Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Feb 16, 2008

My Mom

Our hands, February 9, 2008

On Valentine's Day, my mom was granted her peace at last, after the long, hard road she walked with Alzheimer's (though the diagnosis while she lived was Lewy Body Dementia). I had the great, exhausting blessing of being able to be with her a lot during these last weeks and days. I'm sick with a terrible cold, and I'm a bit numb emotionally. The years of dementia were intense, these weeks of her dying even moreso.

I know she's free and at peace. And I think I am at peace, too.
I'm editing this on 2/24/2008 to add the obituary I was finally able to write and put in the paper today (and editing again to reflect the post-mortem findings of Alzheimer's):
George-Anna Harbeson Carter, formerly of Coral Gables, Florida and Sylva, North Carolina, passed away on Valentines’ Day, 2008 after walking the treacherous path of Alzheimer's dementia.

George-Anna was a free spirit, a kind and generous friend, a devoted and loving mother and wife. Married for 37 years to John Channing Carter, Jr. (Chan), she raised three children: Suzanne Carter of Terre Haute, Indiana, Michael Carter of Orlando, Florida and George-Anna Lovett of Sylva, North Carolina. Her grandchildren are Ian and Shaun Hussey, their wives Lisa and Deann, Molly and Patrick Burkett, Eli Boston and Justin, Michael and Channing Lovett. Her great-grandchildren are Sophia Hussey and Raven Renn. Her husband and grandson Patrick preceded her in death.

Born in 1923 in Louisville Kentucky to Suzanne Danforth Peaslee Harbeson and George T. Harbeson, George-Anna spent her childhood between her father’s flower farm in College Hill, Ohio and a home in Coral Gables, Florida.

From her adored father, she inherited a love of nature and of writing. She began publishing her work as a child, in local newspapers and in booklets she and her father printed on a small press in their garage. Later, her numerous publications included poems, personal essays and photographs in the Christian Science Monitor, Good Housekeeping and Reader’s Digest.

Writing was her lifelong passion and when we were grown, she began to teach creative writing in continuing education courses at Miami-Dade Community College, Florida International University and the University of Miami.

She summered each year in North Carolina and started the creative writing group at the Golden Age Club in Sylva, a group that is celebrating its 2oth anniversary this year. She found enormous personal satisfaction in helping others find their writing talents and numerous people became published authors through her encouragement.

She loved to travel and meet new people. She was full of stories and told them in enchanting descriptive detail. Cheerful and bustling, she was unfailingly generous with her time, resources, and, above all, a love which was supportive and unconditional. Her childlike faith in the goodness and beauty of the world was inspirational.

Her unconventional soul was both the bane and delight of our existence. She took us shelling at midnight low tide, broke into public singing, made s’mores over candles and let us read while eating. She knew the names of plants and the calls of birds and from her we learned the ineffable joy of clouds and sky, and saw poetry in tiny flowers most people overlook.

Once someone asked each of us who we thought was Mom’s favorite child. And each of answered, “Me!!!”

She was a wonderful long-distance grandma and her Christmas in July packages were remarkable for their abundance of odd gifts and for the enormous amount of duct tape wrapping.

The best way to honor George-Anna would be to tell someone you love them, hug a friend, smile at a stranger, dance with daffodils.

We have missed you for a long time, Mom, and we believe you finally have the abiding peace you so richly deserve. Love, love, love, Susie, Mike and Georgie


At 2/17/08, 12:49 AM, Blogger Linda Sue said...

"Zann, bless you good daughter. On a day of Love your Mother gave you a gift. You will always keep her in your heart, that is so cool of her to go on that day!My mom died on the first day of spring, also very cool. Mom's are like that!!! Been meaning to email you- will do so soon.

At 2/17/08, 10:23 AM, Blogger Meg_L said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

At 2/18/08, 1:26 PM, Blogger Barbara H. said...

You and your mother traveled a long, hard road together. Cherish the memories of a lifetime, and know that you were a good daughter who did right by her. Wishing you both peace, and sending love and hugs.

At 2/20/08, 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Light.

Thinking of you all.

At 3/1/08, 10:13 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

Zann I am so sorry to hear of your loss but delighted to read of all the wonderful memories. Hold those close as well as knowing that she is at peace.

At 3/6/08, 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow, being with a oarent as they go through the hard times binds you tightly to them. Being the mother to the mother. I'm, so glad you and she are finally at peace. You are both wonderful women.


At 5/25/08, 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful obituary! You have your mothers ability to tell a story!! I'm glad it's over for you both!
You are a wonderful daughter!!! Your mother must be so proud of your dedication and patience those last few years, and the wonderful way you remember her in spite of it. Your also a wonderful mother, to your own children and to all of us strays!! I'm glad I know you!!!
Love Always,
In@fit as usual

At 4/28/10, 1:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hello, I am saddened by your loss in her passing but much early with the disease that took her mentally away from you long before her physical presence succumbed.

My Name is Bill Harbeson and based on my reading your mothers father was brother to my great grandfather Davis Harbeson who lived mostly in his later years on a small farm in Montville New Jersey. I am a small time family history collector to help put my existance in perspective of the Harbeson name and all the others that make me who I am.

I would love to converse with you about our two families. I see you reference the College Hill Harbeson residence of which I have a few stories told through the year from one generation to the next.

Well, If you are interested in reaching out please do so. I live in Gainesville GA, am 47 years old, My Name is Williwm Degenhardt Harbeson III and when Iwas young lived on the same farm for a time with my greate great gradnfather Davis in Montville. or


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