Pam Peterson. 1943-2011

“Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot.” — Truman Capote

My mom, Pam Peterson, died yesterday morning at 8:16 AM.  She was 68 years old.

It was, ultimately, a quiet and peaceful death. It didn’t start that way — there was some real panic in her eyes that morning around 5:00 AM, when she just couldn’t catch her breath, and the meditation exercises we’d practiced several times (I’d look in her eyes and smile, hold her face and hands, put her feet on my thighs if I was kneeling at her bed, and lead her in rhythmic breathing until she calmed enough to gain her breath) weren’t working.  She was sweaty from cancer fevers and couldn’t get comfortable; she’d sit up and lay down, sit up and lay down, and finally got up a couple of times to go to the bathroom (I’m thankful, and I think so was she, that her dignity remained intact; she wouldn’t let me help her except to pull up her sweats when she was done).  By the second time, she had lost all her strength and nearly all mobility in her body, and Joe and I had to carry her to her bed and lay her there, adjusting the duvet and her pillows to make her as comfortable as we could.

I continued to look her in the eyes to try and calm her, and to try to breathe with her and get her through. We gave her an Ativan to lessen the anxiety, which had always helped in the past, but this time was different. When she ushered us out of the room for privacy and asked for the lights to be turned off, I knew that she knew. Mere days before, she told me she didn’t think she had long to live, and on the same day, a little later, she told her doctor she didn’t think she’d make it through January.

I didn’t leave, however.  I sat with her on the bed and held her hand (I’d gone through a lot with her, and I selfishly wanted to go through this, too) and ultimately pulled Joe back in the room so he could do the same.  Before he returned, I whispered to my mom, “you don’t have to work so hard anymore,” which seemed to make her frown. I didn’t want to tell her to “let go,”  in case it wasn’t time (and I certainly didn’t want to scare her or piss her off),  but I also wanted to let her know that it was okay if that’s what she wanted to do.  Her little body was “slowly breaking down” as the lyric goes, and I just wanted her to know that she didn’t have to suffer anymore.

We sat and watched her for the next hour as her body struggled for breath.  Joe sat on her left side. I sat on her right. She had a slight look of consternation on her face as her breathing turned to what sounded like a lion’s growl; this, of course, was the death rattle, the sound of fluids collecting in the airways. I really can’t tell you how long we sat there, just holding her hands. But Joe would kiss her on the forehead and cheek, and then so would I.  I’d tell her I loved her and whisper in her ear, like I had every night for weeks, that she was the best mom ever.  As the hour went on,  and her frail little body started to shut down, her eyes dilated and she continued to gasp for air. At some point, I noticed her eyes were open but she’d stopped blinking.  Her grip lessened. Her skin got cold.  Finally, her body stopped working altogether.  Her heart, which had been beating so fast mere hours before, stopped beating at all.  There were a few last gasps. Joe kissed her one last time, and then so did I. Quietly lying in bed, Mom passed away around 8:16 AM.

We never let go of her hands.

The rest of the day was an odd blur. Calls were made. First to Anette, my mother’s home aide, who’d developed a particular affection for mom on their very first day together (“Your mom hugged me with love the first day we met,” Anette told me. “I don’t get that from all my clients.”).  I called my mother’s doctor’s nurse, Patty, who had been a godsend, and had felt particular affection for mom the bittersweet day we all met and was there for every call or concern or hospital visit (“I’ve been doing this a long time — and I don’t usually get too close to patients, because I wouldn’t have a husband or life if I did,” she said.  “But your mom was special. I could tell — she had a lot of dignity and class.”).  My mother’s sister-in law, my aunt Karen, immediately hopped on a plane and flew out from Denver. My best friend for 20 years, Trevor James, who was like a second son to Mom, came up to sit with is for a couple of hours with me and Joe and say goodbye.  Barbara, the home hospice nurse, came to declare her deceased but couldn’t arrive until almost 11:45 AM, and we had a terrific conversation about family, death, and forgiveness. We called a local funeral home (although initially I had no idea how to do this — I mean, do you just “Yelp” funeral homes? But Joe’s idea was to keep it in the neighborhood and we lucked out and Googled a very reputable one barely five blocks away) and some very sweet undertakers were able to pick mom’s body up soon after, a little after 12:30 PM or so.

It was just the right amount of time to be with her. I didn’t want the undertakers to cart Mom’s body away immediately; I knew this was the last time I’d ever be able to touch her or hold her hands or kiss her forehead or stroke my fingers on her always soft cheek, and I knew how important it would be to have that bit of extra time to imprint those sensations on my memory.

(As a quick aside — just a few days before, in the early afternoon, I was with Mom in her room while she lay there dozing, weak and uncomfortable.  I would often sneak into the room just to kiss her or tell her I loved her, usually waking her as I did.  Sometimes I irritated her, but that afternoon, she smiled her big grin smile and asked if I would like to crawl into bed with her.  I tentatively said yes (I was really quite afraid of hurting her) and she pulled the blankets back. And I got to curl up with her behind her, and lay my head on her right shoulder and wrapped my arm around her now-tiny little torso — and I napped like a little kid for about half an hour.  The best nap ever, I’d say.)

Before Barbara arrived, Joe suggested I take a minute to clean up and take a shower. I’m glad he did.  The minute the water started, I cried. Wailed. Released. It was the kind of crying that’s actually very frightening emotionally; the kind of crying that comes from a well of sorrow so deep that it makes you think, “if I truly give into this, I’ll never, ever be able to stop.”

I cried like that a couple of times yesterday.

Joe cried, too.  It’s always a little hard seeing Joe cry, because he’s such a jovial, good-natured man, a natural comedian and prankster, and laughter is always his default. So when he cries — truly cries, like he did yesterday — I know that it, too comes from a place deep and powerful and heartfelt.  He was an angel to Mom, and I’m so, so glad he was there, and that he, too, was holding Mom’s hand when she died.

More phone calls to friends and loved ones were made, including one to my grandmother — whose husband of nearly 50 years died of emphysma six months before (it was probably lung cancer, too, and Mom had, in a twisted bit of irony, been one of her step-father’s primary caregivers).  Famished after the exhausting morning, Joe and I finally had lunch. Paperwork was signed (albeit by a very sweet but nervous young lady at the funeral home, who misspelled almost everything she wrote down). Arrangements were made for cremation. By 4:00 PM, we were headed back downtown from Inwood to meet up with Karen. Not long after that, Joe, Karen, and I were joined by some of our closest friends at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame — people who knew Mom and loved her, and whom she loved in return — for an impromptu tribute to the woman we all affectionately called Pam! (yes, with the exclamation point). Much margarita drinking ensued. Poor Joe has suffered much of today because of it.

My mother was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska in October 1943, at the height of World War II, to an 18 year old girl whose husband ultimately left her for another woman and another family.  For much of my mother’s life she was rejected and abandoned by people that were supposed to care for her and she was shuttled around from home to home to be raised by various relatives while my grandmother sought out a husband that would last (third time was the charm) and her own happiness.  My mother and grandmother (and step-grandfather) moved to southern California in the early 1960’s (mother had started smoking by then — her first puff was age 11), and Mom’s unhappy childhood, full of rebellion and unrequited yearning for acceptance, approval, and love, continued under the blazing heat of the CA sun.  When she had me (and I believe she and her parents were not speaking when I was born), she worked every day from then on — as a single mother, mind you — to make sure that I did not experience the kind of childhood she did. She had so much love in her heart, and she gave everything she could to me — every bit of it — every day of my life.

She certainly wasn’t perfect (no human being is), and we had our fights (some of ’em big), but she made sure I grew up housed, fed, clothed, educated — and more importantly, she made sure to nurture my talents (she wanted to be an artist, but was discouraged from such pursuits by her parents and boyfriends), and she made sure I knew I was loved every day and every night.  Everything good that has happened to me — everything I’ve accomplished — I blame on her. And in many ways, these accomplishments were about honoring her — they were about saying that her love and time and respect and care meant something.  That I didn’t take it for granted. That her son succeeded in NYC and worked in comic books and on movies, and was on TV, and won awards, and had lunch at the White House at an event hosted by Michelle Obama, for God’s sakes — because she made it possible for me to do so. She gave me the love and confidence she never had as a kid. I was going to make sure she knew that she changed lives because of her efforts.  That her love mattered.

When several years ago, after a bitter divorce, I encouraged Mom to move to NYC and she did, I secretly decided it would be my duty to make sure that her time here was magical. With the help of Joe and Trevor and so many others, it was the absolute best time of her life. Here, in NYC, she was enveloped in the love, kindness, and devotion of a dozen “children” — all of them her kids, even though many had mothers of their own. She was graced with new friends her own age —  peers, who sweetly loved her in a way I’d never seen my adult life; women who Mom could socialize and travel with, women who thought mom was an absolute breath of fresh air. I’ve always said that NYC made me who I am, but now, I can say that it made Mom who she became, and I love this city even more because her essence now permeates it. She loved it here, and she was loved here, and I couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful for a woman who longed for that kind of compassion and unequivocal acceptance almost her entire life to finally receive it, and from so many, so genuinely.

I had a wonderful dream last night. It was quite vivid, and  in the “third person” — the dream was not through  my eyes, because I could see myself in it.  Not long before my mother was diagnosed with cancer, she was supposed to go on a three week-long cruise through the Mediterranean. She planned this trip for two years and saved for just as long; this would have been her dream voyage finally come to life. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene hit NYC the day she was supposed to leave and Mom was trapped in town and never got to go on her trip of a lifetime.   It was a huge letdown for her, although her travel agent quickly rescheduled her for the next cruise in the spring (she kept this cruise as the “carrot” to work for when she first got diagnosed; only in the past week or two did she realize that she wasn’t going to make it).

So anyway, this dream: It started in Mom’s bedroom as she died. I sat next to her, as did Joe. In my dream, my mom’s spirit quickly rose from her body.  It didn’t have legs; it was more like a genie, with a wonderful tail of ether swooshing beneath her (she’d lost those clumsy legs of hers, finally). There was no maudlin lingering for Mom’s spirit in the room (she had things to do, after all), and she quickly kissed me and Joe goodbye before zipping over Inwood — her NYC neighborhood — darting between tree  branches with her arms stretched wide,  flying fast and free into the blue sky while the golden sun drenched her face.

When she emerged from the clouds (again, this is the way I dream — it’s all very cinematic), Mom’s spirit was above the waters of the Mediterranean and above her cruise ship.  She zoomed down and boarded the boat and essentially joined the crew; she was going to be the friendly ghost on this boat, making sure hapless travelers found their lost luggage and their misplaced jewelry; ensuring  potential lovers “stumbled onto” each other in the moonlight on the Promenade deck; secretly encouraging young kids to draw, or take pictures, or create with confidence; and, of course, zipping off at each port to take in the wonders of southern Europe on her own each time the ship docked.

I have no idea if that’s what actually happened to her soul; if this my mind processing her death through my dreams, or if it was Mom ‘s spirit  letting me know that she was all right and where she’d be going. But I love the idea of this wonderful, sweet, guileless, and maybe even slightly klutzy ghost of a girl  — who made her way from Scottsbluff, NE all the way to Inwood, NYC — taking care of all those passengers, and sightseeing the world for eternity. And when I think of her now, even sitting here typing all this, I grin, because that would make her so happy.

I have so much to say and nothing else to say.  In the end, my mom was amazing. I couldn’t get enough of her kisses and her hugs. I will miss them every day. And I will miss holding her hand terribly, because it was the most wonderful, comforting feeling in the world to me. When she smiled it made everything in my life better. She was funny and kooky and a goof and she had the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known.  She was compassionate and sensitive and hopeful, and everything that’s wonderful in my life I owe to her —  because she worked so hard to give me everything. Because she worked so hard to be so good.

She was my Mom.

She was love.

Pam Peterson ( October 17, 1943- December 30, 2011)

81 thoughts on “Pam Peterson. 1943-2011

  1. I wishe the best to you and your family in this moment

    • Pat Albanese says:

      tThanks for sharing what an amazing life she had and what a tribute you are to her . We (Dr Azzoli’s team) are happy you allowed us to care for her.. You were amazing from the beginning right through the very end.

      we never had a chance to talk about you but I would love to see some of your artwork. do you have a website. It sounds like you are pretty amazing professionally and I know you are an incredible person Patty (Dr Azzoli’s nurse)

      Keep in touch

  2. Jeff Jensen says:

    Phil — Thinking of you, heartbroken for you, moved and inspired by your lovely, powerful words here. Hope to speak with you soon. — Jeff Jensen

  3. eric blyler says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Phil, and Joe, too. Thank you for writing such an amazing post in your grief. I’ll be thinking of you guys.

  4. Mike Verble says:

    Mr. Jimenez,

    Your words touched me and brought tears to my face. At the young age of 40, I have lost both my parents and partner of 10 years to long-term illnesses so I can relate. I hope you get to the place where the goal is not to get by but to thrive. Therapy works wonders for me but it took a while for me to be ready for it. Know that tonight, the fireworks light the sky in her honor and the sun will shine tomorrow for you and Joe.

  5. I have no words. Only tears. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so sorry for your loss but so happy to know, through your words, the kind of mother she was, the endearing friend she was, the wonderful woman she was.

  6. sonofbaldwin says:

    I only met your mom three times, but that was enough to know that everything you’ve said here is absolutely true. And we will all miss her terribly. My condolences.

  7. Dee says:

    My deepest Sympathy.

  8. Phil — she sounds like a terrific person. I wish I could have met her. But, of course, she’s known by what she produced, a great guy and a real gentleman. My mom was taken from us under similar circumstances. (And by an odd coincidence, my sister was born the day after your mom.) Our deepest condolences, and fond thoughts are with you.

  9. Frank says:

    A very moving tribute to your mother. My thought are with you.

  10. Ramzi Karim says:

    My sincerest condolences. She lives in you.

  11. ridor says:

    Phil, my mom is 66. And her health is slowly declining. There will be a day I’ll have to face like you did with your mother. Reading your article made me cry a little. I hope I will do the same with Mom that you did for your Mom — to ease, comfort and love her until the very last day. Thank you, Phil, for sharing this with me and others. Now I gotta get off and wash my face so my Mom won’t see me like this.

    Great article. Except for one thing: I’m sure you Mom died in 2011, not in 2010. Right? I think your title is wrong. I’m happy Pam brought you in this world so that your artworks can be appreciated by millions of readers like myself. Thank you, Pam.


  12. This is beautiful, Phil. Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. barbara haspiel says:

    I never met your mom but boy were you, and she two very lucky loving people. I think she is more than resting in peace. She is still flying high.

  14. John Boman says:

    Very moved by this piece Phil. Your Mum was obviously a special lady and thanks for letting all of us get to know her.. That dream you had sure seemed very real to me. Take care!

  15. Tanya says:

    We are so sorry. I sit here crying as I type this, thank you for sharing. There really are no good words for a time like this. Just know you are in our thoughts.

  16. Veronica Castro says:

    I’m so sorry for you lost dear friend, Your word brought me to tears aand the words were stunning and beautiful, I met your mom so long ago, and she was a whoot along with your grandma. I loved your dream and I truley believe it when you say that it might be her spirit I think your right, take care, and God Bless you.

  17. Reblogged this on danyfantombeast and commented:
    I’ll let the man speak for himself…

  18. Bill Drummonds says:

    As a son who lost his much-loved mother a few years ago under similar circumstances I want you to know my heart is with you. That Pam! loved, accepted, honored, respected and liked you without reservations is a testimony to your own qualities as a human. How wonderful that you were able to see her off with love and dignity… From experience, I know your grief will last a while, and may seem to strike at you when least expected. Take that grief as your continuing “good-bye” to your mother, and embrace her with your heart.

