312-578-9501 | www.shannonlawgroup.com JUNE 2019
“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.”
–St. Teresa of Calcutta
I have witnessed true love in my life. I watched how my dad (Tom) took care of my mom (JoAnne) in the last years of her life. My dad dedicated those years completely to my mom. There was no middle ground. He was all in. It was all about serving my mom, and that made my dad happy. My mom, JoAnne, had ten kids. Their lives were hectic. I remember sharing a room with two of my brothers and the crowded dinner table when there was never a dull moment. After a lifetime of caring and serving for all of us, my mom suffered from chronic fatigue, acid reflux, and a whole host of physical problems throughout her life. She was on a restrictive diet and absolutely hated the fact she couldn’t eat what she wanted. She wanted to travel the world, but it was hard for her. After all of us kids moved away, my folks stayed in our family home in Yakima, their home for about 50 years, until my dad couldn’t handle it all by himself anymore. As most of you know, I have been blessed to be the next to last child of Tom and JoAnne. Mary Jo is the No. 1 girl in the family. When you meet MJ, you will be a stranger for about 10 seconds. Thereafter, she is finding a way to help you in any way you need. When dad needed help, MJ stepped up and welcomed mom and dad into her home. Just like my dad, MJ was dedicated to making sure that mom lived her last years with respect and dignity among the people she loved. My mom passed away 15 years ago. She died at home with MJ and the family surrounding her. Since that time, my dad has been living with MJ. My siblings in the Seattle area (Kathleen, John, Anne, Tom, Terry) and my nieces and nephews surround my dad regularly. They accompany him like he accompanied mom. Enter one of my role models, Mary JoAnne Shannon, also known as my sister Mary Jo, or MJ.
they don’t want to be a “burden” on us as they age. My sisters and brothers who live by mom and dad have conveyed the following clear message to them: We love you. You are not a burden. You are a blessing. You gave us your all. Now it’s your turn to lean on us. Let’s enjoy each day. Let’s play some cards. Thank you, MJ, for always being there and doing the heavy lifting. Thank you, Kathleen, John, and Anne, for being the constant companions of our parents through it all. You are my role models.
I know there are a lot of people who cannot care for or accompany their elderly parents. I also know that a lot of our parents tell us
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