In Loving Memory of Annie

Her name was Annie. Born in Holland in 1926, she was the eldest of six, three girls and three boys.  She had the bluest eyes, dark curly hair, an {some called it abnormal} avid love of reading and books. She grew up during WWII in war torn Holland, where despite the horrors of the war, her family still enjoyed laughter and love under the watchful eye of her mother, and father.  She was my mom.

In 1964, she immigrated to the USA with me, she was a single Mom.  She left behind everything she loved and knew, as well as everyone in her large family and circle of friends.  Her brother and sister in law, who lived in California, encouraged her to come, thinking surely she would get a great job, as she spoke four languages.  She did.  Her brother and his wife moved right back to Holland a few short years after that, he was to be the CEO of an American company in Holland, but by then Annie was happy with her life in the states.  She worked hard, first as the secretary/assistant to the president of the company, then, when his company grew to be a multi national giant, she oversaw the sales department until she retired at 68.

She was strict, and only expected the best of me. {Why would I get a “B” in a class or on a test, when we both knew that “A’s” were better?}  But at the same time, she gave me a loving, warm childhood, and a wonderful home life.  Although she was divorced from my father, she never said a bad word about him, ever, and I never felt like I was missing something. She loved me with all her heart.  When I announced that I would be moving to Europe with my husband and her only grandchild, she never once said “oh, I’d hate that!” ~ she just said she hoped that it would be wonderful for us, and she would visit. She rejoiced when we returned 3 years later.

She had a long, healthy life.  She never had to take medication, had a strong heart and blood pressure most 40 year olds would be jealous of.  Two years ago she started having some Alzheimer’s symptoms, but nothing big, she was still able to live in her cozy little home, alone. Last year, after summer, it became obvious that we had to check in with her at least twice a day, and visit every day, just to make sure she was doing okay.  But she was, enjoying her cross word puzzles, her reading, and her nightly t.v. shows.  Suddenly a few days before Thanksgiving, she got sick. So jaundiced that I had to bring her to the hospital. But she bounced back. At Christmas, she was jaundiced again, and this time I took her for a round of Dr. visits and tests. Not one could figure out why she had the jaundice.  Leave it to her to have something that defied specialists all over Southern California!  After a three week hospital stay in February, with every test done, seven more specialists were even more perplexed.  I took her home, and was granted Hospice Care for her.


The doctors told me she should live for another year, but somehow, I didn’t think so.  We had the blessing of spending time with her as a family, just before she died, to sit with her, tell her we loved her, and draw strength from each other during this time. After 16 days at home, in her own lovely bedroom filled with flowers, photographs of those she loved, drawings and cards made by her great grandchildren, and her beloved books, she passed on with my husband and myself by her side. She was 86, and died just as the sun set.

This is why, as some of you asked in your emails, it didn’t seem that FrenchGardenHouse had much “new” lately. Why there were very few blog posts, and even less newsletters.  I spent this time with my Mom, and I am so glad that I did.  I wanted to share this with all of you, many of you have become great friends.


Mom loved FrenchGardenHouse, and sometimes enjoyed making little “shipping” lagniappes or helping with other tasks for us that she could still do.  I will miss her greatly, but I know she is at peace. I thank you for your prayers and comments on my Facebook page, they meant a lot to me and my family.  And I am rejoicing with our family that Mom is in that better place, looking down on us.

64 thoughts on “In Loving Memory of Annie”

  1. A beautiful tribute to your mother. I am sorry for your loss. What an example she was for all of us not to complain or criticize others. Her legacy is something to be proud of and aspire to. Thank you for sharing her life story. Blessings to you and your family.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Bonnie. That is something for all of us to aspire too, isn’t it? xoxo

  2. Sheila Cabaniss

    What a lovely tribute. Your Mom sounds like a wonderful lady. I am so sorry for your loss. May you be comforted by happy memories. God bless.

  3. Katie Vincent

    Her goodness, her love of you, and of life, will live on through you. May you bask in your loving memories of her. I wish you peace.

