A tribute to Martha

Martha Bourdo-Maurer died peacefully at home in Otsego last Sunday afternoon. She was 93 and told her daughter Kathy just a couple of weeks ago that she was ready to go now.

She wasn’t rich or famous, (except to us) but she was a genuinely good person and a joy to know.

The last one of that older generation in our family, she was Jack’s stepmom and a very special part of our lives since she married his Dad in 1980 and inherited a whole new batch of relatives, his three grown sons, two daughters-in-law and four new grandchildren to go along with her own three grown daughters and numerous grandkids.

Martha was one very special lady and welcomed the much expanded family. From that day on, she treated all of us (including the step-in-laws) like we were always a part of her family, remembering all of us on Christmas and every birthday with cards and beautiful homemade gifts.

Most of the decorations on our family Christmas tree every year are gifts from her, specially cross-stitched ornaments I will always treasure – not just one each year but five or six made every year for every single family in the clan.

In our family there was just no such thing as a “wicked stepmother.” Since she married Jack’s Dad back then, she never could seem to remember which were hers and which were his. She even managed to help fill that “gap” in my life when my own mom died. She has always treated us pretty special whether we are hers by birth, marriage or “accident.”

One of the best Christmas memories I have was a gathering of the whole clan at her home in Martin on their first Christmas together. There were kids and grandkids all over the place that year and it was a great time for everybody as the new cousins all played together and got to know each other better.

The visits together were many, sometimes with us going south and sometimes when she and Dad came up here. For several years, their motor home was parked right in our back yard for a little vacation in mid-summer. When the weather got cold, they would head south where they had a winter home in North Fort Meyers and a couple of times we made it down there to visit for a bit too.

She had lost her first husband and the love of her life early on. She lost Jack’s Dad about ten years ago, but that never changed her idea of family. We were still all hers.

When the great-grandkids started arriving, she sometimes had a hard time with all the names (there are ten just on our side) but she loved them all –and then it was great-greats and more of the same pride and love for every single one.

After a long and mostly very happy life – she stayed pretty sharp right up into her 90s – she seemed to have had enough. She developed some memory loss and her health and mobility over the past year gradually deteriorated.

Kathy, who  with help from sister Colleen, took care of their mom. For the last several months Kathy, and more recently Colleen was living with her,

At the end of November, Kathy called to say the end was getting near. We immediately made a trip down to find this frail little old lady ready for company once again. She not only knew us but told us lots of stories about her younger days while we were there.

It was a good visit.

It was our last visit with her.

If our lives are measured by anything at all, it should not always be by what we accomplished, or even who we knew, but by who we loved and who loved us. Martha loved us. Martha was loved.  That is the most special thing I can say about her.

Rest in peace. We will miss you Mom…

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