It will be three years this Sunday that I lost my Mom.
It might be strange to hear from a 64-year-old guy still mourning his mother, still missing her, still thinking of her fondly and daily – and sharing that with the whole world.
But this is for her – for her other children and grandchildren and those she touched with her life over 91 years.
I’d like to tell you about her.
She was born in North Uxbridge, Massachusetts, to Arthur Comeau and Ida Jacques Comeau, both French-Canadian and Native American. Arthur was a tenant farmer.
My Mom grew up on the farm, riding horses and even riding a cow to school, so she claimed. She spoke English and French and had a gift for music, attending a conservatory for voice and piano. She was trained for opera and performed in a Gilbert & Sullivan light opera company for many years.
She married John Farah, my Dad, who died 15 years ago. He was a World War II vet in the Pacific theater and became an upholsterer when he returned stateside, attending college at night and eventually getting a teaching degree and a master’s degree in education. He taught elementary school students for many years before becoming disabled by strokes.
Meanwhile, Mom helped support the family, first as a waitress in large restaurants. But she had an incredible work ethic and soon became head waitress, which meant she supervised a large wait staff. A few years later, one of the owners of her restaurant was getting ready to purchase a restaurant of his own and asked her to be his partner.
Now she was managing every aspect of the business except the kitchen and the finances of a New York restaurant and bar. They had some success and bought a much larger place – a restaurant that served dinners nightly, with large catering facilities for weddings and special events as well as weekend buffets with entertainment. Many famous comedians and singers performed there – from Jerry Vale to Henny Youngman, David Brenner and Corbett Monica.
The restaurant business showed her children a side of their Mom they never knew. She was a really sweet Mom, devoted to her kids, hardly ever a harsh word left her lips. But at work, she was a boss in every sense of the word, though her employees adored her.
It was my Mom, much more than my Dad, who taught me about entrepreneurship and risk taking. My Dad was not a risk taker. He was the steady one with the retirement plan.
My Mom also demonstrated an ability to change careers. After the restaurant business, she became a real estate agent and broker and was quite successful. She put her energy and work ethic into that business with equal alacrity.
But she was always 100 percent Mom – even when she was working. I worked right along with her in the restaurant business from the time I was 14 years old, mostly in the kitchen doing pretty much everything you could do, but also filling in sometimes as a busboy or waiter.
Mom loved her kids – two sons and a daughter. And she also loved her grandchildren in another phase of life. Then came the great-grandchildren, and she adored them as well. Their pictures decorated every room in her home of 55 years in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
Age never really caught up to my Mom until about a year before her death. At that point she could no longer live alone despite her completely independent nature.
It was a good life for Loretta Farah. Everyone who knew her loved her and misses her to this day.
On Sunday, we’ll be missing her more.
If your mom is still alive, be sure to love her today.