You have taught me so much. I know we husbands don’t often admit that our wives teach us things, but they do. You are a fine teacher. I never knew how beautiful caregiving could be until you showed me.
For years I have watched you care for your frail mother. I have seen you lift her spindly body in your strong arms—wrecking your lower back one lumbar disc at a time.
I have been outside your mother’s lavatory door, listening to your easy voice guide her through her private moments.
I have helped cut your mother’s steak into itty-bitty pieces for you to feed her while she watches the “Sex in the City” marathon on TV.
And that smile your mother gives. I’ve seen that, too. It’s radiant. It is not so much like the smile of a parent, but more like the guileless face of a child.
I have been present at the grandiose birthday parties you’ve thrown for this white-haired matriarch in the wheelchair. Huge parties.
Most people would bring a cake and a pointy hat and call it a day. But you adorned the house with thousands of balloons, rainbows of flowers, and metric tons of cheap, mail-ordered Hawaiian luau paraphernalia that I am still paying off.
But yesterday, when the hospice nurse held your hand and said “Your mom doesn’t have much time left,” it hit me like a knee to the ribs.
That one wasn’t in the caregiver manual.
And do you know what the weirdest part is? I feel lost after hearing those words. Like I am surrounded by people speaking Hungarian, Japanese, and Norwegian. I don’t understand anything that’s going on. I feel disoriented. Nobody ever tells you that dying is confusing.
For the first time in my own house I don’t know what I should be doing, where I should be sitting, or standing, or what I should do with my hands. I don’t know how to comfort you. What should I say? Should I keep my mouth shut?
All I know to do is hold you while you weep. All I can do is watch your mother struggle to breathe. All I can do is pretend that I am strong, even though you know I’m faking it.
Last night, after I heard the news, I didn’t know what to do, so I drove around in my truck and cried. I just drove in circles, boo-hooing like an idiot.
I’m not good with dying. I never have been. Since I was eleven years old, after my father’s end, I have always had a hard time with death and funerals. Especially funerals.
You attend a funeral and you can always spot the people in the crowd who have never lost someone. You can see it in their eyes. Usually it’s the young people. They sit reverently, politely paying respects, and there is a beautiful innocence in their expressions.
You can tell they’ve never been referred to as “the family of the decedent.” Their invisible security bubbles haven’t been popped yet. I used to envy these people.
Meantime, the rest of us sit in the rear pews, heads down. Bone silent. Red eyes. Sniffing loudly. Haunted by the wonderful memories of our beloved ghosts.
And right now that’s kind of how I feel. I feel sad. Sad for you. Sad for your mother. I don’t want to see anyone suffer anymore. I don’t want to say goodbye to your mom, and I don’t want to see you bawl yourself to sleep. I don’t want our lives to change. I don’t want her to die. I just want things to go back to how they were.
But I know they never will.
Today, when you were spoon-feeding your mother breakfast, do you know what I was thinking while I watched? I was remembering something.
I remembered our wedding. When I held your hand at the altar nearly two decades ago. You in your gown; I in my overpriced rental tux. Your mother, seated on the front row, looking like she’d just discovered teeth. God. What a day that was. How young we all were.
We were two freckle-faced kids in formalwear who promised God that we would walk beside one another during life’s ultimate messes. We promised to be here for each other. I meant those words. I meant them then. And I mean them now.
So here I stand. Although I feel helpless, I’m ready to help. I’m not moving until you tell me to get out of the way. If you need a drink of water, let me get it for you. If you want ice cream for breakfast, I’m on it.
If you need to cry on my chest, cry until you ruin my shirt. Ruin every godforsaken shirt I own, honey. I don’t care. I’ll buy a thousand more shirts for you to cry upon.
I don’t know what happens next. But I’m here. Till death do we part. And then some.
Barbara Zuleski - July 27, 2021 6:57 am
So very sorry, God Bless you all, a love between a mother and daughter is as unique as the love for a simple man who loves his wife and her family.
Sandi. - July 27, 2021 7:13 am
Sean, unhappy news is never welcome, and I am thinking about you and Jamie as she faces the last days of her mother’s life. Y’all are in my prayers.
Patti Sorlie Johnston - July 27, 2021 7:16 am
What a beautiful tribute to your mother-in-law and to your wife. God Bless you in this your hour of need. You’re in my thoughts and prayers 🙏🏻🙏🏻😢💔
Jimmie Slaton - July 27, 2021 7:36 am
Prayers for you, the wife and her Mom! Life and death is hard but death changes others lives forever! Be strong Sean!
Paula Manning - July 27, 2021 8:19 am
I am a Hospice Nurse and I see this same thing very often. I just saw an old man on Saturday who was said he was going to be 103 in December. He was sharp as a tack. I had a great conversation with him and his family members who were there waiting for his final breaths here on earth. I am so glad that I had the privilege of sharing just a little time and history with this very special gentleman. I knew on Saturday that his time was near. He passed away last night. World War II veteran, retired from the Ford company in Ohio where he had moved his family after the war then returning back in Tuskegee Al. his home town. Did I also tell you that he was famous for training Bird dogs both in Tuskegee and Ohio. He told me that he was told by someone “ I have never known a black man who raised and trained bird dogs “. I could tell how proud he was to tell me this story by he look on his face and the excitement in his voice.
Heaven gained a special angel and I gained solace in what I do.
Jimbo White - July 27, 2021 10:55 am
Paula you deserve a medal for what you do. Thank you and All Home health care nurses, your job is tough.
Marcie White - July 27, 2021 8:33 am
My sincere condolences to you both. What a beautiful tribute to your wife and her Mama.
Carol Watson - July 27, 2021 8:50 am
I love Ms Mary & so sad for You & Jamie! Have been praying for y’all since you asked use too. I pray God will wrap his arms around Jamie and comfort her & give Ms Mary comfort during this time. Words are not enough so I’m sending my love to all of you during this time❤️
Sue Kass - July 27, 2021 9:03 am
What a beautiful tribute. Praying for God’s comfort and peace as you walk this sacred valley together.
May you claim the precious words of Psalm 23.
oldlibrariansshelf - July 27, 2021 9:07 am
Bless all of you. The rotten thing about death is that, even when you know it is coming, it is hard as nails to accept.
