In Loving Memory of Barbara Doerfler
June 8th, 1933 – May 8th, 2022
Hit the jump to learn more about the most wonderful Mother a family could ever have
My apologies, but I have been a bit aloof for the last couple of months while my family and I have been dealing with some sad news. In late March we learned that my Mother’s cancer had returned. After consultations with numerous doctors Mother came to terms with her condition and made the decision to let God’s plan play out.
Over seven years ago Mom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The medical community consensus gave her months to live. Clearly those experts didn’t realize what a fighter she was. Undeterred, she fought back, never letting it dampen her spirits and never letting us feel sorry for her.
Ever since my Father passed away in Sept 2019 (link here), Mom has lived independent until the final weeks. Although my brothers and I were always just a phone call away, she always took it upon herself to complete whatever task was awaiting or address any situation on her own. I don’t know how many times we had to tell her to stay off the ladder, not to mention the shock when we found out she went and got a chainsaw to deal with some limbs that were annoying her. Our attempts to get her to slow down were always done knowing full well the minute we were not looking she was going to “take care” of it.
She was a product of the times. Strong, free-willed and loved life to the fullest. Just like her husband, my Father, she was always there for us and fully committed to her family. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for my brothers and I – always putting her children first, insuring we had everything we needed and, as my brothers like to say, everything I ever wanted.
Both my parents committed to making sure we were ready for whatever life would throw at us. Dad made sure we were tough enough to take on any challenge, street smart to get through any situation and sure as hell wasn’t going to let any of us fall short of being the very best we could.
There wasn’t any crying or feeling sorry for ourselves when we were growing up. I am certain Dad was assured that Mom was always there to step in, secretly help us hide our tears, comfort us, get us back on our feet and ready for the next lesson.
Most important, she was always there on the spot to apply the band-aid, soothe the scrapes and ice the bruises. Dad instilled in us that you play to win, compete with your teammates to achieve an objective and always test yourself so you know what barriers you need to overcome. I could never imagine any other way and regret never taking the opportunity to tell him just how much I appreciate him for doing that.
However, that was only successful because we had such a strong Mother. She knew when to let us fall and she knew when we needed help getting back up. Never too early and never too late. She believed in us and loved us with every fiber of her being. I can still remember the expertly applied bandages, deftly keeping us oblivious to the degree of blood loss (how do I miss that these days ha) and standing firm when the doctors gave her crap because she let me have a skateboard or brushing off unwelcome judgements with “they’re just being boys”.
l am sure Mom would have loved to have a daughter to help tip the scales in her favor, but she was up to the task with what she had and understood true love is having the strength to let us learn from our mistakes.
We are not a family that openly expresses our feelings toward each other. This was not representative of a lack of love or commitment – rather just the opposite. It was so evident in our parent’s actions, the way they treated each other, the manner in which they cared for my brothers and I was the concrete proof – no words were ever needed and honestly, could never adequately express how we really felt.
As a bit of background, my two brothers are 9 and 10 years older than I am. Note, I used to think that was a huge gap until I met my wife who is 17 and 20 years younger than her two brothers. I think there is some kind of warning that’s given when two babies of the families marry – in our case that is definitely amplified by our lengthy age gaps ha. What this meant for me is that I benefit from the best of both worlds. Older brothers who were (make that are always) there to help me out, accelerate my learning and introducing me to classic rock at an incredibly early age.
Couple that with a bit of “only child” experience. I will secretly admit that Mom and Dad probably gave me more wants than they got. Clearly a sign of how much more they loved me (can’t wait until one of them reads that line hehehe). Truth is, I’m sure I was more trouble than my two brothers put together. I look at the picture above and immediately think it sums up how Mom must have felt raising me. With me came 26 hours in a day. “Mommy, can I have this, or that, oh wait, definitely that, can we play, how about now, can you look at this booboo, Dan’s picking on me, Ron’s picking on me, they told me to do that, who me?, I don’t remember that, are you sure, where’s the matches,….”
Yet there Mom was every time I needed her. Except for the matches part, she wasn’t down with that until she was sure I wasn’t going to set the neighbor’s cat on fire. To my Mom’s credit, as well as my Dad’s, I think we turned out pretty good (overlooking that whole cat thing of course). They kept us happy, safe, knew the importance of education, pushed us to be the best we could and made sure we each grew up with a moral compass to guide our decisions.
Not an easy task I’m sure .. especially with me. We could never thank Mom and Dad enough for being such wonderful parents. What we could do is make sure we were there for Mom until the end and that is exactly what we did. At least one of us was with her every day and night while the higher plan played out over the 6 or so weeks.
On Mother’s Day morning my mother transitioned to the other side. Although a sad note for our families on what has always been a joyful song in celebration of our incredible Mother, it was a fitting day for her to be reunited with her husband. I can only imagine how happy the two of them are now.
Mother was the last of the parents. From this point on some would say we are officially “on our own”. Honestly, I think just the opposite. They will assuredly be looking down on us and willing to help whenever we need some coaching, some mending, some encouragement or maybe just a moment for a chat. Until I get a chance to meet them again, I’d just like to say a heartfelt Thank You.