    Thank you for your sharing,
    Bill Drummonds

  19. I hope your mother rests in peace, Phil. While her death is but heartbreaking for not only you but also your fans, her memory of her being the beautiful and compassionate woman you described will be everlasting and unforgettable. While our time our earth is sadly limited, our legacy and impact that we rippled across the hearts, minds, and very souls of the people we’ve met in our time here will last an eternity.

  20. Pete says:

    A beautiful and touching tribute to your mom. I am so grateful to have had the chance to know and adore her during her time in NYC. Her love and grace always shined through. She will be missed. Much love to you and Joe.

  21. Kelly says:

    God rest her soul and bring peace to you and yours, Phil.

  22. rey beltran says:

    hi phil! i know the sadness of losing a mother too, especially if you’re really, really close to her. she’s in a better place now. my condolonces to you and your family.

  23. Joel1965 says:

    My thought are with you at this time…having lost both my parents (my father in 1990 to liver cancer & my mother in 2004 to alzheimers), my heart is with you. And when my mother died, I knew all too well that deep emotional cry you had experience…when it came out of me, I thought it would splinter the trees & shatter the windows in houses miles away.

  24. Anthony Lower says:

    Hello Phil,
    We don’t really know one another so I hope this isn’t an intrusion. For me, losing one’s mother is the single most difficult event in one’s adult life. Reading your words brought so much detail back. There were so many parallels in your mom and my mom’s cancer stories.

    So first, I’d like to express my most sincere condolences to you and your family. And though you seem to be in a good place, in case you’re being brave and strong externally know that though it seems impossible to fathom now, the pain of this monumental loss will subside but none of the wonderful memories and feelings of knowing your mom ever will.

    When I lost a special friend to AIDS back in the 1980, I always joked that he pulled a lawn chair up to the edge of the clouds in heaven, pulled out a 6-pack and sat there looking down at us, giving acerbic color commentary on the actions in the rest of our lives as a way to entertain him self till his friends joined him later. When my mom, who I will from now on refer to as Nan!, passed, I imagined him setting up a special chair for her next to his and handing her a glass of wine. I just said a special prayer that Nan! will set up a chair for Pam! and share a toast with her welcoming her and praising her for a job well done in raising a terrific son and a life well led.

    Take care, Anthony

  25. Bridget says:

    Thank you for sharing Pam’s! Story with us. You have touched our heart’s and our soul’s.
    A candle has been lit for her life and one for your continued life. You and Joe have done good. As ever.

  26. Amy says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Phil. I remember you speaking fondly of your mother when you and Joe were so gracious to show us the sights in NYC on our visit in March, 2010. I knew then how much you loved her. And I was so moved by the wonderful words and thoughts you have shared here. You are an amazing man and we certainly have an amazing woman to thank for that. Thank you for sharing this, it has touched others and myself and I hope you find it cathartic. You, Joe, your family and loved ones are in my thoughts and I pray you will find strength in each other. My deepest sympathies to you all. Much love-Amy

  27. Sharky says:

    A beautiful tribute to your mother… I hope every parent knows such a child’s love.

    My deepest condolences to you and your loved ones.

  28. Bill Walko says:

    Phil, I never met your mom (now always Pam! to me), but I feel as if I do know her through the vibrant stories told here. She’s lucky to have such a thoughtful and caring son! My deepest condolences to you and your family.

  29. j.bone says:

    Dearest Phil,
    Your writing, and your strength and love are So powerful. I know my tears are nothing compared to yours but here they are running down my cheeks at a Starbucks in Montreal. Take care of yourself and I look forward to seeing you again.
    Lots of love,

  30. Dearest Phil… I never knew your mom, but she must have been extraordinary because I do know the amazing son she raised. I am deeply saddened and sorry for your loss. I send you love and hugs from far away. I have been through this with both parents, so I am always here to listen if you need it. ❤

  31. Stefan Blitz says:


    Ten months ago I lost my dad and I’m sitting here with tears running down my face reading your amazing words about your even more amazing mother.

