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“Really? But.. but they don’t know me.” My Mother Thanks You and I Thank You

[FROM APRIL 2018] Mom and my brother Tom last week. They dropped by after Tom and helped mom into his BMW and taken her for a high-speed ride on the back roads around Chico and Paradise. Mom likes to go very fast. With the top down. On a beautiful spring day where Northern California is a green dream.


At 103 years of age, small errors can lead to a major crisis; and knowing this when my phone rings at midnight and the caller ID says “Mom,” I come awake very quickly.

Last Thursday Night/ Friday morning that call came in. I responded as quickly as is safe and went to my mother’s apartment to find she had slipped and fallen onto her carpet causing an injury to her knee that left her unable to lift herself safely. My reaction was to take a quick read on her knee (Nothing broken but painful.) and then call 911 for some paramedics to drop by and evaluate her.

This was done with the usual and always amazing response team from Enloe Hospital in Chico and (after a very thorough evaluation ) they determined nothing was broken and there was no pressing need to transport her by ambulance to the emergency room. They got her back on her pins even though to put weight on her knees was quite painful. I stayed on that night and through the next to help her. She saw the orthopedist the next morning and he determined that nothing was broken or fractured and that her bones were overall in first-rate shape. She got a new knee brace which was much more sturdy than the brace she usually wears and was sent home at about noon on Friday.

This morning, Sunday, she was up and about and seemed to be well on the mend. So much so that she dressed in her Sunday best as my brother Tom, who had also come down to stay with her, took her to church and the social hour they have after. Seeing her after church today it was clear that she was about 90% of the way back to her normal walking state. She reminded me that we needed to get tickets to Noises Off at the Chico Theater Company and sent me to the box office.

And so, at 103, on we go.

I mentioned to her all the amazing support seen here and the prayers offered up on her behalf.

“Really? But.. but they don’t know me.”

“Oh, they do know you a bit, mom. I’ve written about you. Here let me read you a few of their comments.”

And I did. And as I did I noticed my Stoic mother get just a bit misty.

“How wonderful that is,” she said. “How wonderful they are.”

“Yes,” I said. “Yes, they are.”

“Thank them for me.”

When my mother tells me to do something I always say, “Yes.”

So thank you. Thank you one and all.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Geoff C. The Saltine April 15, 2018, 6:28 PM

    Glad all is well. Talk to you on Tuesday, Get some rest. Love you, Geoff and Jeannie.
    Say high to your mom for us, and no more falling down.

  • PA Cat April 15, 2018, 7:26 PM

    Gerard, thank you for telling us the good news. And tell your mom that the prayers will keep coming– we all need God’s ongoing love and care.

  • Dave April 15, 2018, 7:41 PM

    Ah, good news, Gerard. I was concerned when you disappeared. We all were/are.

  • Hale Adams April 15, 2018, 8:10 PM


    Thanks for the update. The phrase “family duties” can take on unhappy connotations when applied to elderly relatives. It’s nice to know it was nothing serious.

    Hale Adams
    Pikesville, People’s still-mostly-Democratic Republic of Maryland

  • Julie April 15, 2018, 8:39 PM

    It is always so wonderful to hear about your lovely mom. She is marvelous, and we do indeed pray for her and for all of you who love her. As always, thank you for sharing her with us.

  • Richard G. April 15, 2018, 9:43 PM

    Moms, the givers of life. Enjoy them while you have them. And thank them for their gifts. Yours has enriched the world, Gerard.

  • bfwebster April 15, 2018, 9:52 PM

    I thought (worried) it might be your mom from your ‘family matters’ post; happy to hear all is more or less well. Give her my best. ..bruce..

  • Bill Henry April 15, 2018, 9:53 PM

    Thanks for the update on your mom..
    She inspires..

    Bill Henry

  • WiscoDave April 16, 2018, 2:48 AM

    So very glad to hear, and see, that all is well on the way to total recovery.
    She is a very special woman. Make sure you let her know that.

  • ghostsniper April 16, 2018, 3:19 AM

    I was duty bound to comment on her, and I wanted to.
    I’m glad she’s OK and I am a little envious of you, for having such a unique experience, to have a mom that knows a century. Ya know, sitting and talking to her is probably the best thing her kids can do for her.

