the two of you have. It’s hard seeing our loved ones leave us.

  160. dawn ritz - August 3, 2021 3:34 pm

    I love, love, love all of your columns–especially the ones about Mother Mary!! I hope to see many, many more! Thank you so much for sharing these stories with us! My mom passed away a year ago this Friday–in a nursing home. As I am sure you remember, nursing homes were not open to visitors, so we had not seen her in person since March. I am loving that you are getting to say goodbye to Mother Mary on your terms and hers!! Prays and hugs for Mother Mary, Jamie, and you!

  161. Gwen - August 3, 2021 3:34 pm

    There are real life jerks everywhere.

  162. Rikki - August 3, 2021 3:35 pm

    I love your reply. I love every.single.word. You ding-aling! 🙂

  163. Mariann - August 3, 2021 3:38 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading your writing each morning for years. Sometimes I’ve laughed so hard I couldn’t finishing it without tears. But when I read about your mother in law and her condition it took my breath away. It made my heart hurt for y’all. Our sweet Mom when to heaven today 9 years ago. Each morning I’ve read with sweet memories of our Mom’s nursing home stay and we her kids were with her everyday. She loved Jesus and showed His love to us her family and everyone she met. Thank you for the laughs, awareness of the kind people that still exist, for the trips to places I will never go, for the dirt road life, for the small towns tales but mostly for the memories that family and friends can only create. God bless you and you wonderful wife. Praying for y’all. Take care!

  164. joyful reader - August 3, 2021 3:42 pm

    Mother Mary is heading out for an adventure rivaling the other Mary Martin aka Peter Pan! Hugs to you and your sweet wife.

    Coach needs to sit in the corner with a Dunce hat on missing whatever meal is next while writing 1000 times, “I will learn and show empathy in my life”, do community service in a homeless shelter for a month as well as spend a month helping in an eldercare facility for a year. Goodness, bless his meager heart.

  165. Patricia Gibson - August 3, 2021 3:44 pm

    Sean, some people just don’t get that they can skip reading if they want. I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments about Mary and am sharing this time of grief with you. Love to all of you and especially Mary🙏❤️

  166. Rebecca Johnson - August 3, 2021 3:49 pm

    I cannot believe there are people like this using up good oxygen. I have always loved your stories of Mother Mary. I love all your stories. I feel like I know her and would have loved to have met glad that are only a few (hopefully) horrible people like this and I hope I never meet one…praying for Mother Mary, Jamie and you.

  167. Cheryl McWilliams - August 3, 2021 3:50 pm

    Mary sounds like my kind of person and one I hope my kids will tell tales about. God bless you and your wife and sweet/tart Mary.

  168. Darlene Humphries - August 3, 2021 4:00 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! Obviously he hasn’t been through it! You have had some very big blessing in these days. It wasn’t that sweet when I went through it with my Father, I wish it had been. So for me it has been a blessing to read your stories about sitting with Mary.

  169. Jackie Lavin - August 3, 2021 4:10 pm

    Ignoring the Couch’s ignorance and sending you, Jamie & Mother Mary knowledge that you are all deeply cared about by a huge group of strangers who like me, feel they know you.Sending you Peace, strength, courage and love.

  170. Trish Stone - August 3, 2021 4:12 pm

    Sean, I have relished every day with MM. you see, I spent 13 years nursing my father-in-law. We were like oil and vinegar together. So completely different. I had to beg him to get dressed, shower or brush his teeth. It was like having a toddler that never grew up. He was completely capable, but was just not interested. They were the hardest years of my life. But I gotta tell you, we were two people who absolutely always had the other’s back and had a serious dominoes rivalry that went on daily for years. That old man gave me a run for my money every single day but it was one of the greatest privileges of my life to care for him. I have read about MM every day with a tear sliding down my face and thought long and hard about that old cuss. I loved him dearly. It left a hole in my life I am still trying to figure out two years later. Your wife will need some time for adjusting, maybe a lot of it. Make sure she gets it. And thank you for recognizing what a privilege it is to care for and share a life with someone like Mary. You will never be the same. I’d give anything for one more dominoes game with my father-in-law. I wouldn’t cut him a lick of slack either, he’d hate me for it. But what a joy that would be! You just keep it up Sean. You are doing the right thing and it is a balm to my soul

