I lost my biggest fan on Saturday. There just aren't enough tears.
My mom, Katherine Hanlon, died peacefully in her home. The mother of seven had 17 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. Her eternal smile and laughter lit the planet for 92 years.
She read my work daily for decades. This was a classic case of life coming full circle.
As a mop-headed kid, I read her newsletter from St. Anthony's nursing home that she edited and wrote for. I loved reading about Betty's family vacationing in South Carolina or Ed getting a new Buick.
I loved seeing my mom's byline. Thanks, Mom.
She loved sports. She played some kind of baseball at Hammond High School back in the early 1940s, during the girls sports club era. When Hammond Tech won the 1940 boys basketball state championship, my mom sang the National Anthem at the Civic Center when the city congratulated the Tigers' accomplishment.
When Tom May's Crown Point girls basketball team won state championships in 1984 and '85, she was at Market Square Arena chanting "We are C.P." with thousands of others.
Thanks for sharing your love for Region sports, Mom. It's something I'll never forget. And it is something I will continue to work hard at in the coming days.
As I became a sports scribbler for The Times in the 1990s, she was John Stockton and I was Karl Malone. She told me countless stories that she heard from friends about things going on with local teams.
Many of them ended up in the newspaper, like Lowell's "Mojo" run in football in the late 1990s. Thanks for those assists, Mom.
Her love of the Cubs went back to the days when Jack Brickhouse's voice came out of a black-and-white television. The joy of them finally winning it all last November meant the world to her, and me.
And the fact that she was alive to see it means so much more.
My mom was old-school. She loved her country and prayed for it. Yes, she grew up in different days.
Her voice was angelic. She played the guitar and piano, almost always singing gospel songs. Her Christian faith was the compass of her days, the hedge against sorrow and the fiery darts.
That faith was passed down to her family. Her joy and laughter and story-telling was NCAA Division I. The kids almost always got treat bags for the holidays, cards for Christmas. In her latter days children at local restaurants got smiles and sweet conversations from the elderly lady in the red coat.
Her trust in God and wonderful personality caused her to share a smile with a stranger almost every day of her life.
What a concept. What if we all tried to do the same thing every day, too?
As her body began to fail over the last few weeks her smile didn't falter, even in the pain. But the fog of years began to chip away at her memory.
On a few occasions I was in her living room with my dad and she would say, "Honey, get your coat. It's time to go home."
I would point to the countless family photographs hung on all four walls and remind her of all the fun-filled Christmas stories that occurred in that room over the years. She would nod her head and smile. Then, fate's fog returned.
"OK, Dad, get your coat. It's time to go home."
Or maybe not?
These words weren't utterances of dementia bouncing off the wall. It was the truth.
My mother is home now. No pain. No fear. No tears.
Thank you for everything. You are loved.