    After my mom passed, and still, I think of so many things I’d like to ask her.
    If foresight was as sharp as hindsight.
    Good luck to Lois and all of you!

  • John Venlet April 16, 2018, 3:47 AM

    Outstanding, Gerard. While your Mom may not be running without being weary, she is definitely lifted on wings of eagles and prayers.

  • Ken Bryan April 16, 2018, 3:50 AM

    Glad she is doing fine. Everyone should care for their elderly one day they wont be around to teach us.

  • Nobody Atall April 16, 2018, 6:20 AM

    Dear Gerard, please convey to your wonderful mother my prayers, best wishes, and gratitude for the gift of her oatmeal-chocolate chip coookie recipe – you posted it some years ago and I tried it out – it is now the cookie of choice for my family – her name is on the page in my recipe book and I always say a little prayer for her and your family, too – Thank You, Lois, and may God bless!

  • Kathryn of Wyoming April 16, 2018, 6:21 AM

    So glad to hear your wonderful mother is doing well. She’s such a treasure and I do so enjoy reading about her and her life and adventures.

  • Terry April 16, 2018, 7:18 AM

    Very good news indeed!

    Makes my world appear less stressful as well.

  • Dwaine Robertson April 16, 2018, 7:26 AM

    Thanks for letting us know.

  • steve walsh April 16, 2018, 7:43 AM

    Good to hear she is well. At 103, and many younger ages, a fall of that type can be devastating. Thankfully not in this case.

  • Larry Geiger April 16, 2018, 7:49 AM

    I’m glad Mom is ok. The Lord has kept you for these many years so that you could keep an eye on those two boys

  • rolldog April 16, 2018, 8:02 AM

    GVL – glad to see that your Mother is doing well. With older parents, I don’t there is ever a “minor” fall.

    I’m curious, what is your Mother’s road music while she and your brother carve up a canyon or two?

  • Charley Hua Chu April 16, 2018, 8:10 AM

    Clicked on my link to you this a.m. to check for an update on yer momma. Yep, there it is and good too! Hot damn, and back on the road speeding around in a BMW rag-top.
    Can’t get no better than that!
    Bless y’all from rural Texas.

  • Mikey NTH April 16, 2018, 8:30 AM

    I am glad to hear that all is well with your mother. When I saw the “Pause” I was afraid that she had a bad turn. My mother passed away last December at age 86 (the day after my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary) so I know how it feels to get that call at a not-normal-time, and what it can mean.

  • Monty James April 16, 2018, 8:31 AM

    Unless your Mom gained superpowers from the accident, I can’t think of a way for the news to be better than to hear that things went the way they did. I have the feeling she already possesses them. Sucks that you and your brother had the scare, but splendid to see an example of family like yours. Drive on, VanderLeuns.

  • Jayne April 16, 2018, 9:56 AM

    Fabulous. And looking good. Love that you are such a close family! Will remember your family in my prayers. Thanks for all the information you pass my way!

  • StBernardnot April 16, 2018, 10:00 AM

    I lost my dear mother a little over a year ago. 100 yrs. & 1 month. Up until the last week, she was doing quite well. She fell & went down fast. A week later she passed. Looks like you boys are doing well by her. You all, cherish each day. Who knows when the last day will be.

  • RigelDog April 16, 2018, 12:04 PM

    So glad to hear that Coolest Mom in World is doing fine! Yes, I do feel like I know her from your posts. And, having lost my mom suddenly when she was but 59, there is delight and comfort in the Vicarious Mom material you so generously provide.

  • theduchessofkitty April 16, 2018, 1:54 PM

    Gerald, I’m so glad your mom is OK. Prayers and all my best wishes.

  • Dinah (from MO...now WA) April 16, 2018, 6:53 PM

    Oh, good! Thanks for sharing the great news….Mom back on her feet and tooling around in a convertible! What a trouper she is (and you, too). Thanks for letting her fans know that all is well.

  • Melinda April 16, 2018, 10:02 PM

    “and taken her for a high-speed ride on the back roads around Chico and Paradise. Mom likes to go very fast. With the top down. On a beautiful spring day where Northern California is a green dream.”

