Open Thread And Signs of Life


I just wanted to pop in and let people know that I’m OK. As an only child in a small family, I’ve had to take care of crazy amounts of detail to plan my mom’s funeral, etc., which will be next week. I’ll post her obit Friday.  I’m still wracked with grief, unable to do much besides plan things and cry.

As I finish the last few details and prepare for Thanksgiving, I wanted to thank all of you for your kindness, love, and support. This community is a major part of my world and, although I’ve been mainly absent this month, I plan to return to some sense of normalcy once we get into December.

Here is my mom, age 16, at her debutante ball at Versailles (AP photo, 1951). She had just graduated high school, awaiting the fall semester at Vassar. Not bad for a girl who was born in Idabel, Oklahoma!


Open thread, and Happy Thanksgiving to all. I’m off to the florist, printers, and grocery store.

107 replies
  1. 1
    danielx says:


  2. 2
    MomSense says:

    Sending peace and light to you, Alain.

  3. 3
    Just One More Canuck says:

    My best to you Alain

  4. 4
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Peace and light to you, Alain.

    If we can help in any way, let us know.

    Also my first Thanksgiving without a refrigerator. It died last week, and the closest thing I will have to a replacement will be Saturday, when I will get a used one.

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Your mother was beautiful. Been thinking of you, Alain, and hoping that you were healing slowly. I know this is a difficult time. Come back on your own timetable.

  6. 6
    Svensker says:

    Your mom was stunning. So sorry to hear about your loss — it is really hard to lose your mom. I still miss mine almost daily 25 years later. But the grief grows less heavy and the wonderful memories remain.

    Peace to you.

  7. 7
    Miss Bianca says:

    Wow, Princess Mom! : )

    Take care, Alain. You know you have a big fan base here.

  8. 8
    HeleninEire says:

    Glad to see you.

    Your mom was absolutely beautiful.

  9. 9
    realbtl says:

    Good to hear from you Alain. As another only child who had to go through the whole end of life stuff with my mom and aunt I sympathize.

  10. 10
    Antonius says:

    Oh man, Alain, I missed this news somehow. Very, very sorry for your loss.

  11. 11
    O. Felix Culpa says:

    She’s beautiful. What wonderful memories for you. Sending strength to you as you work through all the details.

  12. 12
    Spanky says:

    What Svensker said. And Uncle Joe, in a different way. You don’t exactly recover from loss, but you adjust to it.

  13. 13
    rikyrah says:

    Trump sex harassment accuser seeks campaign documents at court
    Rachel Maddow rounds up developments in political sexual harassment cases, including one of Donald Trump’s accusers asking a court to force Trump to hand over campaign documents.

  14. 14
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    What a lovely young woman!

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Mueller examining Kushner contacts with foreign leaders: WSJ
    Rachel Maddow relays a report from the Wall Street Journal that special counsel Robert Mueller is giving attention to Jared Kushner’s contacts with foreign leaders during the Trump transition.

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    Trump is going to publicly fight with as many black people as possible. It’s the closet he can get to fighting w/ Obama in his eyes.

    — deray (@deray) November 22, 2017

  17. 17
    eric says:

    Alain, I missed the news….I am so sorry and I wish your heart fond remembrances of your mother while you grieve her loss. She did well with you. Peace and light to you.

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    Trump aims to boost GOP gerrymandering advantage with census pick
    Rachel Maddow looks at how Republicans have successfully used gerrymandering to give themselves an electoral advantage, and how Donald Trump appears eager to extend that edge with, according to Politico, a census hire with no statistical experience but a zeal for partisan redistricting.

  19. 19
    Eric NNY says:

    She was stunning, Alain. Hang in there. Sending nothing but positive vibes your way.

  20. 20
    Leto says:

    @HeleninEire: Echo’ing this.

    Come back when you’re ready. Everyone will be here with open arms waiting for you. Sending peace, kindness, and posi thoughts your way.

  21. 21
    bystander says:

    Best thoughts, Alain.

  22. 22
    Don says:

    Good thoughts your way, and peace to her memory. From someone who actually knows where Idabel is.

  23. 23
    JGabriel says:

    So sorry for your loss, Alain. My condolences.