  171. Gail in Virginia - August 3, 2021 4:15 pm

    Sean, please keep writing about mother Mary!! It brings back memories for me. I had the honor of being the caretaker for my father-in-law with hospice. I loved him so much and even though he was dying, those memories are precious. I wish I could have written about him. I should have kept a journal of our experience, but never thought about it. Your column is the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning so that I can read what is happening with Mary and your wonderful stories about her! I am praying for peace and comfort for your family!! I am also praying for Coach. He must be a very sad and lonely person to have never loved someone dear enough to go on that last journey with them and keep those special memories in his heart!

  172. Jeff Ferriss - August 3, 2021 4:20 pm

    Light em’ up Sean….What a piece of shit. I personally thank you for the 90 seconds you share with me everyday. Keep doing what your doing…

  173. Janet McDonald - August 3, 2021 4:30 pm

    A a former Hospice Volunteer I almost instantly became friends with the persons I was asked to visit. Well… I have again become a Hospice visiting volunteer… to Mary…Thank you for inviting me to be her Hospice friend and to learn so much about her and to share this particular time with her and her family.

  174. Barbara - August 3, 2021 4:34 pm

    Sean, your perfectly worded response draws cheers and accolades. Losing a parent, no matter if by blood or law, is an excruciating journey. Not just the physical process, but the emotional and mental journey during and after. Mary, and your well-written antics that she has bestowed in your columns, is a gentle reminder of a simpler time, but also a connection of family AND humanity. Your words paint the perfect scenery, background, and dialogue to take your readers to that moment in time, with your Mary front and center. As she should be, because she is one of the most important people in the universe, a Mother. She is your wife’s physical creator, and thus of ginormous importance to you and your creative heart. So, PLEASE WRITE all the columns you want to with Miss Mary as your focus, personally I’ve loved every word. She is already a legend, and will be even more so, as those who have lost parents can attest. Hold her hand for me, will ya?? Tell her I’m one of HER greatest fans.❤️ (PS A hug for you and your wife too, it’s all about doing the RIGHT thing💝)

  175. Debbie Galleher - August 3, 2021 4:37 pm

    Oh Sean, you have such a tender heart ♥️You keep on writing about Mary. For those of us who have lost someone dear , we get it. You are cherishing each moment that you have left with Mary, no matter how hard .
    You are being given the gift of letting go slowly, as I was with my Mom. ♥️ It is very different when they leave suddenly , as our son Adam did. Either way is really hard.
    Thinking of you and Jamie and Mother Mary ♥️

  176. Kathy - August 3, 2021 4:47 pm

    That’s right. Keep writing about Mary. When someone is about to leave your presence, that’s all you want to talk about. And probably afterward. So, gird your loins, Coach.

  177. Teresa Shelton - August 3, 2021 4:57 pm

    Dear Sean, Some people will be a donkeys behind no matter what you write! 😡 Just keep writing from your heart! Prayers for your family during this time!🙏🏻

  178. Bob E - August 3, 2021 5:01 pm

    Some people just don’t get it do they?
    (Not my words – stolen from someone else – but expresses my feelings)

  179. Kathy Grant - August 3, 2021 5:02 pm

    Thank you for writing about death. It was in this fashion that my father passed away, so this brings much clarity and remembrance. This week we are walking through life without our best friend who died suddenly. We are heartbroken, and your words have been a balm to me. Knowing that we will meet up again in heaven, and that my dad and Mark are healed of all their issues is a comfort. However the space between now and that moment of reunion feels very long. Thank you again.

  180. Dana K Qualls - August 3, 2021 5:02 pm

    We are just beginning this stage with my mother. We had to place her in a nursing home because she is no longer able to care for herself. She is healthy when she eats every day and takes her meds correctly. Now she will. However her mind is betraying her. She can’t remember what we say or who was just visiting with her. It breaks my heart. Your stories about Mary are balm to my aching heart. Keep writing about her long after she is gone. It helps those of us who are slowly losing someone and it helps her continue living in all our hearts!

