My Mom Would Send Five Dollars, And Sometimes Ten

I miss my mother so much.

When I was young she encouraged me as I embraced the Habs, and she helped me write early fan letters to the Rocket and others. She took a genuine interest in the team, and I remember how amazed she was when she learned that Marcel Bonin wrestled bears in the off-season, how she thought it was funny that Henri Richard was a leap year baby, loved that Boom Boom Geoffrion would sometimes sing on TV, and was absolutely delighted that Jacques Plante liked to knit.

As I grew older she’d listen politely when I played my Bob Dylan records for her, even though she must have chuckled later when I wasn’t looking. She’d nod and applaud when I sang the Hollies’ “Bus Stop” as I banged drum sticks on a foot stool. She cut up an old fur coat and made me a vest after we’d seen Sonny Bono on TV wearing one. She watched with me as bands would play on the Ed Sullivan Show, and she never criticized or said they looked or sounded ridiculous. She liked my long hair, loved my crazy friends, and seemed happy for me when a buddy and I sailed to England on an ocean liner when I turned 18.

But I know she worried about me when I lived on the edge, and it eats at me now that I put her through all that. She had never stopped loving me, even though I had become someone she couldn’t have been all that proud of.

Along with those letters from the Montreal Canadiens that I found recently and put on these pages, were also letters from my mom when I was hitchhiking around the country, sleeping in ditches, living dirt poor on the coast, and sowing some serious oats. She knew drugs had become a big part of my life, but she never lectured me when I’d see her, or in the letters she’d send. She worried if I was eating enough, if I was safe and happy, and that she’d recently sent money orders for five or ten dollars to help me buy food, which was a lot of money for her, and she hoped that I had gotten them.

I must have disappointed her to no end, and if only I could go back and change some things. I should’ve been a better son, there’s no denying. Another letter I found recently, from my sister, mentions that mom lived for my letters and was worried sick. So I smiled when I read my old Habs letters, and ached and welled up when I read letters from home.

I miss my mom so much, and when I’m in Orillia, I can’t visit her at the cemetery. It’s too hard. I can barely just drive by the place.

Below was my mom’s favourite Habs photo. She’d always laugh and mention how no one was paying any attention to the adults in the background because the Rocket was there. I think she saw a lot of me in those boys.

Below that is a picture of me when I was 19, which I’ve shown here before. Those were the days when my lifestyle must have kept her awake on far too many nights. I was all about a selfish me back then, and she would die a decade later, never knowing my kids or seeing that I didn’t become the bum she thought I might become. (I’m the punk in white, with the stubby beer bottle).

I just want to see her again, and if I could, I’d like to say sorry. Then I’d pull out some drum sticks and a foot stool and sing her another song. I loved my mom so much, and I know she’d smile and applaud.


11 thoughts on “My Mom Would Send Five Dollars, And Sometimes Ten”

  1. This is lovely, Dennis. Don’t worry that she never got to see you succeed or to know your children and grandchildren. She SAW you succeed. She KNOWS your kids and loves them. She watches over all of you every day and is bursting with pride. I can’t go to her grave, either. But that’s ok because she’s not there. She’s with us, watching us, cheering us on.She is always looking over our shoulders. So is Grandma. So, take comfort in that you haven’t lost have her with you more often! I read a quote years ago that still brings me comfort. “Our loved ones aren’t really gone. We’ve just lost the ability to talk to them unless they’re wearing bodies.”

  2. Very nice tribute Dennis. Your mother reminds me of my grandmother in many ways.

    I’m not a very religious guy but I swear there is something out there after we go. I am sure she knows you’re ok. She might worry when you blow a gasket over another Habs loss though. 🙂

    If you do get the chance to visit her, you should. I know it’s hard and each time I’ve visited my dad’s grave, it hits me like a ton of bricks. So much unsaid, so many memories you wish you could take back and fix, etc. It can be quite a wallop. But sometimes it’s good for your own well-being. You can talk to her and get some of that stuff out of your system. It may not be easy but it might help you feel better about it.

    She sounded like a great woman with a good sense of humor.

  3. your mother is a great person and had a really good sense of humor……. it seems to me it is a mothers job to worry no matter what her child does. i know my mother appears to worry the same whether i’m flying high or crawling and scratching to survive……. regret? …. “never look back unless you are planning to go that way” henry david thoreau

  4. Oh, Dennis. Your mom accepted you the way you were. She loved you unconditionally. That’s why she never criticized your long hair, your music selection and your friends. As far as worrying goes, even if you were the perfect child, she still would have worried for you. It’s part of being “mother”.

    A poem (not by me)

    A Mother’s Worry Never Ends

    We worry from the time we conceive.
    Will they make it to trimester three?

    We worry about how much they eat
    and even when they poop and pee.

    We worry when they’re two and three,
    all the scraps, bumps and boo-boo’d knees.

    We worry about them cutting hair
    and how much of their sister’s they’re willing to spare.

    We worry about all the teeth that must come free
    and if they will need Orthodontistry.

    We worry if they will pass the class,
    from their first day of school until their last.

    We worry about them going off to college
    and if we gave them enough knowledge.

    We worry for them when their heart does break
    and the scar that they might never shake.

    We worry for them on their wedding day,
    that the love they share may never fade.

    We worry for them when their baby comes
    now their worrying has just begun.

    A Mother’s worry never ends.
    It just evolves and grows and starts again.


    (***Just to be fair, Dads worry too).

    I agree with Darth. I think you need to visit your mom grave, it’s very healing.

    We love you, Dennis.

  5. Thanks Darth. I don’t understand. Every so often someone says they see a ghost, but not once in the history of mankind has any ghost ever told us what’s beyond. We’d like to know. So this is a message to any future ghosts. Please tell us what we’re in for. Do they have beer there? Can we see our loved ones? Does the Rocket say hi?

  6. Hobo, something was triggered when I got all these photos from my brother. And then I read letters from my mom. Hey, even Frank Sinatra sang that he had a few regrets. I just happen to have more than many, I guess.

  7. Lovely poem, Marjo, and I’m going to print it and keep it handy. Thank you so much for this and for your words.

  8. All I ask of the great beyond is that I can watch the odd hockey game and movie. I’d go haunt the Bell Centre until the place is torn down if I could.

    Being able to have a beer or two every now and then would be nice as well but I won’t push my luck too far. I probably have too much to apologize for already. 🙁

  9. DK, I emailed you so you know I care & my thoughts are with you bud, but please no renditions of Peggy-Sue!!

  10. Dennis I’m with you, don’t go to the cemetery if it hurts. Your mother knows equally well just how you feel whether you’re in Powell River or visiting her in the Orillia cemetery. She wouldn’t want you to feel bad, she’d prefer you think back fondly and have happy memories than suffer in the loss.

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