My Mom

Today, we buried my mother. My father asked me to write this obituary for him and my mother a few years ago. This appeared in an edited version, but I am posting it at its full length.

Mom in the mid-1950s

On July 26, 1937, Barbara was born on a farm outside of Pinehurst, North Carolina to Pete and Gladys Faircloth. She grew up mostly in Moore County, except for a few years during World War II, when her family moved to Wilmington so that her father could work in the shipyards. While a student at Pinehurst High School, she was a cheerleader and began dating her future husband when they were both in the tenth grade. In 1955, she graduated from high school and later that summer, three days after she turned 18, she married Charles Albert Garrison. The couple would have four children, Charles Jeffrey (1957), Warren Albert (1958), Sharon Kay (1959) and David Thomas (1966). After having children, she no longer worked outside of the home, but occasionally kept children for others, which also provided her own children with additional playmates. Barbara was a devoted mother who was willing to sacrifice much for her children. Her strength was evident early on, when she maintained sanity throughout a summer in the early 1960s when her three children (all under the age of five) experienced mumps, measles, and chicken pox in a manner of months.

My mother, Barbara Jean Faircloth Garrison died on October 4, 2020.   She loved her husband Charles, all children, and cleanliness. She taught her children to respect all people, insisted they attend church even when on vacation, and to always travel with Lysol (and this was pre-COVID). She loved to laugh and had a huge heart that accepted everyone. She loved birds and flowers and all of God’s creation (with the sole exception of snakes). She leaves behind her husband of 65 years, four children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren along with many nephews and nieces. Her parents and two sisters (Betty Ann and Clara) preceded her in death.

In 1963, the family moved to Petersburg, Virginia and in 1966, to Wilmington, North Carolina. Barbara would live most of the rest of her life in Wilmington. She loved the beach.  In the late 1970s, she joined her older children in college, but after a year put her studies on hold as she moved with her husband and younger son to Japan. Returning to Wilmington, she continued her studies and graduated with a social work degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 1985. She worked in this field for a few years but quit when she realized it kept her from traveling with her husband for his work.  She and Charles again moved overseas in the late 1990s, to Korea, coming back to Wilmington to retire.  Her love for children was seen with her volunteer work while overseas. In Japan, she taught English in an orphanage, and while in Korea taught English to children at a program in Korean churches.  After her children left home, Barbara became more active volunteering at Cape Fear Presbyterian Church, where she served as a Deacon and as a leader of the Young-at-Hearts program.

In the summer of 2005, just before she and Charles celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Over the next few years, her memories began to fade. Her husband cared for her at home until 2014, when she moved into Autumn Care of Myrtle Grove.

The family would like to thank all the care givers who tended to Barbara’s care during the last years of her life.  A private graveside memorial service will be held at Oleander Memorial Gardens, officiated by the Rev. Jonathan Watson, Pastor of Cape Fear Presbyterian Church.

40 Replies to “My Mom”

  1. I’m sorry I missed seeing this earlier. So sorry for your loss, Jeff. She sounds like a wonderful woman. I know she raised a terrific son (you)!

  2. I’m behind on my blog reading, so just now seeing this. So sorry to hear about your mom, Jeff. As someone else said, it’s difficult to lose a parent at any time. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Sorry about your mom. This is a beautiful obituary. My grandma and step-grandma both had Alzheimer’s and spent the ends of their lives in memory care homes. Watching them lose their memoires was difficult.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jeff. I enjoyed learning more about your family through this obituary. You did a wonderful job Writing this and I’m happy your parents had such a long marriage, despite the final years of Alzheimer’s.

    My Dad passed away two years ago on Sunday. I’ve wanted to write a post about him, but I honestly haven’t had the emotional energy to do it.

    1. 65 years is a long time. I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. I think this was easier as my Dad asked me to write these obituaries a couple years ago.

  5. I’m so sorry to hear this, Jeff! My heart goes out to you. Losing a mother is a wrenching event. She is in a better place now. Your obituary is a lovely tribute to her. Wishing you and your family comfort in joyful memories of her and in God’s love.

  6. It is grievous to watch a vital, beloved, and loving mother gradually close up within herself. I hate dementia. What a comfort to know she is with the Lord and fully herself, forever young. But for you, I know there is sadness, and I am sorry for your loss, Jeff.

    1. Thanks, Terri. I still remember the shock of when I heard of your Mom’s death. Your mother’s death was so quick and mine so long, but neither are easy. Blessings, Cuz!

  7. My condolences on the passing of your mother. I am deeply sadden at the loss of such a beautiful human being. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

  8. What a lovely obituary and tribute to your mother! Please accept my sincere sympathy, Jeff. Losing our mothers is difficult at any point in life.

  9. What a beautiful testimony to your mom, Jeff. My condolences for your loss. I pray God’s deepest comfort to you and your family. Sandy

  10. Dear Jeff– We called it “the long good-bye.” You spent 15 years saying good-bye to your mother. Jessie only lasted about eight or ten years and there were some lovely times in there. Don’t ever let the difficulty of the end erase the beauty of the core of your treasury. Your mother died on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi; what a bookend for your personal journey through appreciation and preservation of the natural world. I know you will miss the sea. There is so much to treasure everywhere in wildness. I hope you soon find your sanctuary in a personal wild place along the untamed areas of your new parish.

    1. Thank you, Mary. Francis of Assisi loved animals, and is often seen with birds, and my mother loved her feathered friends, too.

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