Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Betty Tipton - Washington Avenue, Downingtown, PA 1948

Four years ago today my Mother died.  She was 86 years old.  She died of complications from diabetes.  

Like many gay men, my Mom was my best friend.  I was her first born.  She always wanted a girl because she lost her mother before she was two years old.  She even had a name picked out for me:  "Louise", which was her middle name (no snarky remarks from my gay friends now).  

My Mom pregnant with me - Demi Moore copied this pose - my Mom was ahead of her time

When she was pregnant with me, her sister-in-law was expecting at the same time.  She wanted a boy who she was going to name "Ronald".  She had a girl (who was born four days after I was born) which she named "Louise" (of course).  

My cousin (and "namesake") Louise Tipton White - 2005
I'm not going to write my Mom's whole life history here, just a few memories that I have of her and post some of my favorite pictures (I have hundreds, she was my best friend after all).

The only sad fact, other than my Mom has been gone four years, is that during the last year or two of her life, when she was slipping into dementia, she became very angry at me. That always saddened me but my brother, who is a professional caregiver (along with his wife - how lucky was I?) assured me "That wasn't Mom, Ron."

So, this morning on the fourth anniversary of her death I am profoundly sad (again).  It is at times like this that I sense the feeling of letting go of my lifelong zest for life.  That I think when I do die I will no longer have this pain of knowing she is no longer around.  

Bill misses her too.  They were only four years apart in age and were good friends.

Bill and Mom October 5, 1975 Hopewell Road, Downingtown, PA
He has a picture of her above the chair in our sun room where he sits most of his days.  She is smiling in that picture.  I am so glad I insisted that she got that professional picture taken on that Labor Day weekend in 2005 on the rare occasion when both of my brothers were at her house in Downingtown. 

Me and my brothers and our Mother at J. C. Penney's for the family portrait - 2005

Mom (four years old) with her two older brothers George and Randy - they later tore the head off of her doll - 1928
Mom with her nephew Bill Tipton and her sisters-in-laws (and best friends) Mabel and Peggy Tipton - 1946
Me and Mom in her garden - she loved to watch me and anyone to work in her garden - LOVE to direct

Mom in her "director's chair" in her garden
Me and my Mom in her garden July 4, 2002
Me with Mom at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia - she's filing out the form before undergoing a medical procedure - she loved to have me go with her during the final years of her life when she was on the Medical Treadmill

I don't believe in Heaven.  I don't believe in an after life.  I think once we die there is nothing.  But if there is a Heaven (and wouldn't I be surprised?) I know my Mom will be there waiting for me.  And boy oh boy, do we have a LOT of gossip to catch up on.

God bless your soul Mom.  And thank you for making me the man that I am today. 


  1. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Ron, every time you post a photo of your Mom my first thought is always "what a wonderful smile". I think it must be reflective of her soul & personality. She really has a twinkle in her eye.

    How fortunate you were to have had her! (And she, you!) You've given a very loving tribute to her in several places throughout your blog, including today.

    ~ Canuck

    1. Canuck,
      You are so right about my Mom's smile. Everyone who met her and knew her often said what a wonderful smile she had. She was genuine. Her whole life was devoted to her husband (my father) and her "three boys" (or "my boys" as she used to call us) and in that order by the way. "Pop" always came first but we weren't far behind. Growing up I assumed all mothers were like mine. You can imagine my puzzlement when I met others of my same age who weren't as lucky as I was to have the wonderful Mom I had. Oh sure, she had her problems, especially towards the end when she was brainwashed by Fox News and became very paranoid but I overlook that short period of her life. At the end she was very angry at me and I don't know why. Bill said the same thing, she was angry at him too. But growing up (until I was in my sixties), she was the best mom anyone could wish for. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Ron, my mother had Alzheimer's at the end of her life, and we "lost" her years before she died. She never got angry at me, but she did break my brother's heart one day when she told him she did not love him. Of course she did not mean it, because her cognitive skills were so disintegrated. I think that everyone who has a family member who has dementia needs to understand what is happening in their brain. This way it might make it less likely that they will take personally anything said or done. Even so, there is no upside to the disease, and it tends to be a relief when they finally pass, because living with severe dementia is not a good life. It is great that you had those final years with her, but your memories of her when she was younger are the ones that will sustain you. That is how I like to think of my mother.