Kathy Croft - July 27, 2021 9:11 am
Sean & Jamie, I’m so very sorry for the decline of your precious Mother. It is so very difficult to watch them with a sickness.
2 Corinthians 1:3 -All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, God is our merciful Father & the source of comfort.
In these hours, days & weeks that follow, God will comfort you as you cry & miss your Mother. May your good & funny memories bring a smile during the sadness. Hugs & prayers for y’all.
Meredith Smith - July 27, 2021 9:31 am
Oh my god Sean I am so very sorry. I am without words. I’m sorry. Tears are streaking my face. I’m lost for words. My heart swells for Jamie and Mother Mary. I, personally – for me, am unafraid of Death. I look at it as a new beginning. But that’s me. It doesn’t mean my loved ones feel that way. Sean, Jamie, continue to give Mother Mary the beautiful life that you have all along. That’s all you can do. She loves you. I’m sorry I’m rambling. 🤦🏼♀️
Gale Smith - July 27, 2021 2:52 pm
So sad to hear this….love Jamie and you and Mother Mary and the 4-legged younguns and all your wonderful family.
Look up this song. “Even Though I’m Gone” by a young man named Chester See. Play the studio version of it on YouTube. That is what my family will play when my ashes are scattered in the Gulf of Mexico with those of my last 4 dogs. I will be at the beach with my best friends! Look for this song…..it says exactly what I want my family to know when I go.
Suzi - July 27, 2021 9:44 am
Yesterday when you said “Pray for Mother Mary”, my heart lost a beat. That is my friend you were talking about, her sass and moxie make me proud to be of her generation,
I was hoping she had gotten her little finger stuck in a spoke of her wheel but I guess not.
Ed (Bear) - July 27, 2021 9:48 am
Your letter inspired some memories for me. I’m approaching 70 so I know a fair amount of folks that have passed. One thing I’ve learned is that the number of people I know that have passed doesn’t make it any easier for the next person that passes. We’re meant to feel things so we feel things, including the painful things we wish we didn’t have to. What we do best is to keep moving forward in fond remembrance.
Janie Gentry - July 27, 2021 9:51 am
I’ve been awake a good part of last night, worrying about my mother, not knowing what is coming next. I feel so lost, being the parent instead of the child.
You have touched my heart again today, and I thank you.
Susan - July 27, 2021 9:56 am
Praying you, Jamie and Mother Mary feel God’s loving arms wrapped around you.
Debbie Taylor - July 27, 2021 9:56 am
This is what true love looks like.
Mary Bales - July 27, 2021 10:04 am
Mother Mary is everyone’s mother, and she will be remembered with joy and love by all your readers. Peace to you and Jamie during this time.
Anne Haas - July 27, 2021 10:05 am
God bless you and Jamie as you walk through this valley with Miss Mary. She was my pre K teacher and I have the fondest memories of Miss Mary growing up in Brewton. What a special lady! Sending love and prayers your way 💝
Josie McCamish - July 27, 2021 10:08 am
😢 Love and sympathy to all of you, Sean.
Your presence will be your greatest gift to Jamie at this sad time. Hugs to both of you, and peace to Mother Mary.
pyrthroes - July 27, 2021 10:16 am
“When old age doth this generation waste, … thou say’st: ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’– that is all ye know on Earth, and all ye need to know.” (Keats, “Grecian Urn”, 1819).
Kemie Brown-Vansant - July 27, 2021 10:25 am
Remembering my mom and hoping I served her well. Life comes full circle. Grace and peace to you both.
Liza Bragg - July 27, 2021 10:42 am
Your wife is blessed to have you. Period.
But you have been blessed to have her, too. It’s a hard time and no one can tell you how to go through it.
Just hang on to each other!
Xan - July 27, 2021 10:43 am
I pray for peace and comfort for Mother Mary, Jamie, and you. I remember when I realized I was in “The Club” I never wanted to join, and of which Jamie is about to become a member. Incredibly, your letter has described all the emotions I felt. And you made me weep, not only for the loss of my own mama almost 12 years ago, but for the loss that Jamie and you going to experience. Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us on her journey. In an odd and comforting way it has giving me more memories of my own mother. Much love Sean.
Bkr - July 27, 2021 10:53 am
Julie Moreno - July 27, 2021 10:56 am
I pray that y’all feel God’s comforting arms each and every day. In the name of Jesus I ask for comfort to surround you.
Jerry - July 27, 2021 10:56 am
Bless your family.
Susan - July 27, 2021 11:00 am
This one is from deep in your heart, more then a tribute. You and Jamie need to cry it out as much as you like – you could probably use some new shirts. Blessings and prayers
D. Green - July 27, 2021 11:04 am
Sending love to you, Jamie, and Mother Mary. I know it’s a very hard thing.
Rhea Wynn - July 27, 2021 11:06 am
Praying for Jamie and for you as you support her. May God grant Mother Mary a peaceful passing and comfort for you and Jamie.
Steve - July 27, 2021 11:11 am
Joanne Root - July 27, 2021 11:12 am
And now you have another follower…. My thoughts and prayers to your wife, you and the family. May your MIL feel at peace and all the love around her. Death is never easy, especially when we see a loved one slip away slowly.
I lost both of my in laws to Alzheimer’s. Both vibrant travelers, loving parents who slowly deteriorated into a world we will never understand. In the end… Only their eyes seemed untouched… Up until the end, if you grab even a second of their attention and really look deep enough, there always seemed a up second of familiarity, your heart gets squeezed from the inside, two souls merged for a millisecond.
Bar - July 27, 2021 11:13 am
I know this pain; prayers for each of you.
James payne - July 27, 2021 11:25 am
My wife and I have both gone through the hospice experience with parents. In our experience the hospice nurses have been some of the most caring people in the world. They must have mental constitutions of iron and hearts of gold . God bless you .
Nancy - July 27, 2021 11:28 am
Love your tribute to Mother Mary and your Sweet Jamie. Praying for your family and know that your love for each other will get you through this difficult time.
Jean - July 27, 2021 11:30 am
So sorry to hear about Ms Mary. You and Jamie are wonderful. She was very lucky to have you both. Rest in Peace Ms Mary.
Heidi - July 27, 2021 11:30 am
I’ve been where Jamie is. My husband, where you’re at. It’s one of the hardest life lessons you’ll ever go through. You and Jamie will make it. Hold each other. Love each other. Mother Mary is a treasure and has blessed us all. Prayers up for all of you and honestly, love is surrounding you all too. From above and here. ❤️
Ruth Killough - July 27, 2021 11:32 am
I am sorry about your Mother in Law. She sounds like such a lovely lady. Your words always hit me just the right way.
Dale Entrekin - July 27, 2021 11:44 am
May God richly bless both you and Jamie, in this time and after. And may the memories of good times past comfort you both.
Wanda Morgan - July 27, 2021 11:46 am
Keeping you all in my prayers. Hugs and love coming y’all’s way.
Rhonda - July 27, 2021 11:51 am
Dear Jamie, I am thankful God gave you what you wished for. We pray for those we love to live long enough to need us. Then we try to do our best to love away the hurt that comes with it. I want you to know that you did good girl! You have wrapped her world in the same love she felt when she held you for the first time. And it won’t end when you can’t hug her neck anymore. You will hear her voice in the grocery store, a gentle breeze will blow through and you will smell her. Letting you know she is never very far away. A mothers love can transcend all time and place, you know it was a Mary that taught us all about Mama’s . God great as he is gave his son a Mama. Mama is something that is in your heart. It has nothing to do with birthing and everything to do with living. The things that hurt so now will bring you great comfort in the days to come. You will be lost for a while but you have too much love to give. Somebody out there who didn’t get a loving Mama sure could use a Jamie. Find you someone to tell all about your Mama. The stories are too good to keep quiet. You and Sean are good folks. Its because of two Mama’s. I got a message from my Mary not long ago. Heaven is all astir. Word is the Mother Mary comedy show is coming to town and tickets are already sold out!
Don’t know ya but love you just the same.
sdkulwicki - July 27, 2021 11:56 am
Praying for your precious family. You are both not only living out your vows but also the command to honor your parents. What a blessing you have been to Jamie’s mother. I pray that you both truly have eyes to see that when this life is over the real life begins!!!
Ginny Judson - July 27, 2021 11:59 am
Oh Sean, these moments are so painful. I nursed my grandma and my mama through hospice care and stood beside both as they passed on. It is so hard, but the ones who hold you up through it mean everything. Much love to and Jamie and her mama.
jill - July 27, 2021 12:02 pm
Your In my prayers.
Roy - July 27, 2021 12:04 pm
Beautiful letter Sean. Prayers for you , Jamie and miss Mary.
Deb Warner - July 27, 2021 12:06 pm
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
maxnayagus - July 27, 2021 12:09 pm
I am so sorry to hear this news. Blessings on you and your dear Jamie for the loving care you have shown her mama. My heart and my prayers are with you all during this precious and holy time of release back to God. What a lovely letter to your wife, Dear Sean. xo
Suellen - July 27, 2021 12:10 pm
Having someone by your side as you go through these life events makes all the difference. God bless you and God bless Jamie for taking such loving care of her Mother.
Cathy Murchison - July 27, 2021 12:11 pm
Reading your letter to Jamie brought back all the feels of my Mother’s passing in January 2018. It is obvious the love you both have shown Mary has given her a beautiful end of life. That will bring you peace and the moments you remember will put a smile on your face. Praying for all of you during this difficult time!
Paul S Gawrych - July 27, 2021 12:12 pm
Morning Sean. Go back over your letter this morning, notice that every time you talk of the sadness of the whole dying process, your mind goes right to wonderful memories. These are the Blessings we have all around us, most of them we do not think of until a life changing event is front and center. In the next days embrace it all and know that while there will be pain and sadness, it will only bring more wonderful memories and Blessings and these will of course out weigh and out last any pain you your beautiful wife will endure. Peace to you my friend.
Kathy Compton - July 27, 2021 12:13 pm
I appreciate all that you said. Both of my husband’s parents entered heaven suddenly. Both of my parents had Alzheimer’s and declined for 6 years…first Dad, then Mom. Twelve years of watching them lose who they once were is a long time. And I was 1,000 miles away. I got home 8 hours after Dad died, and I held my Mom’s hand as she died. I was orphaned.
It is so true that we do not know what to say. “I am sorry for your loss” seems empty…until it is said to you at the time someone close to you dies.
Let her cry. Hold her hand. Pray with her.
Thanks for admitting how hard it is!
Paul McCutchen - July 27, 2021 12:14 pm
I am so sorry………That’s all I got and I know the hurt won’t go away….ever…you just try to get used to it.
Dana Qualls - July 27, 2021 12:14 pm
We just had to take my 86 years young mother to rehab. She will go from there to memory care and she is dazed and confused to say the least. So are we. This sweet story touched me in that hurt place and there are tears. This is the hard part of loving but so important. Bless you all as you move through together. Thank you so much. We are sharing your pain!
Laine Thayer - July 27, 2021 12:16 pm
Praises got the gift of love that you and your wife share with one another daily! Praises for the love she has for her precious momma! Prayers offered today for peace with understanding that can surpass all struggle!
Nancy shields - July 27, 2021 12:16 pm
My mom died almost exactly 3 years ago at age 88. As you know – it never stops surprising you. I am so sorry y’all are facing this. I have a feeling Mother Mary’s faith is strong. I pray you will all find peace.
Joretta Parker - July 27, 2021 12:18 pm
Sean I’m so sorry. Jamie is so lucky to have you by her side. I know how hard it is to lose your mother especially after being her care taker. Just hold her and hug her every day. I’m praying for all of you.
Deborah Blount - July 27, 2021 12:20 pm
I am so sorry your family is going through this right now. I feel I know your mother-in-law because you have included her in so many of your articles. The imminent loss of a family member is always difficult, especially one who is such a wonderful part of your lives. That being said, you are doing everything right. All you can do is be strong and supportive for your family. Saying goodbye is difficult, but remember they will be there to greet you when your time comes to join them. God bless and keep you all.
