Wisdom From My Mother’s Address Book

Lisa Daum
3 min readSep 10, 2019
My Mom’s address book

It’s exactly two weeks today since my dear, sweet Mom passed away. She was eighty-nine and living with dementia. It stole a great deal from her in the last ten years. Her kindness and gentleness remained, but her impressive intellect and organizational super powers waned and then disappeared. By the end she needed help to eat.

I’m an only child so when she passed away one of my jobs was to notify her family and friends. While I had some of the needed phone numbers in Contacts in my phone, for the bulk of the numbers I had to turn to my Mother’s address book.

It’s a tiny, dark coloured binder with everyone listed last name first in alphabetical order. I started with the “A”s and worked my way methodically through until the last call, my Mom’s friend, Mary Zotzman.

The conversations were emotional and intense. I caught up with people I hadn’t talked to in years. My Mom was loved.

After talking and crying with Mary Z. I kept turning pages and discovered it was more than just an address book. There was travel and booking information from my cousin David’s wedding in 1996. There was a bunch of stuff in shorthand — real shorthand that secretaries used when they took dictation in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. There was a number of pages devoted entirely to the flight information for my trips visiting home. There were the colour and brand names of her favourite lipsticks. Then more unreadable shorthand.

But it was the pages after that made me stop and read. There were little notes, philosophies, ideas she wanted to remember or explore further. It was a mixture of the mundane and the profound. It was a window into my Mother and I was entranced.

God is truth

Gravity is always there

An angel is a messenger, someone who brings truth to you

Live in the moment

Make better judgements by trusting intuition

Honor who you are

Who are we really?

Lisa Daum

I love animals, reading, and writing. Also a student of human nature. People are weird, but it makes us interesting. Email me: clean@thedailytidy.com