  181. Bob - August 3, 2021 5:11 pm

    “Coach” huh? Why doesn’t that surprise me? I wonder if he was a Berkeley alumni?? No matter, if you hear unpleasant things about the educational system theses days, it’s all true. We just saw another one surface! You keep writing about Mary. I’m sure liking that lady, that lady’s daughter and that lady’s daughter’s husband. Seems like a good bunch!

  182. Linda Horne - August 3, 2021 5:18 pm

    Please continue writing about your sweet mother-in-law brings me joy and helps to bring back memories about my sweet mother…please don’t let someone whose only interest is to win..stop you when you are about to loose someone dear..he will loose one day and it won’t be a loss of a game that will rock him but the loss of someone dear!!

  183. JanetW Moffat - August 3, 2021 5:19 pm

    Dear Sean. I love the stories about your mother in law. It shows me a tenderness for your family and how you all are so fortunate. Keep it up.

  184. Rebecca Souders - August 3, 2021 5:25 pm

    I have a friend who just lost her father not long ago and she’s having a very hard time. I sincerely hope you will continue to write your feelings…. death, grief, hope, love, and include the smiles, too, please. I’ll share your words with my friend.

  185. Susan Marler - August 3, 2021 5:32 pm

    Your recent columns bring back all of my memories with my Mother, then my Dad and finally my Mother in Law. I understand the tenderness, the joys, the sadness and finally the letting go, which is always the hardest part. My thoughts,prayers and hope for a few more warm moments are with you. Thank you for walking her home. Susan

  186. Dot Wells - August 3, 2021 5:41 pm

    Dear Sean, The coach must have never lost more than an important ball game. Yes both you and Jamie will have a big hole in your heart for some time. With time…it heals all wounds…I lost my husband, a granddaughter and a son. The son and granddaughter were within the last two years. You will think of times you had with her, a relief from her dying (this is not a bad thing) but we are human. Life will go on! The birds will continue to sing, the sun will shine and the thunder will boom. Give yourself time to grieve, give yourself time to cry but most of all give her the time she has left to love! Blessings to you and Jamie…the sun will shine again for you.

  187. Linda Moon - August 3, 2021 5:54 pm

    Sean, my dear, your stories of Mother Mary’s dying have been indescribably beautiful and enlightening. I’m glad your wise and wise-cracking Mother-in-law wanted her story told. The double-entendre mail-delivery issue made me laugh out loud when I first read it and again today! What a legacy you’re leaving for her. Keep on writing, Columnist.

  188. Pam Ratliff - August 3, 2021 6:12 pm

    Sean I completely understand how you feel. I lost my 23 year old son in April of this year. He was bigger than life. He was the Alabama Superfan but to me he was my baby. Everything I’ve done or written since has been about him. It’s my way of coping and what I will do until I no longer need it to breathe. You had a special bond with Mary so write all you want for as long as you want and as Fluff, my son, would have said, tell those who don’t like it to get gout.

  189. Frances - August 3, 2021 6:16 pm

    I love your articles about Miss Mary and treasure the fact she is with the people she enjoys and loves most during her transition. I am sure this eases her pain and discomfort. I pray that I will be treated as lovingly and thoughtfully when my time comes

    I am thankful my son doesn’t play for this coach.

  190. Janice D - August 3, 2021 6:17 pm

    I look forward to your stories & updates on Mother Mary Your family is loved by many & you are surrounded by our prayers. I can’t understand the heart of “Coach”. I’m just very grateful he never coached my children or Grandchildren. God bless you Sean

  191. Robin Moore - August 3, 2021 6:22 pm

    Well said about why your better half’s mom has recently been your column subject. You and your wife are very lucky to have had a great mom.
    Anyway, you’re writing for yourself. Whatever you please. It’s free to read, for goodness sake !!
    When Mom finally gets to rest by leaving,over time, you will remember only the fun things about her.
    Normal minds allow the pain of loss to fade away. Unfortunately, the closer the loved one, the slower the fading.

