My Mother Died Last Night

Updated with final arrangements below.

This was a Facebook post I created this morning. I’m posting here to preserve it. I will write a more traditional obituary later. ~ Sue

Last night, my mother died of complications from pneumonia. She was 79 years old. Her name was Kerry Anne Pryor Kerr.

Final arrangements will be announced soon. I am asking my friends and colleagues to consider a donation in her honor to Kerry’s Kitten Fund rather than flowers.

I write a lot of memorial blog posts each year, but it hasn’t prepared me for this. Last night, I resisted Laura’s encouragement to get some sleep because it was the very last day my mother had been alive and I didn’t want that day to end. But sleep I did and woke up today to a completely different world, unlike any day I had experienced in 51 years, 3 months, and 20 days. A day where she was gone, hopefully reunited in whatever way with her much beloved father who died in 1969.

My mother was a good Catholic in the sense that she practiced kindness and love. She knew every hymn to the Blessed Mother by heart and sang them to comfort herself when she was scared or anxious. She believed in the best parts of Catholicism and stepped away from the tarnished parts.

My mother wasn’t phased that I was gay. She adored Laura.

She loved going out to eat, her seasonal rotation of purses, getting her hair done every Saturday, and Steelers games. She loved salads of all sorts, musicals, and taking car rides to anywhere – she didn’t drive and she was a horrible navigator. But she was always up to copilot.

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Our relationship was not easy because of the trauma and pain we both experienced, an added layer of anguish this terrible day. If you believe in prayer, please pray for the peaceful repose of her soul as she still considered purgatory to be a real place. When someone we knew died, she would pinch me to remind me to pray for the repose of their soul. And she deserves peace in the afterlife that she was denied here on Earth.

She never understood what a blog was, but she liked that I did collections to help “the poor and needy” to use her dated but well-intended words.

Friends received 9-11 A.M. Tuesday ONLY at the THOMAS L. NIED FUNERAL HOME INC. 7441 Washington Street, Swissvale. Service will be held at the funeral home on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m.

She didn’t know that I established Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities but we’ve set up a fund in her honor – Kerry’s Kitten fund. In lieu of flowers or cards or casseroles, please consider a donation in her memory. To help our neighbors, four footed and two. To celebrate the piece of my work that she understood and valued.

This photo is from her June 1969 wedding. I’ve carried it around with me since high school. I always thought she looked like a princess. But she was devastated that day because her own father had died a month earlier. That mixture of sweet and sad clouded her life.

And now I understand how she felt on that day.

My father and mother at their wedding, June 7, 1969


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