    Wishing you and yours my condolences, my thoughts and strength during this new year.

  32. Joe Palmer says:

    Dear Phil,
    You have my condolences and empathy on the death of your mother. Thank you for sharing an incredibly personal and poignant event and the grace, love, and dignity you gave are acts to which we can admire and aspire to have the strength in our own lives.


  33. Holger Rudolph says:


  34. Dear Phil:

    We have never met and I am not familiar with your work, but my best friend of some two decades is. He’s a pretty big fan and has actually met you at a comics convention. Because of my own recent experiences, he thought I would get something out of reading this entry in your blog, and he could not have been more correct.

    We lost my mom on the morning of December 15th, after she struggled with Stage 4 lung cancer that had been diagnosed approximately a month earlier. She was also a nearly decade-long breast cancer survivor, and when it tried to return previously as lung cancer the first time, she bravely beat it back. This time, however, she decided on her own that enough was enough, and declined to have anymore chemo, radiation or other treatments. She was tired out, and I believe she was more than ready to go.

    Because I live with my partner in another city, I did not have the same kind of experience you did with your mom’s passing. My ‘baby’ sis did, however, which I guess was more than fitting. She had been my mom’s live-in companion and caregiver, and is a breast cancer survivor herself.

    I have cried – I thought I would just break in half the morning that the call came. But I don’t know that I’m finished grieving yet, and it doesn’t feel as if I will ever be done. Though we didn’t talk on the phone as often as we could have (I take the blame for that), the only person in this world who is closer to me than my mom was is my partner, and the world simply feels like a stranger, emptier place without her in it.

    I am only now just beginning to come across those moments when it really hits me how much I will miss her – hearing a great song, laughing at something stupid or ridiculously funny, having a flashback to a memory that I haven’t reflected on in years, and knowing that now I can’t ever call her again and tell her about it, or send her an email, or make plans to go see her, keeping in mind all the conversations we’d have about how we’d been doing.

    Hearing that someone has lost a loved one – especially people who are close to you – is usually such an awkward thing. You want to express your condolences and you want to seem sincere when you do it, trying to avoid the usual cliches like being “sorry for someone’s loss” or telling them what “a blessing it was that they didn’t suffer.”

    It’s a whole different story, though, when it’s your turn and you come face-to-face, not only with the issue of facing life without someone whom you always thought would be there, but with the concept of mortality itself – yours as well as those around you.

    The thing about the beautiful piece you have written to honor her that strikes me the most, though, is a sense of still looking back and celebrating who your mom was, and who she will always be to you. This is something that has provided me and my family with a sense of comfort as well, and if we share anything from our similar losses, it’s most definitely that.

    Getting through this Christmas and New Year’s without “Ma” is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my adult life, but in many ways, I’ve been feeling as if a part of her is still here. I love to cook and I’ve always been able to do it well, but in the past couple of weeks I think I’ve done some of the best cooking in many years. I get the sense that her spirit is there with me in my kitchen, standing just behind me and giving me the right kind of nudges at the right time, encouraging and also advising when to put in a bit more spice, lower or raise the heat, or get those cookies out of the oven at ‘just the right time.’

    Sorry to prattle on and on like this, but I just wanted to share as hopefully a kindred spirit as a proud and self-identified “mama’s boy.” My father may have had his role in “making me”, but if I can be regarded as any kind of a remarkable human being, I give all the props for that to “Ma”, as you do likewise for yours. There is no way I could be who I am today without her, and I hope that is enough of a tribute for everything she did.

