Sometimes a platform can be a catharsis, so I am hoping you will indulge me in taking the liberty to share something very personal which is the obituary I wrote for my mother who passed away last week at the age of 80. While her health was never her strength, her decline unfortunately came quickly. I have a whole new respect for hospice staff who communicated frequently enough with me to ensure I made it off a plane from a statewide and onto another one to make my way to Evanston, Illinois where my parents had just moved to from Michigan a few weeks ago.
It is with great sorrow that there is one less rose in the world. Our mother, Barbara Bloomfield has passed away leaving a present absence of the beauty she brought with her. Her journey was not always an easy one, yet along the way she found love, friends, others in need of care, and beauty in the world around her. Born in Germany in 1938, Barbara learned early that good things come to those who don’t wait. She survived the destruction of the Second World War, became a world class athlete, trained as a botanist and eventually escaped the oppressive communist regime of East Germany. She then met the love of her life, David Bloomfield in Berlin. Despite the language barrier, they fell deeply in love. She boldly chose to leave her homeland, a leap of great faith to join David, her devoted companion for the ensuing nearly 60 years back to the United States. Welcomed to the United States, learning English and supported by her new family, Barbara and David embarked on a life adventure that included two children, Shirley (and Don) and Jeremy (and Chris) and three amazing grandchildren that she was extremely proud of; Leah, Joshua and Kelsey. Numerous canine companions also shared her heart along the way. Barbara’s devotion to her gardens was legendary and her green thumb was magical. Her ability to make friends anywhere was as well. When she and David were not volunteering time to the creation and support of Muskegon’s no-kill animal shelter, the Noah Project, they could be found on a golf course or traveling around the world exploring new cultures and meeting new people. And you can bet that she was checking out the local foliage wherever she was as well. While her adventures on this earth have come to an end, those of us who loved her deeply know that she is now flying with the eagles that she so cherished watching from her back deck. As Mary Elizabeth Frye so beautifully wrote “When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.”
While this last week was difficult and complicated with NTCA’s RTIME meeting, in many ways, it was a balm to the soul to be surrounded by so many members and fellow staffers who supported me throughout the week. My thanks to each and every one of them.