|Mary Flo Whalen, September 3, 1925-June 9, 2012|
Quite a life. We went to Billings, Montana this past weekend for a memorial mass and a celebration of Flo's life. Those of her children who could be there picked out her head stone, adorned with a cross to memorialize her faith, which meant so much to her and with the pine boughs of her beloved state. The inscription read, "Wonderful Mother of Ten." And was she ever. That meant so much to her. Ernie tells the story of one of her last stays in the hospital. The nurses asked her what they could write about her on the white board by her bed, and that was what she wanted everyone to know.
America is a big country and her children were spread from coast to coast. When she was in a position to visit them, she packed up her bags and off she went. Becky was in Iceland. Flo went to Iceland. Robert was in Israel. Flo went to Israel. Her knitting needles were never still and her grandchildren were the recipients of sweaters and hats and anything that could be knitted.
We drove to Montana with our children several times. Nebraska was long and flat, but what memories we have of South Dakota and the Black Hills. Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore became woven into our family lore. And when we were actually in Billings there were the obligatory trips to Little Bighorn, Red Lodge and Yellowstone. In later years we flew out to weddings and now to her memorial.
I'll miss her for so many reasons—not least writing letters to her. She loved receiving and writing letters and it is such a loss not to find mail from her in the mail box. As we prepare for another family celebration, we will lift our glasses high. What's a party without Flo and her lovely smile and a martini?