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Lonimae "Lona" Watts Hudson
Birth: Jul. 30, 1940
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Sep. 8, 2012
Lake County
Indiana, USA

This is my mother. There is a huge hole in my heart where my mother is concerned. I am her firstborn but for a long time we ran away from each other. I had longed to be closer but that was not to be. Don't get me wrong-I loved my mother and my mother loved me as she loved all her children but as people, we couldn't have been more different. I realize that my mother and I really didn't have much to talk about from early on, our attitudes, interests and even values were so divergent.

My mother was the third and last child of Orville and Helen Watts. Though their marriage proved to be a happy and successful one, it was one borne out of great difficulty and huge sacrifices. Orville divorced his first wife.  And Helen, after fleeing the abuse of and then divorcing an alcoholic husband, married Orville. Helen left behind 6 children in the care of other relatives. As if that wasn't enough, Orville and Helen entered into a marriage that was considered taboo in the 30s and even considered illegal in some states. As a result of all of this, most of Helen's family disowned her and wanted nothing to do her or any of the children from her marriage with Orville. My mother and her brothers never met most relatives from her mother's side of the family.

Helen did have a limited relationship with her own mother and visited once in a while but the kids were not welcome to come along as it would have caused a stir and would have been an embarrassment. My mother, even at a young age, was keenly aware of the fact of her birth was not appreciated by some and she was not showered with the love and attention that most little girls receive by her relatives. Though Orville and Helen were loving and attentive parents to their children, my mother bore an everlasting hurt that her mom's relatives couldn't love her. I think the peculiar dynamics of my mother's formative years played a role in shaping my mother's character.

For me, it is a bit difficult to understand but if you can't find the love you seek in one place you have to find it somewhere else- in a loving partner, wonderful friends, your own children who will love you, etc. But for my mother, that could never completely mitigate the pain. It affected my mother's relationships with her family, friends and loved ones for the rest of her life. I think she had difficulty ever feeling completely loved and appreciated. 

Despite the difficulties of her childhood, my mother's early years were relatively comfortable. She was loved by her parents and by all accounts, as the baby of the family, she was "spoiled". As she showed an early aptitude for the arts, she trained in dance with Sadie Morton, head of one of the well known dance groups in Chicago at the time. They performed at the prestigious 8th Avenue theater venue. She attended Jones Commercial High School and graduated in 1958. Almost immediately after graduation, she married a young man she met in church several years prior, Melvin Hudson. Five children were born of that union.

My mother was tough. She disliked displaying her vulnerabilities and went to great lengths to appear strong and in control. She was a very private person and given to secrecy. That is why there is much I don't know about her or only know by second hand accounts. My mother was a very emotional person. Pure reason and logic rarely moved her. Her emotions were the prism through which she saw and evaluated the world. My dad was much more balanced in his outlook in life and he helped her to temper the emotional indulgences she was prone to. My mother was the type of person that if you lost her trust or she felt you had hurt her (real or perceived), it would be difficult if not impossible to recover. You were pretty much done. But my mother loved animals. I think she loved them more than people. People had disappointed her too much. With animals she was unconditionally loved and accepted. My mother constantly pushed the boundaries in her relationships and she held her loved ones to a high (some would say impossible) standard. But as far as she was concerned, that was her prerogative as mother, wife, sister, friend, daughter or whomever.  

Mama had an artistic bent. Both of my parents did. So she had major influence in decor and remodels for all of their homes. Mama always had a flair for fashion and accessories and she loved to shop, especially sales. She was comfortable at Home Depot or Bed,Bath, and Beyond. She was a great arbiter of good taste-she always knew what looked good. My mother was a very proud person-she took it to the nth degree. No one entered the house if she wasn't at her best. Vanity was definitely one of her vices. She took great pride in her family so the same applied to us. Her husband and her kids didn't leave the house without looking their best-she saw to that.

My mother was a devoted and loving wife.  I think my dad was one of the very few people who held any sway with her. When my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, she became a tireless caregiver and relentless in advocating for his needs. Though heartbroken to witness her beloved husband's slow and steady decline, she powered through to make sure his every need was met.  Dad spent most of his last year in a nursing home where she was a fixture. She doted on my dad and the nurses hardly needed be there because she dressed, fed, bathed and changed him. Staff was always on their toes because she could show up at any time. She took him home the last month of his life and in the moments after he passed, she went to work to ensure a dignified exit. She sent him out nicely groomed and wearing a new pair of socks and pajamas. My mother was like that.

My mother was very intelligent and loved the rough and tumble of a good debate where she would pull out a new "word of the day". That word could be a nice million dollar word she learned from my dad or read or heard somewhere. If it was a word that really tickled her fancy, she would use it repeatedly. I remember one such word was "pontificate" which she used as a verb and basically means to step on one's soapbox. I got a real kick out of that!  

My mother could be wickedly funny. She was a very good mimic with a  sense of humor reminiscent of the silly slapstick style of one of her favorites Lucille Ball. Once she did an impromptu "puppet show" (using her feet!) featuring Sue the dinosaur. My mother's laugh reverberates in my mind and I never want to forget it because it was so genuine and you could tell she was thoroughly amused. She was at her best when she laughed. That's how I want to remember her.

I only found out that my mother was ill three days before she passed. My brother informed me that she had terminal cancer, that she was in the hospital and that she wouldn't be leaving. Apparently she had been diagnosed three years earlier. I will never fully understand it but my mother decided, save for two people, to keep this knowledge a secret. I knew that she had a penchant for secrecy, but I had always counted on her sharing the big things.  Despite the fact that all of her loved ones would have insisted on being there for her, she had gone to considerable lengths to hide her condition from most friends and family. Torward the end she relented and allowed my brother to inform the family. The vanity that she was well known for melted away and she allowed her loved ones to see her in a weakened and much reduced condition.

During the final days of my mother's life the family gathered around-children,grandchildren, brothers, nieces and nephews with their families.  They were good days. She was out of pain and was alert much of the time. And despite her feeding tube, she wanted to eat and my sister brought her a salad which she enjoyed. Some of us hadn't seen her in years. The outpouring was quite large. We made our peace and let her know how much she meant to us and how much we loved her and said our goodbyes. The clock ran out on us in the late afternoon of Sept. 8.  But in the end I really got the sense that she left this world finally in the knowledge that she was a loved and treasured member of our family. And for that I am forever grateful.

Cause of death: Pancreatic cancer

A thank you from the bottom of my heart to Pearls of Grace♥ for sponsoring my beloved Mother's memorial site. 
Family links: 
  Melvin Hudson (1936 - 2006)
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Noor
Record added: Dec 16, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 102254159
Lonimae Lona <i>Watts</i> Hudson
Added by: Noor
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