  4. Ahh, Lidy, I am so sorry. I am glad when I read someone had a loving, adventurous and interesting life, though. I had to to say goodbye to my dad last year and it was easier knowing he had a good run of it. Still, its so hard to be without them. Hugs and love, sweet lady. xo t

  5. Oh Lidy, I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life your mom lived and what a beautiful tribute your wrote for her. Hugs and blessing to you. xo

  6. Amelia

    I am so sorry, Lidy. You will miss her, but she is in heaven and will always be in your heart. Hugs for you during this hard season,


  7. Blessings to you and your family, dear Lidy. I’m so glad you had this time with your precious mom. Thank you for sharing her life with us.

  8. John Paul

    We are so sorry to her about your mom. She must have been so proud of you and your success with FrenchGardenHouse. Thinking of you during this time,
    JP Van Stammen

  9. I am so sorry for your loss Lidy!! May the Lord give you and your family all you need in the days and weeks to come!!! Praise God from whom all Blessing flow!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Elma! He will, and He always does, doesn’t He? xoxo

  10. Beautifully said, Lidy dear…. Just beautiful!
    Blessings to you and your family.

    With love,

  11. Oh, Lidy, what a hard thing! It has been said that “Death is hardest on those left living.” Wishing you peace only God can give. Thank you for putting your life on hold and taking care of her in her last days here on earth! Blessings, Connie

    1. I do have that peace, Connie….and she will be in our hearts forever. Thank you for taking the time to comment. xo

  12. I”m so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear mother. She sounds like an amazing woman. May you find peace and comfort in your sweet memories of her. Hugs, Debi

  13. Dear Lidy, I am so saddened to learn of your loss. Losing someone you love is never easy….and when it is our Mothers, sometimes it seems unbearable. What a loving tribute you have paid her in your story. I can’t help but marvel at the courage and resiliency of the women of their generation, your Mother’s and mine. They did what they had to do and kept going. My Mum was uneducated, but was hired for every job she applied for!
    Your Mother must have been so proud of you….she will remain in your heart forever. I lost my Mother four years ago;she was 99 years and 3 months old. I still miss her, but she is always with me.
    Your Mother sounds as if she were a remarkable woman, a shining example for her daughter. Take care, Lidy. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Joyce

    1. Thank you so much, Joyce! Wow, 99 and 3 months, that’s such a long life. You are right, they will remain in our hearts forever. xo

  14. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. As you talked about her it reminded me of my mom. She was a WWII warbride. She has deminia but is still living alone in her little apartment enjoying life. Are’nt we blessed to have such strong women as our moms. My prayers are with you and your family. Rejoice in Memories.

    1. Marsha, you are right, I am rejoicing in Memories. And you are so lucky to still have your own Mom!xo

  15. Oh Lidy I feel your pain, I’m so glad you spent the time with your mother. It’s so important to be with loved ones at certain times of their lives. My mother is going through the same thing and I want to be there for her. God bless you to you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Lori. I will keep your Mom and your family in my prayers, too! xo

    1. Thanks so much, Jill, she was…and lived quite a long life. xo

  16. Ruth Dickinson

    I am so sorry for your loss. This is the most beautiful tribute I have ever read. Thank you for sharing the wonderful woman that your Mother was. Praying for you and your family. (hugs)

    1. Thank you, friend. I especially thank you for your prayers…xo

  17. So sorry for your loss. What a lovely, heartfelt tribute to your remarkable mother! My mom is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s right now at age 84. Praying for comfort.

  18. Dear Lidy,
    How you will miss your mother. What a wonderful tribute you’ve written. Your mother sounds like a very gracious, loving woman. I am so glad she passed away at home, surrounded by the things and people she loved. Prayers for peace and comfort.

    1. Thank you Lorrie. I will miss her greatly, but she is in heaven and that is a great thing!

  19. That was just lovely. A beautiful tribute to your mother. My heart is with yours right now.

  20. Oh, Lidy. I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family. You wrote a wonderful tribute to her and I can see she was a remarkable, amazing woman. I know it brings you comfort that you were by her side when she passed and that she is at peace now.

    Take care and know that your many friends are thinking of you.


    1. Jane, thank you. I am so grateful for your friendship, and your prayers! xo

  21. Such a beautiful post and your Mother was a very beautiful person. I am so glad you and your husband were there with her. My prayers are with you and I am sorry for your great loss.

    1. Thank you, Sandy. I am glad we were able to be there too, God was so gracious to us! xo

  22. courtney

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your post was beautifully written and thank you for sharing with us. I pray for comfort and peace for you and your family.