Erica - July 27, 2021 12:22 pm
Thanks to your columns, people will be getting to know and love Mother Mary forever. The one earlier this year about watching Naked and Afraid with her is such a warm, good humored tribute. And there are dozens more. You’ve built her a permanent legacy and allowed your readers share your joys and sorrows. Wishing you and Jamie strength and blessings.
Gloria Wright Ledbetter - July 27, 2021 12:25 pm
Such a wonderful tribute to your amazing wife.
nebraskannie - July 27, 2021 12:26 pm
I have no words. I just got told my husband has cancer. We’re waiting to see how long he has left so we can make appropriate plans. I’m with you, whatever he needs. I’m only grateful I had this long with him, as I’m sure you are, too. It’s tough that the circle of life requires this of us. I hope we are strong enough. You’ll ALL be in my thoughts. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, so you can take care of Jamie…
nebraskannie - July 27, 2021 12:28 pm
I have no words. I’m sorry that life requires this of us and I hope we’re strong enough to bear it with grace. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of Jamie. You’re in my thoughts.
Debbie - July 27, 2021 12:31 pm
I’m so sorry for your coming loss. Please let your wife know I am praying for her now! Bless you both with God’s peace!
Judy - July 27, 2021 12:32 pm
This is beautiful. Jamie is so blessed to be loved the way you love her, and the way you love her Mama. We are never ready to lose a parent…especially our Mamas. I am so sorry for the pain now and the empty chair later.
Shelton A. - July 27, 2021 12:33 pm
Beautiful thoughts, full of grace, for Jamie. I know it’s hard (lost mom and dad-found my dad) but just being there and showing your love and sharing in Jamie’s grief is a gift that stands up to your vows. God bless and God’s peace.
Samantha McDaniel - July 27, 2021 12:38 pm
The most important and beautiful thing you have ever written. And I am a fan already. No one understands until they are there.
Marianna Parker - July 27, 2021 12:39 pm
Sean, I am out of town, having been to a cousin’s funeral. I reflect on my own parents’ deaths, and while it is so difficult, there’s a peace that you know in your heart that you did everything you could to make things as good as you could for them. I pray for this peace for you and Jamie, and I believe it will be granted to you. I just want to remind you of two things you yourself have said in your writings. I love y’all and it will be ok.
Bex - July 27, 2021 12:44 pm
Sean and Jamie, I am so very sorry. This is a very hard, hurtful time in your lives but you have each other and that is the wonderful part. BUT Death doesn’t win in the end! HEAVEN is her home and I hear it’s beautiful. Praying for God’s Amazing Grace, Healing Power and Perfect Peace for you and your family. God bless.
Karen - July 27, 2021 12:47 pm
Sean, I am praying for you, your wife, her mom and family. It so hard to say goodbye to a loved one.💖
Te - July 27, 2021 12:48 pm
Thank you for sharing this moment. Death, like marriage and childbirth, is personal and private. I don’t know if this helps or applies, but having had several friends, past lovers and relatives die (I’m 77 so that’s inevitable), if I had their email and/or phone number in my contact list, I don’t delete them. Every time I run across one while searching for someone else, I”m reminded of them. It’s easy to forget a friend who died 10 years ago when you never hear or see their name. Of course, a mama is different. I have to admit that I think of my mama every time I change the sheets. She hated blue, as a color, and my sheets are almost all turquoise or aqua. So I have this argument with her every time, “Mama, this is NOT blue.”
haroldmorgan52252459 - July 27, 2021 12:49 pm
Just keep telling your stories, SEAN. Just keep telling your stories………..and LOVING your wife! So sorry!
Pat Nichols - July 27, 2021 12:53 pm
What an honor it is to be present with your loved one when they leave this life for the next. This brought so many memories flooding back to me, I could hardly see through the tears. Sean, you captured the experience so completely and so beautifully! Love and prayers for you all.
cheryl - July 27, 2021 12:56 pm
excuse me, while I am just a puddle in the floor. That was beautifully written.
Kathy - July 27, 2021 12:56 pm
I’m so sorry. Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us. I have come to love her with you.
Sarah - July 27, 2021 12:59 pm
You have blessed us by sharing a glimpse of your family with us through your words and pictures. I have come to love you three and pray that God will comfort you now and in all the moments ahead.
Jenny Young - July 27, 2021 1:02 pm
I’m so very sorry Jamie is going through this right now….& you. I’m praying for Mary today.
I’ve sat with four family as they left us so my innocence left a long time ago too…17 for me. Never stop sharing stories of Mary because we want her with us forever.
Trish Ezell - July 27, 2021 1:05 pm
My heart is full after reading this. You are the husband so many women long for. The one who is just there, for whatever. When words aren’t needed or wanted, you are there. I am one of those truly fortunate women, I have that husband. After 55 years of marriage, he is there, when I lost my Dad at 18, when I lost my Mother at 53, and when I lost my brother at 69. He. Was. There.
So Sean, stay there, be there. Your Jamie will forever be grateful.
My prayers are with you both as you walk this painful journey.
Nancy Wright - July 27, 2021 1:06 pm
I’m sorry, Sean. I’ll keep you all in my prayers. 🙏🙏🙏
Lucinda Harding - July 27, 2021 1:11 pm
It’s can be so sweet and challenging when the child becomes the parent. Watching my precious mother die was a very different experience though. One you cannot prepare for even when you realize how imminent death waits. In hindsight it was beautiful. Unnecessarily,
my sweet opened the window so her sweet soul could float away. But God had already reached gently for her hand.
Sean, just do what your letter says. Hold each other tight and grieve this beautiful lady together when her time comes. God is so good. You got this. 🙏🏼❤️
Mary - July 27, 2021 1:11 pm
I am so very sorry your wife’s mom is nearing the end of her days here on this earth. I have enjoyed all your columns about her. She sounds like a hoot! She is also very fortunate to have such a loving relationship with her daughter and son-in-law. I wish there was something I could do or say to ease the pain. You don’t get over it, you get through it…..all of you are in my heart and my prayers.