  24. 24
    Barbara says:

    Your mom was beautiful and the picture itself is stunning. Wishing you peace and happy memories through the holidays.

  25. 25
    Amir Khalid says:

    From what I know, 16 is young for a high school graduate. Your mother was as smart as she was lovely. Come back whenever you feel ready. Many of us here have been through this too, and understand that it takes as long as it takes. We look forward to welcoming you back.

  26. 26
    eclare says:

    How beautiful! Take your time coming back, we’ll be here, but thank you for the update.

  27. 27
    sharl says:

    Beautiful Mom is beautiful.
    It’s good to hear from you Alain. My condolences to you.

    [I still remember being in a numbed mental fog while working on arrangements for my Mom’s funeral almost eight years ago (at least we had professionals do the heavy lifting, and I’m glad we did that, and could afford it).]

    It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, because stating the obvious is my Superpower: do what you need to do and take whatever time you need to take; you’ll get a hearty welcome whenever you come back on a regular basis.

  28. 28

    Alain, you know I’m sending you big hugs. Your mom was beautiful and I am so sorry for your loss. Make sure to take time to take care of yourself during this. And we’ll be here for support, as needed. <3 [[hugs]]

  29. 29
    Ruviana says:

    Take care Alain. May you know peace. Come back when you are ready.

  30. 30
    Emma says:

    How absolutely beautiful and self-possessed she looks. You were so lucky to have her — and she, you.

  31. 31
    hedgehog the occasional commenter says:

    What a beautiful and accomplished woman–thank you for sharing her with us. As so many have said, peace and light to you. And from one only to another, my deepest sympathy and understanding.

  32. 32
    DCrefugee says:

    Thanks for checking in, Alain…

    December will be the 10-year “anniversary” of my mother’s passing. January will be the 20th year since my father passed, and like you, I’m an only child.

    That void can never be filled, but it does get smaller. So sorry for your loss…

  33. 33
    rikyrah says:

    Dismissal of key US attorney, Dana Boente, a mystery
    Rachel Maddow describes the close proximity of U.S. attorney Dana Boente to some of key players and moments in the Trump Russia investigation, making his abrupt dismissal by Donald Trump particularly suspicious.

  34. 34
    Doug R says:

    Lost my mom last month. Don’t be afraid to cry once in a while. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends including us here. Your mom is beautiful and it looks like she had a good life.

  35. 35
    JanieM says:

    Sad for you, Alain. Thanks for taking the time the check in and give us that picture — she’s so very lovely! As everyone says, it will take time to adjust to losing her, but the fact that you were so close is a treasure in itself.

  36. 36
    Planetpundit says:

    Always the best to you Alain, from another only with no living parents.

  37. 37
    Juju says:

    What a lovely picture. I missed the sad news about your mother. I’m so sorry. I can only echo what Don has said, I send positive thought and peace to her memory.

  38. 38
    rikyrah says:

    Senator seeks answers on suspicious timing of US attorney firing
    Senator Chris Coons talks with Rachel Maddow about his effort to get answers from the Trump administration on why key U.S. attorney Dana Boente was pushed out of his position.

  39. 39
    Fair Economist says:

    Wonderful picture. She must have been a wonderful woman. So sorry for your loss.

  40. 40
    kindness says:

    Condolences. I for one am very thankful for the site fixins that go on around here. Thank you. We wish you and your family the best in this dark time.

  41. 41
    sheila in nc says:

    The photo is Audrey Hepburn-esque. Just gorgeous. What a life to remember and treasure.

  42. 42
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    Belated condolences. I missed the news of your mom’s passing earlier.

  43. 43
    Gretchen says:

    I’d love to hear the story of how she got from Idabel to Versailles.

  44. 44
    SFAW says:

    Tres belle! Wishing you the best, Alain, may peace and light be with you.

  45. 45
    Drunkenhausfrau says:

    Wow! What Gretchen said. That must be a great story!

    May your beautiful memories bring you comfort in your sorrow.

  46. 46
    Nicole says:

    Alain, I’m so sorry. Thank you for checking in.

  47. 47
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Alain. What a great picture — she looks both proud and that she belongs there.