  192. Lynn Pappas - August 3, 2021 6:27 pm

    I feel like I know your mother in law and I look forward to your daily updates. 🙏

  193. Kim Toelke - August 3, 2021 6:27 pm

    Dear Sean, I’m sitting on the beautiful Calif beach yet I’m crying because of your sweet writings about Mary. The best and worst times of my life were caring for each of my parents at the end of their lives. Hospice was a godsend that made it possible for them to be at home. How precious those personal moments were. My wonderful parents were with me at my beginning, it was a privilege to see them draw their last breaths. It is an experience like no other. Please use all your words for Mary until her last breath. I am blessed by each one. Kim

  194. Maggie Priestaf - August 3, 2021 6:38 pm

    I too have lost a dear one. I will miss Mary, also.

  195. Waunette - August 3, 2021 6:42 pm

    No one has to read your stories every day.
    Skip the ones you don’t like. Read the ones you do.
    Some of our loved ones left us behind to face a different day. Lonesome. Lost.Deserted. Loved.
    We understand your feelings of lost and suffering.

  196. Lesleigh Ann Schaefer - August 3, 2021 6:52 pm

    Sean, I lived most of my 68 years just north of Illinois in Wisconsin and dealt with too many of them. We called them a FIB (F-ing Illinois Bastards) or FISH (F-ing Illinois Shit Heads) and either one is appropriate for Coach!! We love you, Jamie, and Mother Mary more than you know. May she rest peacefully close to the ones she loves most until our sweet Lord brings her home. Hugs from my new home in Wyoming.

  197. Wadena - August 3, 2021 7:08 pm

    Love and prayers. I enjoy reading Mother Mary stories don’t stop writing them.

  198. Richard Owen - August 3, 2021 7:13 pm

    Have to disagree with ya on one point, Sean. During my decade as photographer for the Walton Sun, at least once a week someone would come up to me and say thanks for putting a photo I had taken of them in the newspaper. I was even shown a number of these photos that were cut out of the paper, framed and hung on a wall.
    So you keep writing about Mother Mary. Her anecdotes have got me to chuckling on numerous occasions.

  199. Scott Price - August 3, 2021 7:13 pm

    I am touched deeply by your articles on your mother in law, they take me to A sweet melancholy place of remembrance . A beautiful love story I hope everyone can recognize, if not now at some time in their life,it would be very sad to imagine a life without it , I think it would be A worse world . Amazing how some of the most painful times become the sweetest memories. Bravo

  200. Karen D - August 3, 2021 7:14 pm

    Sean, you write as many stories as you want about your Mother-in-Law Mary!! Since my Mom passed away less than 2 months ago, your stories are touching me to the very core!!! Know that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who love reading them and will continue to read them as long as you write about her. You are not writing for Coach. You are writing for Mary and for your wife and for you and for your family and for her friends and for all of us who need to hear these stories! Keep it up!!!! We love you and are keeping you and your family in our prayers.

  201. Margie Mostler - August 3, 2021 7:20 pm

    I lost my mom (and my dad) more years ago that I like to acknowledge has past but that sense that the world will never be the same without them is aways there! Sometimes in the distance and sometimes so strong you can feel and touch it. Your stories of Mary touch me in ways that bring joy to my heart. And honestly, heartache too.

  202. Sheila Ingram - August 3, 2021 7:21 pm

    Please keep writing about Miss Mary. I am loving it.

  203. Teresa Blankenship - August 3, 2021 7:27 pm

    Well said 🙏for you all❤️

  204. Craig Hedrick - August 3, 2021 7:53 pm

    Dear High-School-Coach-In-Illinois,
    Go suck eggs.

    Dear Sean,
    You do you. Hugs and kisses to your MIL.

