Gillespie Dental Associates

Home » Dentistry » A Sense of Community: My Mother’s Passing

A Sense of Community: My Mother’s Passing


I said goodbye to my mother yesterday.  After only a short period of time following a diagnosis of lung cancer, she passed from this world peacefully at home, where she had lived independently until about six weeks ago.

That’s not to say it was easy.  Indeed, the last few years have been full of ER visits due to falls, calls from friends who caught her out driving when she wasn’t supposed to, and constant threats and reminders that if she didn’t wear her Lifeline Medical Alert or use her walker, we were going to send her to the nursing home.

Her diet of Frosted Flakes, Sprite and Pepperidge Farms Coconut Cake didn’t help matters.  Nor did her smoking habit, but she’d had a hard early life, raised four children (two of them 17 years apart), outlived all of her siblings (who were also her closest friends) by several years, and made it to 83 years, so we all just lived with it and let her do things her way as long as we could.  Fortunately, she had wonderful neighbors, and they eased the worry by checking in on her constantly.  In the end, she passed knowing we loved her and we knew she loved us—unconditionally.  That’s about all we can ask for, isn’t it?

What really touched us was the outpouring of love and support from so many friends, past and present, and the community in which we grew up.  The time and place of my childhood was very special to me—kind of a Mayberry/Brady Bunch feel—and it has been so much fun to reminisce with so many old friends as we have gone through the grieving process—a highlight for my little sister was the discovery of her birth certificate, which disproved the tale we always told her of finding her in a cabbage patch.

Seriously, it’s times like this that really make you appreciate the power of friends and family, and as hard as it is to let a loved one go, I find comfort in the love and support I have felt over the last few days, and know my mother did the same.


  1. Roy Bowen says:

    Well said Brother….well said.


  2. Catherine says:

    What a beautiful tribute-


  3. Dear Dr. Gillespie, our deepest condolences on your mother’s passing, she is now in a better place with our Lord and Savior. You were a good son and she most have been very proud of you. God Bless.
    Mr.&Mrs Munro (Yvette’s Mom)


  4. Steve Jamison says:

    Tim, that was beautifully said. Blessings and peace to you all!


  5. Beautifully written, Tim. I’m so sorry for your loss.


  6. Debbie Buchanan says:

    Oh my gosh, I am so sorry to hear this. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the family.


  7. Newton Clark says:

    I dread the day my friend. She has passed every test of unconditional love I could throw at her, and I honestly think my mom will tell God when it is her time! Until then, we will love her and do our best.
    Sorry for your loss; it is easier said than done, but this is a time of celebration. Her suffering is over and she left you with a lifetime of great memories… her obstinacy is now for your amusement…AND introspection!!!! I’m sure Betsy will concur~
    Your sentiments are well said, and bring tears of empathy and sympathy.
    See you soon, and know you have many that care about you and your family!~


  8. Gretta Worley Rosbor says:

    Tim, I don’t think I have seen you or Mike since you graduated from Sylva-Webster (and I didn’t realize you both were dentist), I am so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. May the love of family and friends continue to comfort you and give you strength in the days ahead. Sending blessings without end to you, Mike and Myra. God bless each of you.


  9. Jennie Hunter says:

    Very nice tribute. Thinking and praying for you.
    Jennie Hunter


  10. Linda Boone says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your mother. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts & prayers.


  11. Anne Plyler says:

    Tim, your words are wise, witty, and wonderful. Thank you for sharing your loss and for allowing those of us who care for you to be a part of this very important part your life. Some say you never truly become an adult until you’ve experienced the loss of a parent. Your Mother sounds like quite a character and she obviously did a fine job on you! I know the adjustment to her loss will take time and I hope as you go through the process, you’ll appreciate these portions of John O’Donohue’s poem, On Grief:

    When you lose someone you love,
    Your life becomes strange.
    The ground beneath you gets fragile,
    Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
    And some dead echo drags your voice down
    Where words have no confidence.

    Gradually, you’ learn acquaintance
    With the invisible form of your departed;
    And when the work of grief is done,
    The wound of loss will heal
    And you will have learned
    To wean your eyes
    From that gap in the air
    And be able to enter the hearth
    In your soul where your loved one
    Has awaited your return
    All the time.


  12. BAMHappy says:

    Hey Tim – we’re still too young to be without our parents! So sorry for you, Mike, Myra, and your entire family. Glad you’re able to spend time with your family and friends. Blessings to you – Margaret


  13. cheryl says:

    Tim-awesome blog post. It is sad that it takes a love one passing away to celebrate the love of family and friends. Your mom did a great job raising a wonderful son. I am sure she and your dad are looking down with such pride of the man you have become!


  14. Nimil says:

    I am truly sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


  15. Gayle Hanley says:

    Dr. Gillespie,

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. It’s always difficult to lose one’s mother.
    Will keep you and your family in my prayers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: