23 April 2015

RIP: Constance "Connie" (Ufkes) Neill, 1942-2015

After a nearly three year struggle with cancer, my mother passed away on 21 April 2015.

Mom was always kidding me that she was "afraid" to talk to me for fear that I would write about whatever it was she said or that it would become fodder for some blog post. It got to be a running joke. .

I was fortunate that I was able to be at the nursing home with her much of the week before she died in what ended up turning into one long sleepover. When she was still able to communicate, we talked quite a bit about a variety of things. Often, I could only understand about a third of what she said and she was never frustrated with me when I would tell her "Mom, I'm not trying to irritate you, but I can only understand about a third of what you are saying." She would smile and say "I know," and we'd try again. She was never impatient with me and never complained and was rolling her eyes at me until the last days. Fortunately I know that she was able to hear me during this time.

Mom always encouraged my genealogy research and she'd listen patiently to about any story that I would tell of a discovery that I had made. She was always proud of her 100% Ostfriesen heritage and would "ignore me" when I would tell her that somewhere in her background I thought there was a Frenchman from the 1600s...telling me "that didn't count and she wasn't going listen."

The staff of the nursing home in Mendon, Illinois, where Mom spent about the last month of her life told me how much Mom had communicated to them that she thought the world of her family--her husband, two boys and two granddaughters. The staff of the nursing home were very gracious, supportive, and kind as we took this final journey with her and I'll be forever grateful for that. We also received support from a variety of relatives, friends, both in real time and online. I am appreciative for that as well.

Mom lived all her life in Hancock County, Illinois--well the vast majority of it. Growing up on a farm north of Ferris, she lived in Macomb while attending Western Illinois University and lived in Carthage with her grandmother until she married my father and moved to a farm north of Carthage. 

Mom was acutely aware of how blessed and fortunate she was. One of the things she told me in those final days was that we were "lucky ducks," and we certainly were. 

I know I was a "lucky duck" to have her for a Mother.

Rest in Peace, Mom.


The obituary for Constance "Connie" Janet (Ufkes) Neill can be viewed here