    Now that is something wonderful.

  • Grog April 17, 2018, 7:08 AM

    That’s good news, glad she’s well.

  • Willy Ruffian April 17, 2018, 3:06 PM

    Love that girl.

  • Hangtown Bob April 18, 2018, 8:27 AM

    You and she are very, very welcome. I’m glad that she’s back to her old self!

  • Eskyman April 18, 2018, 4:51 PM

    Wonderful news, Gerard! Your mother is indeed special, and has a place in so many hearts. Some of us were expecting bad news, and hoping it wouldn’t be so- and our prayers were granted!

    She is also an inspiration, and you are too. Keep on keepin’ on, Vanderleuens!

  • David June 13, 2019, 8:37 AM

    Gerard, to echo the comments from last year, Thank You for telling us all the stories of your remarkable Mom. She surely one of the singular Most Wonderful if not The Most Wonderful person you will ever know, and it always shines through in your writing.
    Now that she’s gone, I know that there is a terrible hurt and a hole in your heart. Sometimes it mends, sometimes it just eats you up. I felt that way for almost a year after my Mom died. I still feel very lost and sad that she is gone. But for all of us, life does go on.
    There is nothing so pure and wonderful as your Mother’s love, and she loved you and the rest of your family dearly.
    The way I have learned to fill that hole that was left when my Mom died, is to try and show that same love to others. Love really never dies, real love. I don’t know who is close to you in your life, but try to show them a little of the wonderful love your Mother gave you, and you returned to her.
    If my Mom was still alive today, she would be 97, so from the same generation as your beloved Mother. My Mom also was a remarkable and singular woman, and the church was overflowing with friends and family at her funeral.
    She will live in your memory as long as you live. And we all hope there is more than memory beyond the circles of this world.

  • Strelnikov June 13, 2019, 9:08 AM

    Glad to hear she’s ok – but invest in Life Line or a similar service. If she had not be able to get to a phone, then what? Saved my now 87 year of mom when she fell in the bathroom at 3AM, breaking a foot and a collar bone. There was no chance of her reaching the phone, and I live two+ hours away. She might have been there for days, which would have killed her. As it was, she pushed the button and Life Line sent the EMTS.

    Take this advice.

  • Vanderleun June 13, 2019, 10:13 AM

    Sorry, Strelnikov but th is is from more than a year ago. Mom has now passed. But yes she always had the LifeLine service. So good advice to all.

  • Christopher S. Johns June 13, 2019, 11:40 AM

    A long, full life, well lived. RIP.

    Gerard, condolences and prayers for you and yours.

  • John the River June 13, 2019, 5:08 PM

    Belated condolences, but heartfelt. I knew this was coming but I felt the sting nevertheless.
    I accompanied my lady down to Florida this week and just got back. My daily excursions on the Internet mostly went by the wayside.

    Her older brother had fallen and broken a hip, in the same week his wife was taken into the hospital and then released to hospice as terminal. More than anyone should bear alone. And near more than my lady could handle alone, so I went with.
    This is how I met her brother for the first time. He has been in a wheelchair for thirty years, Guillain-Barre syndrome. Which didn’t stop him from being an EMT co-ordinator until retirement. Now he’s convalescing in the same care facility as his wife and he is angry and I think, frightened. We talked. He has been surrounded mostly by women since his hospitalization and needed another guy to vent in front of.
    His wife was I’m told a great beauty in her day. In her bed today, she is shrunken and botched with a gray sleeve pulled over the left arm where she has lost a hand to cancer. A lovely lady, who when we were leaving asked us to come back again, “After I get better and regain my strength and can get out of bed.” I think she has more strength today than I’ll ever have. She’s ninety.
    What an amazing generation, all of them. We shall not see the like again.

  • ghostsniper June 14, 2019, 4:16 AM

    Looks like an Audi TT.
    My neighbor has a gray one. Nice.

  • ghostsniper June 14, 2019, 4:21 AM

    Just read the caption – BMW.

  • H June 14, 2019, 4:40 AM

    She was a peach amongst lemons, and we are diminished.