    Sam Glass Jr.
    Vienna, VA

    • Sam,

      I’m really, really glad you “prattled on.” I, too, am a big ol’ momma’s boy, and I called Mom “Ma” and “Mamma” a lot as she got older. I really am truly, terribly sorry for your loss this year. For what it’s worth, my mom taught me how to make her famous potroast on Christmas Eve, and that little exchange/gift is something I’ll cherish forever (especially because one thing I did NOT inherit from her is her ability to cook. 🙂 ).

      I can already feel that strange emptiness you describe, and my feeling is that it’s going to linger forever. My hope is that it will not seem so intense in the months and years to come, but my guess is that our terrestrial lives are going to feel a little less full with our mothers. But I figure that the more good we do in the world, the more we can honor “Ma,” (both of them), and make sure that what who they were, the love they represented, is never, ever far away.

      Happy New Year, Sam. Thank you for sharing.


  35. Charlaine Jensen says:

    Phil-we’re so very sorry for your loss and so moved by this lovely tribute to your mom.Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May the loving memories bring you comfort.

    Tom & Charlaine Jensen–(Jeff’s mom & dad)

  36. Marlene Driscoll says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. It was so powerfully written and profound. I wish I could be there with you, to hold you and share in your grief. Pam! made the world more lovely, both on her own and through you. What an amazing achievement. I am moved to tears both by your loss and the beauty of the love you surrounded her with during her passing. And Joe, you are an angel. I love you both.

    • If there’s anyone in my life who knows what this is like, it’s you. For almost three decades, you’ve been one of the most divine beings in my life. I’m really glad I got to share this with you. Love your son, Marlene. It’s the best thing you’ll ever do in the whole world. See you soon, old friend. I love you. 🙂 xoxo

  37. David Branson says:

    Hugs and prayers, Phil.


  38. Aidan Lacy says:

    We have never met. I have admired your work. I work as a Hospital Chaplain and see people take their first breath and last breath. They are profoundly spiritual moments . I often get goosebumps as we touch Eternity but people often forget that equally profound is every breath we take in between the first and last ones. From your account of getting your Mum to breathe through her aniexty to bring her to NYC to live life in new and exciting ways, you brought grace, goodness & love to thousands of breaths/moments in her life. That is a powerful gift.
    May flights of angels guard/guide her to the place where lost things are found, broken things are mended and only everything that is Good & Loving exists and remains.
    I felt that hurt when my Mum passed. I now know that there is a connection between the depth of sorrow and the pain you experience and the depth of love, you don’t get one without the other. You have my prayers, my sympathy and admiration. These life and death moments shape us. And the tears are only honest prayers that like Love, go way beyond Words.

    • Thank you, Aidan. And thank you for doing the work you do. Incredible. More people should be like you.

      • Aidan Lacy says:

        Its a thread of giving and recieving and we are all part of it. Love is the strongest force in the Universe..not even Death can stop it. Speaking of Thank you’s..I owe you one. Not just for your art which brings enjoyment and a little bit of escapisim,.but for a one page editorial you did at the end of the Tempest mini-series, where you spoke about your relationship with Neal. That encouraged me to have some very honest and good conversations with people in my life. One other suggestion. You know the power of art..maybe for yourself ( not for others ) you could try putting the Cruise Dream you had about your Mum on paper with pen and ink.

  39. Martin Gray says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mother, Phil. She sounds to have been a star, and you obviously loved one another very much.

    My mam, Marie, died three years ago and I’ve never known a loss like it. But your mother’s love will sustain you, and I believe you’ll meet again.

    Love to you and yours.

  40. Anthony Arfuso says:

    My sincerest as well heartfelt condolences, thoughts and prayers to you, your loved ones and your friends on the truly saddening loss of your loving mom, Phil.

  41. Diane Nelson says:

    Every mother dreams of a tribute like this from a son who loves her the way you do. She was a lucky woman. I’m so sorry for your pain and loss, Phil.
    With love,

    • Thank you, Diane. I can guarantee that sometime in the future, a long, long time from now, when your sons write at tribute to you, it will be just as loving and sincere and heartfelt.

      You are wonderful.

  42. Colin Mathura-Jeffree says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Love and Hugs from New Zealand

  43. Micah Mann says:

    So beautiful.