Maggie Priestaf - July 27, 2021 1:18 pm
Carol Goddard - July 27, 2021 1:18 pm
What wonderful words and thoughts you wrote, Sean! They are thoughts we all have had but probably couldn’t express them. You always make our hearts feel better, Sean, and we need that. Please let Jamie know that we love her and are here to help her in whatever way she might need us. I am so sorry you two are having to go through this heartache and pray for comfort, love and God’s mercy as He guide you three through the days ahead. Sending love to you three and please know that we love you.
Bettye Bambarger - July 27, 2021 1:19 pm
That was beautiful!
Jane Harmon - July 27, 2021 1:22 pm
This is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written. It’s never easy to let go of someone you love. Keeping Jamie, MM, and you in my prayers today.
Jan - July 27, 2021 1:22 pm
Beautiful, so very beautiful. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May God bless you and keep you safe in His loving arms.
Sondra - July 27, 2021 1:25 pm
Here is a hug for you and Jaime. Mother Mary has brought all of us joy through your blog. Thank you for sharing this incredible woman with us. Hold each other tight and remember how many of your readers care.
NancyB. - July 27, 2021 1:30 pm
I’m so sorry. I have experienced these feelings of helplessness and pending loss. It will not be easy, but you and Jamie, along with a host of friends and family, will walk each other through the days to come. I wish I had words of wisdom to impart on how to traverse such a time as Mother Mary’s passing. I don’t. It will be a second by second journey. But eventually you will come out on the other side.The best I can do now is pray. And I am. God bless!
Betty - July 27, 2021 1:30 pm
I was divorced and living with my parents when we got the same news from hospice regarding my mom. I was so alone. Gee, Sean, I could have used a man like you to help me through that difficult time! You and your wife are so blessed to have each other.
Landa - July 27, 2021 1:34 pm
So sad. So lovely.
Don Gardner, Jr - July 27, 2021 1:40 pm
I’m so sorry you and Jamie are going through this difficult time right now. May God bring you peace and comfort and may your precious memories of Mother Mary bring joy in the years to come. You will be in my prayers.
Nancy - July 27, 2021 1:41 pm
Kay Britton - July 27, 2021 1:43 pm
Such a beautiful tribute to Jamie and her mom. I know the old “funeral thing” all too well. Being as my mother is almost 93, I know this day is coming unless the Lord takes me home first. Praying for comfort and peace for you all
Connie - July 27, 2021 1:46 pm
No one could ask for more! Lucky lady!
johnallenberry - July 27, 2021 1:51 pm
Anything that I say would be too little, too base, too anemic. So, I will say only this: I’m praying for you and Jamie and Mother Mary, and a lotta people I know are praying for you and Jamie and Mother Mary as well.
Bonnie - July 27, 2021 1:52 pm
Betsy - July 27, 2021 1:56 pm
Sean, my prayers are with you and Jamie as you navigate this difficult time. It is such a blessing to be able to care for our spouses as they care for their parents. Jamie is so fortunate to have you there right by her side.
Priscilla Maxwell - July 27, 2021 1:56 pm
Sean, I lost my father in January, after he had lived a long and fruitful life of loving people well and being so loved in return. He suffered there, right at the end, and it was excruciating to watch. Because of Covid, no one else was there except me and my sister, and that was incredibly awful. Grief is meant to be shared, and we couldn’t share those last moments with anyone but us and our dad. And God, of course.
I would have given anything to have a husband like you beside me at that time. Even if he didn’t know what to do, or how to feel, or how to help. I would have given anything.
Just know that your presence means more to your wife than the person who knows exactly what to do would mean. You being there is exactly what she needs.
As I have learned from the besides of two dying parents now, even if the body can’t respond, the spirit still hears everything. Your mother in law still hears everything you tell her, and knows when you are present. Be present. It’s the greatest gift you can give.
My prayers accompany you on this journey you are both now on.
Patricia A Schmaltz - July 27, 2021 1:57 pm
Sean and Jamie…so very about your loss. Mother Mary charmed us all. Thank you for sharing her and her stories. Hugs to the family.
Ginny Andersen - July 27, 2021 2:02 pm
God bless you, Sean.
Frances - July 27, 2021 2:04 pm
I pray that Mother Mary feels the peace of thousands of prayers offered for her. I pray the same for Jamie. My heart hurts for you both.
Julie Patterson - July 27, 2021 2:07 pm
Dearest Sean and Jaimie,
Grief is a strange and familiar companion to many of us. Hold Mother Mary’s hands and kiss her forehead as often as you can. And then hold each other. You are in my thoughts and especially my prayers.
Starla Unruh - July 27, 2021 2:07 pm
Wow Sean….. we just buried my Mother on Sunday………. no words to express the journey. I am praying for you & Jamie.
Michael S Smith Sr - July 27, 2021 2:11 pm
As a retired RN, I had to comfort many family members. With death & dying I learned one thing. There are two kind of healings. One… your family member get out of their bed and goes home with you. The second (and more important) is when they go home with God. That’s the BIG healing. So, just pray for healing and let God handle which one you get.
Love your work…
Joan Childs Aston - July 27, 2021 2:13 pm
I am so very sorry for the loss of your mother-in-love and for the pain you and your sweetheart are feeling. Your story is one of precious, enduring love we have for our parents and our spouses, and the admiration you have for them both. Pure sad sweetness.
Fran Allen - July 27, 2021 2:21 pm
As a Hospice Nurse please know we will be there for the whole family helping, guiding, and surrounding you with all you need….for you and Jaime… just be there for each other… your hearts know what you each need… may the angels encircle you all with their strength and compassion.
Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder - July 27, 2021 2:22 pm
Dearest Sean and Jamie,
May God envelope you in his Love and guide you through these times of grief and accepting the reality.
Souls never die!
You both still are lucky for being there, being present and being at ones funeral.
We, immigrants have to digest all of this from afar… too expensive to fly home on short notice.
BUT it sure taught us to say goodbye, about 67 times before it would be too late.
Yet most forget to ever do that in a timely, understandable manner.https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2019/08/from-citizenm-hotel-on-delta-airlines.html
Stacey Wallace - July 27, 2021 2:29 pm
Sean, I am so sorry. I will pray for you and your family.