  23. Roberta

    Just beautiful Lidy. A gentle reminder of how precious time is. I recently brought my 89 year old Mother to live with me at my little beach cottage…though I wasn’t sure how it would work out…I just knew that it would. A blessed decision.
    Thank you for sharing and God Bless You.

    1. Oh Roberta, I hope that the time you still have with your Mom is sweet! You are right, time is precious. xo

  24. Deepest sympathy on the passing of your mom, Lidy. She sounded like an admirable woman. I hope the many happy memories help ease the pain of your loss.

  25. Paula Stykel

    Such a wonderful tribute to your Mom. She was a great lady and so much fun to be with. She was so happy when she became a grandmother, she always talked about the girls and about you and your wonderful decorating skills. Thanks for sharing your story. Take care.

  26. Hello Lidy,
    I loved reading about your Mom, Annie. She sounds like an amazing lady and you were obviously very close. I immigrated to Santa Barbara in the same year as you and your Mom. Also from Holland, by way of Canada. My Mom passed away about 4 years ago. She was born in 1922. She also spoke several languages (self taught), as did my Dad.
    I think it is wonderful that you learned about antiques in Europe. It must have been in your blood. It is so European to love linens and pretty dishware along with making a lovely home. If you ever come Santa Barbara way, do look me up. I’d love to have a kopje koffie met een Hollands vrouwtje. Love your blog and store.

  27. So sorry to hear of your loss Liddy. She sounds like she was a very special woman. How fortunate she had you to be there, care for her, and share her days. Sending a hug

  28. I lost my mother last October. It is truly the saddest and hardest thing I have gone through. I am so glad that you were there for her, nothing is more important than your mother….My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  29. jane murray

    Am sitting here reading your lovely tribute to your mom, tears running down my cheeks. You are evidence of how special your mom was. A very special angel has been added to heavan.

    1. Thanks so much to all of you, for your heartfelt comments, emails and calls about my Mom. I so appreciate your condolences, and friendship. xoxo Lidy

  30. Thanks for sharing your Mom’s lovely tribute! Even while I’m reading it, I’m in peace! My grandma passed away few months ago and had the chance to travel and be with her during her lasts days. I’m glad you did too and have that feeling in your heart! We gave them our love and care… Still cry for her, and miss her calls and jokes, she is alive in my heart, I’m sure your Mom is too!
    My prayers are with you…

  31. Maria Figueroa_Luecht

    Dear Lidy,so sorry for your loss!I was touched and could sense your wonderful feelings for your mom. I know it’s never easy,there is only one mom. I lost mine when I was fourteen years old. You always say “write a beautiful story about your life” your life is example of a beautiful story and your mom made that possible. My prayers are with you and your family. A faithful follower and admirer, Maria Teresa Figueroa

  32. Lidy, What a strong beautiful tribute to a special Mom! You were truly blessed and have a lot of her in you. Thats a real gift. She’s always there and part of you. You too are quite a gift to all of us, Carol Curtis

  33. Carol, thank you. She is always in my heart, and sometimes I can hear her words in my head ( she did have a wicked sense of humor and said some pretty funny things!) ?

    She has such a good, long life, and was an inspiration. Xoxo

  34. Allison (Ali) HERRON

    Wow, what a super lady! Thanks for sharing and giving us all a jolt of wake up to love when you can…

    1. Allison, I totally agree! Love those that you DO whenever and always.

  35. Janet Anderson

    Hi, Lidy — What a life well-lived and a wonderful, concrete example of how to live it! Miss Annie is an example of embracing life with gusto, one that that I want to better emulate. I believe that I can be a better person, and Mother, from hearing about her. I’m so grateful for Miss Annie, her life, and her life lessons! Thank you for sharing.
    God bless you and yours, Lidy!
    Love, Janet

    1. Thank you Janet! She certainly knew how to keep the world on its toes! She was the assistant to the CEO of an international business for years, and she was the ONLY one who told him when to jump and how high. Even his legal team was afraid of her, I think. God bless you too, Janet. xo

  36. Kathy Hughes

    Lidy, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother, a most remarkable lady. She would love your beautiful tribute to her, her love for you, and her great character. I have a feeling you are very much like her?

    1. Kathy, thank you so much. Our Moms, we really don’t appreciate everything about them until we are much older, do we?

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