    Much love, Phil.

  44. Chris Rosa says:

    This piece was incredible – I’m going to call my mother right after I finish writing this comment. I send all my love to you and your family.

    Chris Rosa

  45. Anna choe says:

    My deepest condolences to you, Joe and your family. I know I have no words that could comfort you, but you’re in our thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your loss and am deeply moved by your love for your mom.


  46. Dan Pepitone says:

    That story was so beautiful, Phil – I’m so glad that there are awesome people like you, Joe and your mom around. You are definitely in my thoughts.

  47. Vincent Forestiere says:


    You wrote such beautiful, loving words about your mother. I am sorry for your loss. In a time when there are no words to describe the pain and suffering, you managed to create such an inspiring tribute. Thank you for writing about this experience.

    If you need a good laugh, I would be happy to struggle through another Power Strike class with you…I have been practicing my back kicks. Please let me know if you need anything and hope to see you soon.



  48. Pam Klein says:

    It’s very clear that Pam was a great and wonderful mother….look at the son she produced! My deepest condolences to you and Joe.

  49. Maggie Murphy says:

    Phil: I’ve known your mom for 2 years since the day she held a UPS package for me shortly after I moved in. I was grateful she had, since it was a laptop and might have disappeared from the package room in the basement. We often met leaving in the morning to go to work, but she never seemed to be involved in any of the socializing a lot of us in this bldg do, so I never got to know her too well, but from the first minute, she struck me as so nice, bright, ladylike and probably lots of fun. I think I was as sorry as she was when that darn hurricane came and she couldn’t fly to Europe to get on the cruise ship. I know she was looking forward to doing it in the spring. Your writing is beautiful. She did a great job being your Mom.

    Maggie Murphy
    Apt. 2F

  50. laura glanger says:

    so sorry — your wound must be very deep. there is nothing in the whole wide world like a loving mother. nothing. the hurt will never leave you. however, she has obviously raised a sweet and empathetic human being. a great achievement. shalom. laura

  51. Beth Watson says:

    Phil, I am so very sorry for your loss. My warmest regards to you and your family during this trauma and beyond. Your blog is beautiful. Your mother lives on in you. Love, Beth Watson

  52. Phil and Joe,

    I cried like a baby reading this, because I am fortunate enough to know what incredibly loving and wonderful people you are personally. My heart and thoughts and prayers go out to the both of you during this time. I wish you a peaceful grieving process and if you ever just need to talk, vent, cried on my shoulder. It’s totally available.

    Love you both, T-L.

  53. Diane Bell says:


    I enjoyed working with your mom. We use to close the door to my office and giggle like little girls. We had our secrets. I always felt we were on the same wave length. She was a very special person. The last thing we said to each other days before she died was I love you. I will miss her very much.

    Diane Bell

    • Diane,

      I think she’d be thrilled that this was your first response to a blog. She adored you, and was so grateful to you, Peter, Mali, and everyone else for your generosity and kindness the past few months. We’ll talk soon, okay?


  54. Val Gilliam says:

    Phil-I lost my father to lung cancer in 2003. There is nothing more horrible than to watch a loved one deteriorate from this disease whereever it strikes. I wish you, and your family and most especially your mother were spared this pain and know that many out there understand and light candles in her, and so many others’, names.

  55. Matthew Sutton says:

    oh Phil–

    My heart breaks for you and your loved ones…. Reading the lovely post and tribute to your Mom brought tears to my eyes. Like my Dad, she left too young, just much too young.

    Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers in this time of sorrow.


  56. Aidan Lacy says:

    Just keeping you in thoughts & prayers.
    One step at a time, one breath at a time, one tear at a time, one good memory at a time.All part of a road of healing .

  57. Frank Smith says:

    Phil, I really just want to give you a huge hug. And Joe, even though I haven’t met him. My thoughts are with you.

  58. theillumiNerdi says:

    We are so sorry for your loss. We send our prayers to you and your family!

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