Janet Shelley - July 27, 2021 2:30 pm
Wow, Sean. How do you find the words? Thank you for sharing this intimate time in Jamie’s and your life. Prayers for all of you as Mary transitions from this life.
Harriet - July 27, 2021 2:31 pm
Oh Sean and Jamie, This is so sad. I loved reading about Mother Mary. I am so sorry you all have to go through this.
I wish I knew some deep and profound Bible verse or Shakespeare quote. But all I can see in my head is Ellie Mae running to greet Mother Mary.
I hope Jesus let’s me meet her and Ellie Mae, your Dad, and you feather in law too one day.
I love you Sean. ❤️
Harriet From Atlanta
Charlene Abbott - July 27, 2021 2:34 pm
How beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Two years ago this week, I was watching our matriarch ‘ my wonderfully, funny and loving great-aunt – move on from life. Hardest thing I’ve ever done and even now the pain can overwhelm me. I prayed for you and Jamie and her mom before I wrote this and I will continue to pray for all of you.
Jim Thomssen - July 27, 2021 2:40 pm
Woah, Well said Sean. My heart aches for you and I pray for grace and mercy and peace to shower down on your family. It’s hard to define those things, but you will know it when you feel it. Now go get a dry shirt, Jamie needs you….
Robyn - July 27, 2021 2:41 pm
Your doing the right thing Sean. The headrest thing. Y’all are all in my prayers….robyn
Gale Brunson - July 27, 2021 2:49 pm
Please know that many of us that have walked that path are praying for Jamie and you.
Lou - July 27, 2021 2:53 pm
Oh Sean – My Mom slipped away last year. I was her caregiver for 15 years. Stay strong. Jamie will need you to walk through this with her.
AlaRedClayGirl - July 27, 2021 3:11 pm
Wishing you love, strength, peace and prayers.
Margaret E Odell - July 27, 2021 3:20 pm
Jaimie, her mom and you are all in my prayers. The three of you are lucky to be together.
Donnie - July 27, 2021 3:29 pm
Oh Sean, so beautiful. I’ve been there, with my husband, as we watched his mother die. I think being there is the best and greatest gift. A pillar to lean against when needed. God bless both of you as you help her on this journey. It is a privilege, I believe.
Amanda - July 27, 2021 3:38 pm
Love, love, love – I know you feel it. Thanks for sharing.. You confirmed what I’ve been feeling.
Sandra - July 27, 2021 3:52 pm
Sean, you and your family are in my prayers. I had an experience like that with my husband. Give your wife a lot of hugs and just let her know how much you love her. 🤗♥️🙏🏻
Gigi - July 27, 2021 3:55 pm
Susan Kennedy - July 27, 2021 3:56 pm
I too am a former hospice nurse and it was my greatest joy and privilege to walk through this sacred time with my patients and their families. I am praying for all of you. You, Jamie, and Mother Mary are very special. ❤️
Susie Hardin - July 27, 2021 3:58 pm
OH, MY HEART!
Lauren Lopez - July 27, 2021 4:08 pm
Sean, I will be keeping you and your wife in my prayers, praying comfort over you both. As I was reading your words, I was reminded of a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, “I Will Be Here.” It is a beautiful husband and wife song. Blessings always to you, Sean.
Jana Frost - July 27, 2021 4:12 pm
Beautiful words! You are doing the right thing! You are there & you love her! That right there is powerful!
Nicole - July 27, 2021 4:14 pm
This is so beautiful and so true. While I didn’t have the right words to say to my husband when hospice told us that his father’s time was near, I hope that he felt what you have so eloquently written to your wife. May you and your wife find peace and may your mother in law’s memory be a blessing.
Joe Fowler - July 27, 2021 4:17 pm
Touching explanation of the unexplainable. Thank you Sean
everylittleting - July 27, 2021 4:25 pm
so heartbreaking and sweet. God bless you and Jamie and Mother Mary. You have many people praying for you.
Ann Davis - July 27, 2021 4:27 pm
What beautiful sentiments that made me cry- it really shows the depth of a marriage and the meaning of two becoming one- sharing the good and bad times together, sickness and health, —– until death parts of us. My husband and I just celebrated our 50th anniversary so maybe this just really hit home for me. Thank you.
Cheryl Buchanan - July 27, 2021 4:27 pm
Oh my. Just beautiful and true. Thank you.
Linda Moon - July 27, 2021 4:36 pm
As I began to read I thought, “It’s about time you wrote a letter to Jamie.” Then…while reading further I saw what I had expected: the bad new about Jamie’s mom. When I got the call about my mother’s remaining time, I arrived just after she passed, so I held her for a long time ’til the warmth left. Sean, you are a good husband for Jamie right now and will be, too, as she finishes her LIFE without Mother. Excuse me. I think I have to go bawl right now…for two irreplacable Mothers – mine and Jamie’s. But, before I go: Dear Jamie, I love you.
farm mom - July 27, 2021 4:46 pm
I’m sorry for your sorrow, and I will pray for you all. God bless you, Sean, for being the rock your wife needs.
Linda Moon - July 27, 2021 4:46 pm
correction: –the bad news*, as my eyes blurred while I typed….but maybe a meant-to-be typo with hidden meaning: the bad “new* for those who have passed might not be bad for them after all things are somehow made new again…
Roger and Lori Jahn - July 27, 2021 4:47 pm
Prayers, blessings, and comfort for you both
Freda Gipson - July 27, 2021 5:05 pm
What a good husband you are Sean. My husband said something like this to me recently when my younger brother was placed on Hospice. We had to drive about 30 minutes to get to see him and I wanted to go after work everyday. He said “I’ll take you whenever you want “ which basically meant he would go with me and support me, because I was and am capable of doing that myself. But having the one you love there for whatever you need or are feeling is the best that you can get. And you are willing to give just that to your Jamie. May God bless you both and your dear mother in law.
Christina - July 27, 2021 5:11 pm
Holding you all up to the comfort of Jesus. Please let Mother Mary know what a treasure she is, though I never met her in person. I want her kind of child likeness and sassy humor!
