Oct 14 – Chrysalis, and “Goodbye Pooh” Twenty Years Ago

On Oct 14, 1995 my mom passed away. No other way to say it. I made it home just in time, on Friday, Oct 13, flying down from Hanover, NH. I’ll always be grateful for my coach (who, incidentally, announced his retirement today) urging me to skip taking the GRE’s and get home fast. I still remember my dad waking me up on the couch, where I barely slept, telling me that mom had stopped breathing. Wandering downstairs numb. Joining around my mom’s bed with my family, holding hands, and then watching my dad lunge forward, hugging my mom, crying out “Goodbye Pooh” – his nickname for her. A scene etched forever in my memory.

So I remember her today with two Foo Songs:

  1. Resolve. I resolve to do a few things to honor my mom from now on. Live every day with intentional zest. Honor commitments with family and friends. And never stop dreaming big no matter what but remembering to take joy in simple things and good books.
  2. These Days. To explain the significance of These Days, I’m re-posting an excerpt from the Lap42 blog launch: 

in the Foo Fighters concert in July, there was a point when I stopped feeling euphoric and connected to all the thrilled, chorus-chanting concert-goers and instead felt melancholy and pensive, suddenly alone with my own thoughts, remembering my mom and the mystery of death and what lies beyond. During the song “These Days,” with the line that one of these days your heart will stop and play its final beat, I found myself transported back in a breathless flashback to that October morning in Florida 1995 when my mom took her own final breath just after I had made it home from New Hampshire (Dartmouth College, my senior year) the previous evening. Perhaps the Foo Fighters aren’t the deepest of all bands, but that concert flipped a switch for me, giving me a sense of Resolve to live every day with passion and energy, not unlike Dave Grohl (playing to the sold out crowd with a broken leg, clearly loving what he does and how he lives his life as a genuine, authentic rockstar – and father).

Today’s Sunrise: 6:55 A.M. – Just before sunrise, I honored my mom with short walk in park and a cup of tea. Nope, mom, I still ain’t drinking coffee. Went to spot where I spent the final morning with Doah-dog back in October 2013. Beautiful early morning pre-dawn glow and planets / moon in sky. Came back and looked at the new altar.

grainy altar selfie

Had a really fun, simple morning with kiddos. Alana happily doing homework, so in a groove. Whipped together breakfast and lunches. Got out the door. Drove my kiddos to school. Enjoyed being all together in the same car, them singing in the back, Alana leading Mateo in falsetto imitation of Maroon Five’s Adam Levine. Took Mateo to class. Looked together at a chrysalis, thought about rebirth. Here’s a fuzzy picture of the classroom’s chrysalis:


Went to Peet’s. Enjoyed stroll through Harvard Square. Took train to Alewife.. Got off random way and wandered. I love to wander. Forget GPS and Google Maps. Ended up in Fresh Pond Apartments public housing with no way to cross the tracks, so just ambled back to street and fond my way to work, here in time at 9AM-ish. Ish 🙂 Could have been annoyed at waste of time, but it was cool to explore little pockets I didn’t know existed. Saw the bright red sumac in the Alewife wetlands, discovered an outdoor pool as part of the Russell Athletic Complex that I had no idea existed. Always amazed when I discover stuff even after having been in this town for 15 years. Like we did the day we went apple picking.

Wrote this on Facebook around noon:

Mom, twenty years gone but never really gone. I’ve thought about you every single day since October 14, 1995. As a parent and spouse, there have been so many times I’ve wished I could seek your advice in addition to the awesome counsel of Lawrence Kramer and wished I could share life’s events with you, take you to the highest mountaintops in Colombia, and tell you about my day. So lucky to have been raised by you. If I can be one tenth of the parent you were to me, my kids are going to be awesome. Thanks forever for giving me inspiration, strength, and resolve – plus true zest for life.Carolyn Kramer-Fountain & John P. Reed Here’s a small altar my amazing wife Carito Cali put together in our living room to honor you. The beer’s my addition just for you, though I know you prefer a stiff margarita 🙂

mom altar

After Cholly (my sister) wrote this:

Wow. I can’t believe you have been gone 20 years already Mom. I miss you still each & every day… Although some days are easier & some are still so hard. If I am really lucky I dream about you Time flies! With Lawrence Kramer & David Kramer & John P. Reed

mom great lady

Ended the day just after sunset (6:05 P.M. today, days are getting shorter fast!) with first run home from our new office. Felt buoyed by my mom’s memory. Blazed the eight miles home with energy and a feeling of real lightness under foot, singing the chorus of Resolve over and over in my head, winding along the Charles River and Boston’s Emerald Necklace. And finished the day off with this blog post and a double IPA beer for mom.

image (29)


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