    1. Well said Tony, well said. Thank you.


  3. Ron,
    First of all, my condolences on your loss. It hasn't been 2 years since my mother left but I think of her every day. I think mothers and sons will always have that special bond even if the dad is just as involved (mine wasn't). Our beliefs differ in the sense that I do believe there is an afterlife and I already have my ticket bought and paid for. I am just waiting for the bus to pull up so I can board and be on my way. There is so much evil in this world and with the dawn of each day the evil just gets worse, I wonder just how much time do we have on this earth before the whole thing just erupts into a nuclear holocaust. I just find the whole world situation thing depressing, having to worry about what's going on in the world when I can barely handle my personal problems at home. Doesn't seem that there's any way out. I've been feeling this way for about a year now and no it's not a cry for help, not suicide, just profound sadness about the state of the world. If I had wanted to end my life I would have and could have done that years ago. We discussed this on another posting you did a short while back.
    Anyway, everyone's beliefs are personal and If yours work for you who am I to persuade you to change those beliefs.
    Love the pictures, I wish I had as many as you do.

    1. Jack,
      Thank you for your thoughtful and considerate comment. I would like to believe in an afterlife. Oh how I would like to think that I could reunite with old friends, family and especially our pets. But I just don't think that is going to happen. But I am quite prepared to be surprised. What I really fear is that I'll be reborn in some terrible situation.
      Like you sometimes I feel there is no way out. Then something happens like meeting my friend from Toronto. He is such a blessing. So goodhearted and inspiring. Meeting him I am tempted to believe there is a greater power that came down to save me. Oh sure, I'm quite comfortable in my present situation but there was something missing. That is not the situation now. I have something to look forward to. We all need something to look forward too. I cannot write too much about this situation because sometimes Bill reads my blog (he says he doesn't after reading something I said positive about Pat) but I don't want to take the chance and hurt him. He has devoted his life to me and I do love him and will stay with him as long as we're both alive. Pat understands that.
      There is so much evil in this word. If I think about it too much then I begin to despair. But when something good like Pat comes along, I know there is hope. Maybe that's what the Mystery of Life is all about. Hope.
      Thanks again for your comments Jack. Always appreciated.

  4. A bit behind on my blog-reading, Ron, so only just caught up with this one. It's easy to say that one ought only to remember the best times but the harsh episodes, arguments, embarrassments and things one shouldn't have said but did, and should have said but didn't, they all come crowding in claiming a place. And so they should. One remembers a lost loved one in his/her entirety. With light there has to be shade. Your final words above show that you recognise it.
    I know exactly what the anniversary of your loss means to you, as any caring person should. It's a bitter-sweet experience, yet one to be cherished.

  5. Ron, this is a wonderful tribute to your Mother and you've shared some really great photos. I can fully understand your feelings, since my Mom was also my best friend. She passed away in December, 2009, and I truly died on that day. I've never gotten over her death and I've never been the same since. At least we have treasured memories to sustain us. And, who knows? Perhaps we'll see our Mothers again some day and catch up on all the gossip.....

  6. the director's chair photo is my favorite.

    1. Dr.Spo,
      Mom sure did like to "direct" in her garden. Few activities gave her greater pleasure than watching her men work in the garden. She often told us "I like to watch you work." I'm still working. She got me my first job as a paper boy when I was in third grade. I still remember what she said "You're getting a job. You're not going to hang around the drugstore like all the other kids, collecting your allowance." I'm still working. First in my class and probably the last in my class. Mom taught me right.


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