Debbie Schmidt - July 27, 2021 5:20 pm
It is a great mercy when the bereaved allow us to be comforted by serving them no matter how small and seemingly insignificant the task.
Patti - July 27, 2021 5:35 pm
Ann Fyfe - July 27, 2021 5:39 pm
Please know that many prayers are being lifted up for your wonderful mother-in-law, your strong and heartbroken, Jamie, and for you. Love is the best thing you can offer now and you are very good at that.
MAM - July 27, 2021 6:05 pm
Prayers and blessings for you, Sean, your Jamie, and your and Jamie’s Mother Mary! All of you are blessed to have one another! All that is needed at this time is the strong love among you. God Be With You!
Pat Rieley - July 27, 2021 6:23 pm
May God bless all of you, and may sweet Mary have an easy passing, then Rest In Peace and rise in glory!
Christine - July 27, 2021 6:28 pm
Absolutely beautiful! Will read it again and again. Thank you, Sean
Norma Den - July 27, 2021 6:43 pm
Prayers from far away South Africa. Let LOVE be what you remember most. ✝️❤️🙏
Joy Rogers - July 27, 2021 7:42 pm
You have written so much about Mother Mary, Jamie and your dogs that I feel as though you all are a part of my family, When I started reading I thought it would be a warm and fuzzy read, but all too soon I realized that you all are grieving. My husband was on hospice before he went to be with the Lord. I already have all of you in my heart and now you will be in my prayers.
Guy Tunnell - July 27, 2021 7:47 pm
What a dear, sweet letter to your wife. My prayers go out to you, your wife and her mother. It’s always tough to lose one that’s near and dear, but there IS solace in knowing that they’re not suffering any longer, and if y’all know “where” she’s going, it’s comforting as well. God bless y’all!
Budd Dunson - July 27, 2021 8:04 pm
I am close to the same place . My mom is 92 and on hospice, thank God for the hospice nurses and aids. We are supposed to hurt.
Suzanne Moore - July 27, 2021 8:42 pm
May God be with you and Jamie in this most difficult time, Sean. What you are offering her is really everything that she needs. God bless you for loving her and supporting her. All of us who have been through this feel your pain and support you with our love and prayers. God bless her mama for all that she has meant to you both, and may God shepherd her through this last transition.
Helen De Prima - July 27, 2021 8:46 pm
Your wife is a lucky lady.
Livy - July 27, 2021 8:52 pm
The most beautiful piece you could ever write…. So real… so true ….about the AWEsomeness of life and love and the holiness of death. Thank you Sean. Many prayers for Jamie, Miss Mary and you. God is with you all on this journey…. It is the journey back God’s full Love…
Susan McCall - July 27, 2021 9:04 pm
Precious words that will mean everything to her.
Goedon - July 27, 2021 9:16 pm
Praying for you and your family, Sean. These are hard times, but friends, family, prayers, and the ever watching eye of our Heavenly Father will carry you through.
KPD - July 27, 2021 9:26 pm
Oh my goodness Sean. I was in a position much like your wife is in just 2 months ago. After a long 5 year journey. I can tell you from personal experience that Jamie will love these words you have written for her. As a single mom, I did not have a wonderful husband to be by my side like you are for her. Being beside her is everything she needs right now. Whether she says it or not, know that THAT is the most important thing for her. And for you! Life is beautiful and wonderful and fabulous and hard. The hard moments are the ones we need each other in; the ones we look to God in; just remember HE is holding you both in His arms as you walk down that beach together. Go buy some new shirts now. You will need them. Thank you for your precious words…..Love is truly all we need.
Debbie g - July 27, 2021 9:39 pm
Prayers for you and Jamie we all loved mother Mary because of you and will have a smile when we think of her What an awesome lady and what an awesome
Child and son-in-law Much love and prayers
Rita King - July 27, 2021 10:22 pm
Recently I read one of your stories on Instagram about Mother Mary and it showed such a lovely picture of her having just received a new box of Estee Lauder powder. She was smelling it and smiling so beautifully. It made me miss my momma who has been gone for so many years and made me miss those precious church ladies you spoke of as well. So what did I do? I ordered a box for myself and although I’ve never met your precious Mother Mary I smile each time I open that box and that sweet fragrance wafts through the air. Life is but a vapor. Some souls fill it with sweetness and sometimes a dash of sass. I hold vigil as you & Jamie honor this darling woman’s final chapter and as you hold her in your loving arms. May God grant you both peace of heart and the joy of special memories. You are so blessed to have known and loved such a special lady. She will never be forgotten. 💔🌹
Peggy ALEXANDER - July 27, 2021 10:23 pm
You are a good husband Sean. Jamie is blessed to have you. You are also a good son-in-law. Praying for y’all 🙏🙏🙏
Ams - July 27, 2021 11:48 pm
Oh Sean! I’m so sorry to hear this news, and I will be praying for comfort for both you and Jamie, as well as for the rest of her family. And I will be praying for time and space for you all to grieve and to process and to soak up her presence in the time you have left with her.
Teresa Blankenship - July 28, 2021 12:46 am
Susan - July 28, 2021 12:47 am
Oh Sean, thank you for sharing those beautiful, sincere words. You have no idea the hearts you touch…
Karen Snyder - July 28, 2021 1:09 am
May God hold you all in his loving embrace now and in the days ahead. ❤️
Ann Hunter - July 28, 2021 1:52 am
That’s just beautiful!!!
Judy Tayloe - July 28, 2021 2:10 am
Sean, peace and comfort to you and Jamie as Mother Mary leaves this earth for her home in Heaven. God Speed, Mother Mary, and rise to Glory.
Buddy Caudill - July 28, 2021 2:28 am
Praying for comfort for you, your wife, and your family.
elizabethroosje - July 28, 2021 2:35 am
Oh dear ones, I am so sorry. We are praying and will continue. Much love and prayers. I have faced loss too. Love, much love 🙏
Verna Kays - July 28, 2021 4:35 am
Once more,I thank you Sean for sharing……Hold Jamie tight…you are a fine husband.
God bless you guys,and my prayers are with you….
