Goodbye Mom

On the first day of Summer 2023 (Wednesday 6/21) my mother, Janet B. Jump, concluded her journey that on this world began in 1934.

By all accounts she ended her time as a pleasant if not outright entertaining person, after an extended period with continually progressing dementia.

This was not a surprise ending and please do not take it as such. It is sad when someone suffers degradation as Mom did, yet by accounts she was a vivacious personality pretty much to the end – to the appreciation of those who visited and cared for her.

Mom was the last of five sisters (the others being Betty, Mildred, Phyllis, and Nancy). Maybe they are now together and making happy noise again as they surely did years and years ago “on the farm.”

It will be no surprise that I felt very close to Mom growing up, many little boys do. I certainly feel like she was center of my orbit as a youth, many random memories have been swirling around since Wednesday and I’m sure more will come …

  • First kittens (Tom & Lizzie, white Persian fluff-balls), from which I learned love of animals, and Mom taught me to care for them.
  • Bicycles – first (some red thing from Western Auto) and second (yellow Schwinn Sting-Ray), from which I learned to enjoy wandering and exploring and appreciate independence.
  • Little league baseball, where I learned to be part of a team.
  • Home summer school, where my sister and I learned much of the English language under the direct tutelage of Mom … more than we wanted to!
  • Mom’s holiday lemon bubble loaf without lemon, teaching us that everyone makes mistakes but that it’s ok!
  • Trips to Munches Hamburgers in Westminster, where it was found that french fries and hamburgers can be eaten through a straw just like the milkshake.
  • Making a mess in the back of her car, eating peaches fresh from the orchard in Thurmont.
  • Building and flying model rockets, some that worked great, some that i’m amazed didn’t injure us!

Still, with all these whirly-swirly thoughts and emotions some things bubble on top.

Looking back on my decision to join the Army, instead of going directly to higher education Mom helped me understand that my path was different than others in the family and that was okay.

That’s a key thing that Mom instilled in me, that one needs to be true to one’s own path – even if that path is sometimes in conflict with others’ preconceptions.

She also taught me about context and compassion for people, much intentionally as I was growing up but also I think from an unintended angle. I learned more of her life journey as time went on, some very important pieces after she and I had grown somewhat distant. I learned of situations she had to go through and how they affected her, and I could see how that affected how she related to specific people, actions, and situations.

Learning some of her personal history gave me perspective on some of the attitudes she had which I could not comprehend while growing up, some that remained questions as I matured. While I’d learned much in life since leaving home being allowed to peek through this window into Mom’s life caused my compassion for her to grow, and my appreciation for other people’s history and experiences to blossom.

This appreciation of personal context and situation was another gift she gave me starting as a youth but with this later learning so strongly reinforced. I don’t think she intended that reinforcement, but it’s become important to me and something that I try to keep close to heart constantly both in personal and professional life.

One last thing I’d like to share that she gave me is the interest in exploring … whether it’s the physical, intellectual, or other. Basically, to stay curious and continue learning.

I treasure memories of her driving us around taking new and different routes through the countryside instead of just repeating the same old way (“hey, how about a tricky way home?”). I’d also have to put her support for keeping me “in bicycles” in this, as her doing that ensured that I spent huge quantities of time in unsupervised exploration (solo or with my best bud) near and far.

Virtually, she helped me explore worlds both real and fantastic through literature, keeping me in a steady supply of reading material that ranged from the science fiction of Asimov, Heinlein, and Adams; the fantasy of C.S.Lewis, Tolkien and Le Guin; and less formal material such as Omni and Popular Science.

Do not be surprised if a common thread is sensed here because it is there … that to be continually open to learning, thinking, reflecting … to observe and think … not simply accept the status quo. These do not make one’s life easier, that is not the goal, but may lead to one more illuminated, more rewarding to self and to those one cares about. Maybe.

I will not say that the last 13 years have been great between me and Mom, we’ve had our differences, some of which will never be reconciled. Yet, my depth of love and care for Mom has never lessened … I just needed to keep “arms length” in place for the benefit of many.

Mom, you’re missed.

I’ve missed your easy laugh and smile, and your quirky humor.

I’ve missed the silly games at Christmas time, the back road explorations, and the rest.

I wish you well and will keep you fondly in my heart.


My heartfelt thanks goes to the staff at Nova Springs, they were there day in day out for Mom as myself and my sisters could not be and for that I will always be grateful.

I also want to express deep appreciation for the efforts both my sisters have put in over time to support Mom. I’ve been both physically and otherwise distant for some years and unable to support Mom more directly, they have been present throughout.