  205. Bunny - August 3, 2021 8:06 pm

    We’ll said, Sean!
    God bless your dear Mother Mary, your precious Jamie, & you. It’s a privilege to be able to care of someone you love so much during their last days on this earth. You will cherish every smile & shared moment.
    The words you write help us deal with our own lost loved ones. ❤️❤️❤️

  206. Sharon G. Oswalt - August 3, 2021 8:11 pm

    Oh Sean, you have no idea how much you are helping so many of us that are dealing past and present grief. I have been so moved by your Mother Mary stories. Please do NOT EVER stop talking about her…, or in the future. That is how you keep the love. To keep our loved ones in our stories. And, God bless your sweet wife. A true and loving daughter and caregiver. I am so sorry you are going through this. Losing someone you love so dearly is the hardest thing I have ever done on this earth. Your Mother Mary stories are helping me with my own grief. I lost both my mother and father three years ago. You carry it with you forever. There is no guidebook and no directions, but you sure are showing us what love and deep grief looks like. I have nothing but sorrow for the Coach. He lacks empathy, but I agree with you…..he obviously has never lost anyone he has loved before. Empathy can’t be taught, it can only be experienced. And then through that empathy we help others. God Bless you. With loving thoughts for Mother Mary and your family. I feel your pain. Keep writing. It is the only way we get through it.

  207. Angie Hughes - August 3, 2021 8:37 pm

    Please keep writing about your mother in law. I love reading about her!!!

  208. Laura McAliley - August 3, 2021 9:04 pm

    Sean, you are much too kind. There was NOTHING nice I could think to say to that jackass coach in Illinois. You keep writing you – and give your wife and MIL hugs & kisses from my family. ♥️

  209. Cheri Johnston - August 3, 2021 9:37 pm

    How thoughtless….I call people like him keyboard Kevin/Karen. They have mean warthog personalities. They’re brave behind a computer screen. Your tributes are moving, beautiful and much appreciated. 😍 He can suck canal water.

  210. Jeannine Griffin - August 3, 2021 9:38 pm

    Sean, I can relate to your mother in law’s dying and longing to spend as much time with her. My mother died in 2015 and spent her last 10 days at my house on hospice. I wish it had been longer. Please keep her moments alive in your stories, I love reading them. Thanks so much for sharing. God bless!

  211. Cathy - August 3, 2021 9:55 pm

    Sean, i have felt your anxiety and nervousness since hospice was called in for Mother Mary and I get up every morning and share those feelings with you.

    You have been such an inspiration to so many, myself included, don’t stop writing about what you know and love.

  212. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - August 3, 2021 9:56 pm

  213. Joan - August 3, 2021 10:12 pm

    Keep in mind, some people are just dicks…we all love your stories about momma-in-law…

  214. Bubba - August 3, 2021 10:38 pm

    Well said Sean! As I read your column, I was reminded of my own mother-in-law who recently passed. Your description of your wife’s tender and loving care for Ms. Mary described exactly my wife’s tender and loving care for her dying mother. All care given with no expectations of anything in return. Just love, pure unadulterated LOVE. Keep up the columns! I love ‘em!
    Bubba Bingham

  215. Alice - August 3, 2021 10:56 pm

    You go Sean. Keep doing you. Everything you write has meaning to someone in some way. How each person perceives the message is on them. You can’t worry yourself about those small minded people with their self-centered lives. I wish I had the ability to communicate as well as you do. I lost both mother and father suddenly, and while sometime I feel they were blessed to go quickly, mostly I regret not having those final days with each of them, despite knowing those days would be painful in many ways. You continue to inspire me.

  216. Sarah Bliss Wright - August 3, 2021 11:32 pm

    Please tell me that Coach didn’t really send you that email! He obviously has not stood vigilant as a loved one fades away. There is no more precious time and it is important to those of us who have been there to be able to stand with you as Mary slowly approaches the pearly gates.

  217. Cynthia Russell - August 3, 2021 11:47 pm

    PLEASE KEEP MOTHER MARY in your columns.. I love her too!!& wished I had that wicked sense of humor!!! Love Her!!

  218. Betty Higdon - August 3, 2021 11:57 pm

    Write about Mother Mary all you want! That’s the world you are living in right now. And after she is gone, son, keep on writing about her! I love your writings and my heart is hurting for you as you sit and watch her leave this world! I have been there and done that several times. Praying for you and sweet Jaime during this heart breaking time. May God bless you!!!