Connie - July 28, 2021 11:21 am
Sean, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Jamie and your family. There’s nothing quite as earth changing as losing your mom. Your willingness to share your love for your wife is beautiful. God bless and give y’all comfort and strength.
Phil Jennings - July 28, 2021 11:40 am
It is a process. No one knows the rules. You just do it. Hopefully, the two of you will navigate it in a healthy way and keep those precious memories alive to celebrate her every day.
I miss mom and dad every day even 10 and 15 years later. They are alive in my heart and soul.
Both of you are a tribute to her life as she has affected you as much as her own daughter. God bless you both, I know the two of you have big hearts full of love and life that you share with us. And it makes a difference.
Rebecca S Daffin - July 28, 2021 12:52 pm
Prayers for you and your family as you go through this difficult time. There is a wonderful faith-based organization, GriefShare, that offers help and healing for those who are dealing with the loss of a family member or friend.
Gina in NC - July 28, 2021 1:05 pm
Thank you for sharing Mother Mary with us, Sean. My own mother is 91 and runs a bit of a similar life with me at present. Your words inspire me and remind me, even during the tough times and clean up and such, that my work is necessary and appreciated. My mother often tells me in her New England accent: “God will ‘rewaahd’ you.” and I always tell her: “He already has, just by me being here to help.”
Jamie is so lucky to have you, and you her. Mother Mary? Well she knows what a beautiful, wonderful daughter and son in law that she has and the love and care that you both provide, will last her long into the next life. Fair winds and following seas, Mother Mary. SO much love follows you.
Cynthia - July 28, 2021 2:21 pm
So touching. My parents are both gone. You hit all the reality with this letter. Yes, when you have done this before, you learn that it is okay to be yourself. Grieve, ugly cry. The real comes forth.
Thank you for the beautiful words and feelings they conveyed.
Susan - July 28, 2021 4:03 pm
Sean, you describe it so well. Thank you for sharing your gift of putting the hard stuff into words. Praying for your wife and you in the days ahead and for your Mother-in-Law. Sending hugs to y’all. With empathy, Susan
Marcia De Graaf - July 28, 2021 6:27 pm
Beautiful and touching, Sean. I understand. Praying for Mary, Jamie, you, the family, and all those many others who love Mary. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Deanna - July 28, 2021 9:01 pm
There are no words except I am sorry
Patricia Gibson - July 28, 2021 9:14 pm
Prayers for you guys🙏🙏
Jim Sirmans - July 28, 2021 9:21 pm
Jamie, my heart hurts so much for you….💕💔😢
Kathleen Casteel - July 29, 2021 11:39 am
Beautifully said. Bless you and thank you!
gaffstergal - July 29, 2021 2:24 pm
So very dear. Aren’t we blessed to have someone we love to share life’s bad and good moments. Only 59 years for us so far, and there are lots of both! Thanks…
susanrennianderson - July 29, 2021 8:07 pm
I read you Sean of the South every single, coffee-filled morning. In my heart, this was your best so far.
throughmyeyesusa - July 30, 2021 12:31 am
I am so sorry, as empty as those words are & as futile as it is to try to express the emotions I am feeling & want to express to you.
Sean, you are a blessing. Jamie, you are both blessed to have Sean, blessed to have had Mary as your mother and a blessing to het. Your story – & all of you – are a gift to all of us & an example of how Christian lives, well lived, enrich those who live them and all who are touched by them.
Thank you for sharing so personal a story of love & loss. You are in my prayers, for strength, for peace, for the repose of Mother Mary & for the understanding that comes from knowing our Lord Jesus Christ. He will see you through this & all things.
Carey Rogers - July 30, 2021 3:56 am
We are all going to miss Mother Mary`s sassy spirit. She gave you a lifetime of stories, some to share, some to keep private. Best of all, she gave you that wonderful wife. All my love to both of you at this time. Been there.
Carey Rogers - July 30, 2021 4:07 am
I am so sorry. You made sassy Mother Mary everyone’s mother,. She left you with so many life stories, some you’ll share, some you’ll keep to yourself. Most importantly, she gave you that beautiful biscuitmaking wife to spend the rest of your life with. Love always
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - July 30, 2021 3:07 pm
Bill Harris - July 30, 2021 3:41 pm
Thank you Sean. My heart goes out to you all.
Robert L Chiles - July 30, 2021 7:18 pm
May she rest in peace and rise in Glory. Prayers for you!
Sheri K - July 31, 2021 10:44 pm
How sadly beautiful! As the three of you walk thru this, know that you are in our hearts and prayers. Our loving God will see you thru. There’s a crowd of angels waiting for Mother Mary when she is finally called home. Lean on God, He’s able and eager to bless you with His comfort. 🙏🙏💖
Anne M Robinson - August 3, 2021 7:05 pm
I pray for each one of you. Having lost a father then a mother, I know that pain all too well. Loss is something I don’t like expierencing but I keep my eyes on Jesus. He will walk with each one of you, whether you want Him there or not. He will comfort you, He will take Mother Mary and guide into the most beautiful place she has ever been. It is a vision I try to focus on too. But the getting there, it is so hard. I love how you write. I hope you receive comfort from all these paryer warriors that are embracing you and Jamie and her mom . We truly love you. GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
Debra D Hudson - August 10, 2021 4:50 am
Donna Johns - August 24, 2021 5:46 pm
Oh, if all humans, not just husbands, were like this!! Love like there is no tomorrow!! I wanna be Ms. Jamie for one day!!
Karen - October 25, 2021 11:28 pm
May you find comfort during this difficult time. It’s a hard thing to join this club. May God bless your family and your hospice staff.
Ann Castleberry - October 26, 2021 12:47 pm
Sean, you did what you needed to do- just be there with love.
Leslie Dodson - November 1, 2021 6:03 pm
I am so very sorry for you all. In February of this year my mother was diagnosed with cancer with the likihood she might live a year. Chemotherapy was so horrible it was discarded immediately. The cancer has spread and she received 10 radiation treatments to the new location. This year is flying by and the one year anniversary of her diagnosis is looming. Life is hard, facing death is hard. My only hope is that Jesus is walking with us on this journey.
Prayers for Ms Mary, Jamie and you. Thank you for your words that so resonate with us all.