Adrienne Kent, my loving mother, Alan Kent's loving wife and Dara and Aimee's loving grandmother My wonderful mother has been like a cat with nine lives and thankfully has lived a long, loving and rewarding life with her husband always by her side. She passed peacefully early this morning, April 1, 2014, in her sleep at Majestic Oaks nursing home. She was 88 years old, very close to her 89th birthday. I will tell her story here sometimes in the present tense as I believe she is still here watching over us and I can't imagine the world without her in it. Adrienne grew up in New Jersey and was the loving sister of Ilene and daughter of...
Adrienne Kent, my loving mother, Alan Kent's loving wife and Dara and Aimee's loving grandmother
My wonderful mother has been like a cat with nine lives and thankfully has lived a long, loving and rewarding life with her husband always by her side. She passed peacefully early this morning, April 1, 2014, in her sleep at Majestic Oaks nursing home. She was 88 years old, very close to her 89th birthday. I will tell her story here sometimes in the present tense as I believe she is still here watching over us and I can't imagine the world without her in it.
Adrienne grew up in New Jersey and was the loving sister of Ilene and daughter of Aaron and Florence. Her parents were successful business people and Adrienne had a comfortable and happy childhood. She was unfortunately born with a congenital heart defect, a hole in her heart that made her weak and restricted her physical activity. She was excused from physical education and became a lover of books, something I am very grateful she has passed on to me. My mother did very well in school and after high school went on to Montclair State Teacher's College. She stopped during the war, but went back and earned her BA degree years later when I went away to college.
During the war, she worked as a secretary and she became a pen pal to servicemen (an Army man, a Navy man and a Marine). The Marine was Gib, my father's brother. Gib was wounded very badly and had to stop writing. He gave his brother my mother's address and so their love story began. I met my husband, David, on the internet, on match.com
and I say that my parents met similarly on worldwarII.com.
They loved each other from the start, just like David and I did. Alan said to Adrienne in one of their earlier letters "wouldn't it be funny if we got married?" Before he came home on leave, Adrienne met his family, that was important to him. Meeting in person was everything they thought it would be and more! They were married in New Jersey very shortly after he returned from the war.
Shortly after Adrienne and Alan were married, they moved to Miami as Adrienne needed a warm climate because of her heart condition. Prior to the move, Adrienne had a brush with death when she developed bacterial endocarditis after getting her wisdom teeth extracted. Her heart was in a very weakened state. It was a miracle that penicillin was just being brought into medical use and massive doses of it saved her life. Adrienne's parents and younger sister Ilene moved to Miami with Adrienne and Alan so that they could be a help to her always. My grandfather and my father were involved in several businesses together, the longest lasting and most successful being Gables Luggage, a luggage store in Coral Gables.
My parents had me 8 years after they got married and against the advice of many doctors who said my mother would be risking her life by having a baby. I was very wanted by both of them and they mutually agreed that they would take the chance. She was in labor a lot longer than she should have been and the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck so all in all it was one major miracle. Some things are meant to be and I am one of those things!
My grandmother helped my mother with me while the men worked. Although my mother couldn't be very active she was the best, most attentive mother in the world and read to me and played dolls and games with me. She taught me to read long before I started school. She says I was reading encyclopedias at age 3 and I have no reason to doubt that.
The year I started junior high school, my mother left for a couple of months to have open heart surgery in New Jersey at Deborah Heart Hospital. This was in the very early days of this type of surgery and they inserted a patch on the hole in her heart that was causing abnormal blood flow and shortness of breath. She was about 40 years old at the time and a very brave woman! She survived this and the quality of her life improved remarkably. She was able to drive, work and travel and later graduate from college and babysit grandchildren. My father couldn't leave the business to take long trips but my mother went on tours to California and even Europe by herself after having this surgery! My parents also went on many special trips together to the Canadian Rockies and the Rocky Mountain states and Southwest US. This included a wonderful 50 year anniversary trip. Despite all obstacles my mother has managed to live an incredible life doing all the things she loves and always wanted to do and being with the people she loves.
My mother was my confidant and friend when I was a teenager. I feel I was the same with my daughters thanks to the good relationship I had to model that on. She was a bit more overprotective of me than I was of my children, but I was a miracle baby after all!
My parents moved to the Orlando area when I was expecting my first child, their first grandchild, Dara. Alan and Adrienne became "super grandparents" devoting so much time to Dara and 2 years after Dara's birth also to Aimee my second daughter. I became a single mother when Aimee was only 2 and I could not have managed without my parents' help. They bought annual passes to Disney World and Sea World and my daughters spent many wonderful days there with their loving grandparents while I worked. As babies, they heard my father calling her Adrienne and that is what they called her from when they started talking. They were ajin and poppi.
To call Ajin a doting grandmother would be such an understatement. She absolutely adores those girls. I have memories of her pushing them in the backyard swing and reciting the poem "how do you like to go up in a swing..." I recited that to my grandson, Oscar, in England when I babysat him and thought of her. I also have memories of her always making their rooms neat and tidy when they were little, something I didn't always have the energy to do.
Adrienne helped Alan with his massive project of scanning all of the family's pictures into the computer and converting them to CDs for all of us. That made creating this memorial brochure much easier for me! While Alan was the photographer, Adrienne was the wind behind the wings of the photographer, gently encouraging him to take pictures. Adrienne is also the family historian, lovingly keeping records of first words, report cards and every achievement made by me and my daughters.
My parents have always been true partners and soul mates in everything in life. My father always jokes about his relationship with his wife "We've been married 50 years, but it is 70 with the wind chill factor!" In reality, they have now been married almost 68 years and he absolutely adores her and would do anything for her and she would for him as well.
It is difficult to imagine my mother gone. She has always been there for me. My beliefs say there is an afterlife and that we are all spiritual beings temporarily inhabiting a human body. My hope is that I will connect with my mother through a medium or that she will come to me directly. My parents don't share my beliefs, in fact, they find me a bit odd, but that's ok, the overriding love is still there, even where we have agreed to disagree.
Although my father has a lot of female friends, nobody will ever replace my mother in his life and I know he will dearly miss seeing her every day. We all join him in mourning the physical loss of the love of his life. But let's not just mourn her, let's celebrate her life and the person that she has been. My parents are united in eternity and will see each other again. I know that when I leave this life, she will be there to welcome me into the next world just like she was there when I entered this one.
I love you Mom, may God bless you and keep you until we meet again.