  219. Sue Ellen Terrell - August 4, 2021 12:29 am

    Sean, I appreciate all you are going through now, but I enjoy hearing all the kind, fun, happy times you have as a family. Keep writing about your MIL!

  220. Charlotte Moreau - August 4, 2021 12:34 am

    Good for you! I have loved these stories even through my tears, as it’s been less than three months since my mom was in hospice. I used to read your stories to her. She smiled.

    Charlotte, in your neighboring county to the east.

  221. Deb R. - August 4, 2021 12:59 am

    Sean, forgive my bluntness, but Coach is an a-hole. Please keep writing about Mother Mary until your heart heals and then write some more. Your column helps me deal with the inevitable truth of the day day when my own 85 yr old mother is in the same position. She currently resides in an assisted living facility and your recent columns have made me laugh and cry, often at the same time. So please, keep doing what you do, and don’t let the naysayers tell you otherwise.

  222. Bettie DeWitt - August 4, 2021 3:08 am

    He’s crazy. Keep it up. xo

  223. Louise - August 4, 2021 3:25 am

    Sean, please DO NOT stop writing about your dear precious Mother-in-Love! As others have stated, I, too, open my email from you first thing each morning to get an update. I agree with others that these articles about sweet Mary are some of your very best! Perhaps because I can relate so very much to what you are going through from my own dear husband’s time with Hospice. Please know that she, you, and Jamie are in my thoughts and prayers that our God of all comfort comforts you and gives His peace.

  224. Louise S Jenkins - August 4, 2021 3:52 am

    Sean, please DO NOT stop writing about your sweet precious Mother-in-Love. I, too, check my email from you first thing each morning for an update. Sean, I agree with others that these articles about your dear Mother Mary have been some of your very best! Perhaps because I can relate so very much to what you and Jamie are going through because of my dear husband’s time with Hospice. You all are in my thoughts and prayers that our God of all comfort will comfort and give you peace.

  225. V. Loy - August 4, 2021 10:20 am

    Please give Mary a sincere hug and tell her thank you for having a great sense of humor and being a great sport. God speed Mary, we will miss your stories too. And Sean, thank you for giving us this perspective on mother in laws, wives, and loss.

  226. pdjpophil Jennings - August 4, 2021 10:37 am

    Just know that all coaches are not like THAT one. The title of Coach is supposed to mean something. One characteristic is that they care about other people and they respond appropriately. His game plan in writing to you is a bust.
    We all love Mary. Even us Coaches.
    Write on brother. I’ve been where you are.

  227. Tracy - August 4, 2021 11:54 am

    Hello. My father Roger, aged 92, my best friend, died suddenly on July 19 while riding his TerraTryke. It was my honor to be his primary caregiver. I miss him so very much. I stand with Jamie in these previous, holy days. God be with you all.

  228. CHARLA BIPPUS - August 4, 2021 11:55 am

    Touche’ Sean. We written reply to a heartless Coach in Illinois! Love y’all bunches! ❤️

  229. carolanne78 - August 4, 2021 12:25 pm

    I love you & your entire family and everything you write about. Wish I could give all y’all a break and sit w/Mother Mary just a bit. My daughters and I took care of my Mom & Dad and this brings back some of those memories. Especially the no-filter joke moments ; ) God bless you and keep you under His wings.

  230. Natalie - August 4, 2021 12:26 pm

    People that don’t want to read can delete your email, no need for a nastygram. It’s not required daily reading for English class. Keep writing- memories of precious souls are all we have after the flesh passes from the earth. I truly wish I had video or written down things my granny reminisced about before dementia took her away from us. First we missed her witty mind- but we could still hold her hand; now she’s gone- we miss her touch. May your family find peace and comfort during this transition. God bless your sweet wife for her unselfish caretaking.

  231. Brenda - August 4, 2021 1:43 pm

    I think it’s true that if you have never lost someone then you can’t understand, I have loved your stories about Mother Mary. The love you have for her leaps off the page, and your love for your precious wife.

  232. Mary Coley - August 4, 2021 2:22 pm

    What a BUM! Love your stories. Every single one of them.

