(September 17, 1939 – January 12, 2023)
One of my first posts on this platform was about Pop-Pop Bowe… it’s been awhile since I’ve written another post and this certainly wasn’t the one I expected to bring me back, but unfortunately it has. I’ll try to keep it short and sweet, but like Bowie, Mom-Mom was an amazing person that made an impact on everyone’s lives.
Even the way she left this earth was something so surreal and beautiful, it felt straight out of a movie. I’ll get into that later in the post though.
Leen and I have been dreading this call for years. Mom-Mom was such a fighter, that as much as we were dreading the call, we never actually thought it would happen.
How was Mom-Mom you ask?
She basically had one good eye, leg, hip and lung. She had survived cancer multiple times.
And to top that off, the last month or so of her life, she was walking around with a broken back.
As you can tell by the video above, Mom-Mom had a unique and raw sense of humor. She was always good for some classic lines like this.
One of those classic lines is from when I was working at the Cuthbert Auto gas station. My mom and Mom-Mom stopped by to get gas one night. While they were getting gas, Mom-Mom says to me, “Mr. Adam… you should get a squirrel tattoo.”
I was so confused, I said, “what??”
Mom-Mom goes, “you should get a squirrel tattooed on your inner thigh.”
I started laughing because I could only imagine where this was going. I said, “and why is that, Mom-Mom?”
And that’s when she hit me with… “because it would look like its chasing two nuts!”
HAHAHAHA! Instant classic.
This joke was so infamous, that for a wedding gift, Mom-Mom gave me these squirrel boxers. So of course I wore them for the first (and last) time to her celebration of life.
One day, I’ll have to actually get the squirrel tattoo. For now though, I think this one will do…
I can’t take credit for it though. This was my wife, Leen’s idea. Mom-Mom had been signing cards with “love Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop above” ever since Pop-Pop passed away a few years ago. Leen said it would be a perfect tattoo. Well, she wasn’t wrong. I think Mom-Mom would approve. Although, she’d definitely be disappointed I didn’t get the squirrel yet 😂.
Growing up, my parents worked full time and Mom-Mom was retired, so I spent a lot of time with the Bowes. Things were simple then. Whether it was grilled cheese and movies at 26 Warren or penny candies and fishing at Four Seasons campground, we were always up to something.
As I got older, the food choices stayed the same (yeah, yeah, I know I’m a picky eater), but the movies and fishing turned into conversations over a Crown Royal.
I’ll definitely miss those conversations, but what I’ll especially miss is Mom-Mom getting to meet her great grandchild. She had been waiting for years and was so excited when Leen and I told her she was going to be a great grandmom.
Our family group chat received a text saying Mom-Mom was going to the hospital. Which is never a good thing, but like I mentioned before, we truly didn’t believe it would be the last time.
However, the following day, the call came. Mom-Mom wasn’t doing well. We all left work early to go see her.
Mom-Mom slept most of the time we were at the hospital, but as we were getting close to leaving, she woke up. She was awake and coherent, but kept her eyes closed.
One of Mom-Mom’s favorite stories was from when I was little. I was born a couple years before Mom-Mom’s first battle with cancer. One day when I was about three or four, I was over her house. I had come up with this story about how I was an angel that God sent down to watch over her during that cancer battle. Mom-Mom immediately called my mom to ask if I had been going to Sunday school. Apparently I hadn’t been. So, who knows where I concocted this story, but from that day forward I was always Mom-Mom’s angel.
I was sent to watch over her then and I was there watching over her in the end.
I held Mom-Mom’s hand while she was awake (at her request) while she proceeded to mention every family member by name, say how much she loved them, and that she’d be watching over us all from Heaven. She apologized to my mom and told her to get rid of all her journals to Pop-Pop. I can only imagine what was in there…
She even said goodbye to her great grandchild, who is due in June… “Hello little one. I will dance with you in the sky above.”
Leen and I both agree, this part hit us the hardest.
Finally, Mom-Mom said she was ready to go have her dance with Pop-Pop. She had been waiting long enough.
Now is when I deviate for a moment…
“Sorrow of parting will bring happiness of reunification.”
If I told you this is the fortune I got from a cookie the day Mom-Mom went into the hospital, would you believe me?
Just another piece to this poetic story. However, it was really when we were leaving the hospital that brought everything back full circle. Back to the days at 26 Warren Ave. Bekah and Mom-Mom sang an old nursery rhyme called Here Comes the Sandman. It was like we were kids again.
Leen and I hung around a few minutes after everyone left. It was tough to say goodbye. When we finally did leave, we talked about how sad we were, but how surreal and beautiful everything was. Only Mom-Mom.
Even after all that, we still had our doubts it was the end, but in the middle of the night, Mom-Mom finally lost the battle.
Mom-Mom will forever be missed and forever be a legend.
I hope you’re enjoying your dance with Pop-Pop “above.”
A celebration of Janet’s life was held at:
419 Highland Avenue
Gloucester City, NJ
Saturday, February 4, 2023
1PM – 5PM
If you were able to make it, share a story or memory, and raise a glass to Janet (Goose)… thank you!