    Not sure it would bother the coach that much if he lost someone he cared about…if there is someone.

    P.S. Love your wife ❤

  233. Katie - August 4, 2021 5:31 pm

    Hi Sean,

    I normally don’t comment on these things but I wanted to say something on this column. I wanted to share my appreciation for your articles about your mother in law, Mary. My future mother in law, Mary, introduced me to your columns by sharing your story about tomatoes. (I love tomato sandwiches with dukes- it’s the only way to eat a tomato sandwich). My Mary and my mom are going through the same thing that you and your family are, taking care of aging adult parents that won’t be around forever. Reading your article helps. A lot. Both mom and Mary go through a lot, mentally and physically, while caring for our aging grandparents. It’s nice to see someone point out the beauty that comes with times like these instead of dwelling on all the sadness. Please keep writing about your Mary. Even when it gets hard, I hope you know your helping others.

    Thank you!

  234. Elaine - August 4, 2021 8:35 pm

    Please keep writing your stories about your mother-in-law. They are filled with love and compassion for both Mary and your wife. It is also showing us, your readers, how to look at this sad journey in a very different way. All of you are in my prayers.

  235. Tammy - August 4, 2021 11:01 pm

    I just yelled, “Bravo!” out loud. Good for you. Shame on him. God bless sweet Mary.

  236. Brenda - August 4, 2021 11:52 pm

    Good answer to an ugly comment. God bless your family. Mary is so loved; she is fortunate to have you and her daughter caring fir her.

  237. Ann Hunter - August 5, 2021 5:18 pm

    I just want you to know that I love, love reading about mother Mary. It’s brought me laughter and many tears, but always beautiful. Don’t ever stop.

  238. Tammy S. - August 5, 2021 8:48 pm

    I/We see what you did there. And we love it! Please know Mother Mary has brought smiles and outbursts of laughter to our days. She is a hoot! And I know is going to be missed beyond measure! Thanks for sharing someone so special with all of us. It has been a gift. Praying for you & Jamie. And for sweet Mother Mary.

  239. Margaret Jackson - August 5, 2021 9:49 pm


    Your articles about Mother Mary have aalways been enjoyable. But the ones about the end of her life are so tender and truthful.
    I helped my Mom care for Daddy for 6 years after his stroke. I helped my sister-in-law with my brother near his end of life when ALS had taken almost everything but his sense of humor.

    But caring for my mother in her last days was the hardest of all. This October 7th will be 8 years since she has passed, and reading your posts has a special meaning to me.

    I am praying for Jamie and you as you go through this special time.

    Margaret Jackson
    Woodland AL

  240. Buddy Caudill - August 5, 2021 10:40 pm

    Keep writing, while you can, about “Mother Mary”.
    I, for one, am touched by the columns. I, am also one who has lost loved ones.
    I appreciate you, Sean Dietrich.
    -Buddy Caudill

  241. Mary Jo McIntosh - August 6, 2021 11:34 pm

    Kudo’s to you, Sean….this article (answer to Coach) was fabulous and one that Mary would have been very proud of you writing….God bless you.
    Mary Jo McIntosh

  242. brenjsan611770 - August 7, 2021 4:03 pm


  243. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - August 9, 2021 12:06 am

    I love your articles about Mother Mary. We all have to face death at some point in our lives with loved ones. I am glad she has enjoyed seeing articles about her in the past. Keep them coming. We will grieve with you as we did with your dog’s death.

  244. Donna Johns - August 24, 2021 2:03 pm

    Thank you!!

  245. DiAn - August 31, 2021 10:51 pm

    Sean – Thank you so much for these very much needed words!
    All that have lost a dear loved one knows what you mean, and believe that we are not meant to stop caring or trying to listen to the wisdom and patience of those who lead us forward.
    Please keep on writing and telling all of us how to love through the grindingly difficult end-of-life times. You are helping all of us to deal with these issues and to “go where no man has gone before” – where all of us need to stand back, just “love” and “pray”. So hang in there my friend and continue telling & writing the truth. – DiAn


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