  48. 48
    SFAW says:


    Senator Chris Coons talks with Rachel Maddow about his effort to get answers from the Trump administration on why key U.S. attorney Dana Boente was pushed out of his position.

    No doubt The Turtle will launch a full-blown inquiry.

    Into Coons’s efforts, that is. ‘Cause he sure as heck will not have the Current Occupant investigated — at least, not until Turtle gets his War On America tax increase signed into law. And even then.

  49. 49
    Joy in FL says:

    I’m glad you checked in. The photo of your mother is lovely.
    May your grief be mixed with good memories and much kindness.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    Wow, your mom was absolutely gorgeous! I would also like to hear the story of how she got from Idabel to Versailles — if and when you’re ready to share it. In the meantime, be kind to yourself, and take comfort in the fact that your mom loved you very much and knew you loved her too. That’s important, and you get to keep that love — it is yours.

  51. 51
    spudgun says:

    Wow, your mother is stunning in that photo!

    So glad to hear from you today. I’m glad you’re hanging in there and making your mother proud. So very sorry for your loss…

  52. 52
    randy khan says:

    Such a lovely picture.

    While I know we all want you back, I think we also know you should take as much time as you need.

  53. 53
    Rosalita says:

    What a beautiful lady! I am so sorry for your loss Alain. Cyber (((hugs)))

  54. 54
    Leto says:

    @Gretchen: This; it sounds like she/they had a really interesting life. If/when he’s ready to share, a short bio would be cool.

  55. 55
    Johannes says:

    What a lovely picture, and what an intriguing life story your mother lived. You and she and your whole family are in my prayers.

    All the best to you from la Caterina and me.

  56. 56
    Starfish says:

    Glad to see you. This picture of your mom is beautiful.

  57. 57
    narya says:

    Sending kind thoughts your way. The first year is hardest–each holiday or anniversary that year is a fresh pain. I’m lucky in that my parents are both still alive (at 87 and 82!), but my sister died 34 years ago, and the first year was so difficult.

  58. 58
    GregB says:

    Condolences to you and your family Alain.

  59. 59
    martian says:

    She looks like a woman of lovely and graceful gesture. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  60. 60
    JanieM says:

    @Gretchen: @Betty Cracker: Thirding the request for some of your mom’s story, if/when you ever feel like telling it. I love hearing how people got from here to there to there to there….and how, for each of us, those many pathways of our forebears ended up with … us. Also on pathways, of course.

  61. 61
    J. says:

    Good luck with everything, Alain. And thank you for sharing that stunning photo of your mother. She was a beauty, and she has an amazing-sounding son.

  62. 62
    rikyrah says:

    Trump FCC would close internet with revocation of net neutrality
    Xeni Jardin, editor of Boing Boing, talks with Rachel Maddow about why net neutrality is key to preserving the openness of the internet and why the Trump administration is likely to face a lot of uncomfortable pressure to undo its decision to revoke it.

  63. 63
    MoxieM says:

    Such a lovely person–she must have been lovely inside as well, to have mothered you, Alain. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    I have no parents anymore, they’ve both been gone quite a while. I can tell you that the sharp edge of grief does pass, and you will hold on to the memories that matter. My dad died nearly 30 years ago, and I remember him fondly every day.

    Your mom and her sweetness will live on in you.

  64. 64
    Radiumgirl says:

    Peace be with you Alain. My condolences for your loss, and thank you for your work on this blog. I ready it regularly and find it a refuge amid the madness that is public discourse in America.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    #BREAKING: Ex-ethics chief files complaint accusing Conway of breaking law

    — The Hill (@thehill) November 22, 2017

  66. 66
    rikyrah says:

    How the net neutrality repeal could affect you

    — The New York Times (@nytimes) November 22, 2017

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    2️⃣ Read our blog on how to talk to your family and friends about the tax bill when politics inevitably come at the dinner table:

    — Indivisible Guide (@IndivisibleTeam) November 22, 2017

  68. 68
    rikyrah says:

    Kremlin scoops U.S. media on Trump Russia meeting, again
    Rachel Maddow points out the disturbing frequency with which Americans’ first notice about Donald Trump’s interactions with Russian president Vladimir Putin is from the Kremlin instead of the U.S. media, and wonders why that is.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    When Even the GOP House Leaders Said Putin Was Paying Trump
    by Martin Longman November 21, 2017

    As I was perusing the New York Times article on Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s woes, I was reminded that back on June 15th, 2016, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was captured on tape confiding with Paul Ryan, Evan McMullin, and others that he “swore to God” that Vladimir Putin was paying Rohrabacher and Donald Trump. When the recording leaked, the House leadership tried to explain it away by saying it was just an attempt at humor. But McCarthy was serious and Ryan immediately swore everyone present to secrecy.

    Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”

    Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

    The remarks remained secret for nearly a year.


    I want to do a little something here that I think will help you visualize the moment in time when McCarthy said Trump was being paid by Putin and Paul Ryan swore everyone to secrecy. That meeting occurred on 6/15/16, but I want to extend the timeline a bit in both directions so you can see what was going on and put McCarthy’s comments into their proper context.

    We’re going to be looking at a pretty consequential two-week period of time. It’s important to know that just prior to the start of our timeline here, on May 26th, Trump finally secured the majority of the GOP delegates he needed to win the nomination. Also, you should know that on June 3rd, WikiLeaks created the torrent for their insurance file which included the DNC hack. So, we know that WikiLeaks had the material by that date, even if the public would not see it until later. Also on June 3rd, Rob Goldstone first contacted Donald Trump Jr. by email, and offered assistance from the Russian government.

  70. 70
    geg6 says:

    Oh, Alain, your mother was just so lovely. My thoughts have been and will continue to be with you. Peace.

  71. 71

    Alain, my deepest condolences. I am 71, my dad died young, only 62, my mom made it to 82, but she has been gone for about 15 years now. After she died, I basically thought of my self as 60 plus year old orphan. When you have parents who cared for you so well, and whom you loved so deeply, it is hard to see them go.

    Oh, and I thought of you last week while upgrading my three WordPress blogs and MySql on my server for YET ANOTHER CRITICAL VULNERABILITY.

    Good that you have chosen such a stress free profession.

  72. 72
    MjOregon says:

    I am so sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing, Alain. What an amazing woman she must have been.

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Your mom was stunning, Alain! Glad that you’re getting through the pain of loss and seeing your way clear to honoring her by carrying on!

  74. 74
    Mel says:

    What a beautiful Mom. She has such grace and warmth and calm, dignified confidence in that photo! To be that person at just 16 years old – she must have been an amazing woman.

    Please, please take good care of yourself while you are taking care of the arrangements for your Mom, and afterwards. It’s hard sometimes to even think about the simple necessities in the face of such a loss, and all that happens so quickly afterwards.

    Rest when you can. Remember to eat regularly. Just know that you being well and looking after yourself as you find your way through this would be the thing your Mom would want above all else.

    You and your family are in my thoughts. My heart goes out to you all.

  75. 75
    glory b says:

    @sheila in nc: I was reminded of Heburn too!

    I lost my father two years ago in March. Like everyone here says, you will adjust, but the empty spot doesn’t go away.

  76. 76
    LaNonna says:

    Che bella! What a gorgeous picture, and again, condolences on her loss. I am jealous of others who get to know their parents as adults, both of mine were gone before I was a teen, some of that pain never goes away.

  77. 77
    Brachiator says:

    Great photo of your mom!

    My deepest condolences to you. Take care.

  78. 78
    FunLady75 says:

    lurker here….so glad to hear from you…best wishes

  79. 79

    Take care, Alain, and come back when you can. Your mother was beautiful.

  80. 80
    trollhattan says:

    Oklahoma to Vassar by way of Versailles, if I had a nickle for every time I’ve heard that I’d have five cents. I hope you’re finding peace Alain, as others have said the feelings don’t ever leave but they do eventually take their place in a kind of new normal. When the time comes I do hope you’re able to share your amazing mom’s story.

  81. 81
    middlelee says:

    What Gretchen said. I’d love to read your mother’s story Alain. She was beautiful and obviously accomplished and raised a gentle, kind man whose BJ contributions I always look forward to.

  82. 82
    Lizzy L says:

    Alain, I wish you peace and comfort in this difficult time. May your memories of your mother be a blessing in your life.

  83. 83
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    Alain, stay strong, laugh, cry, and try to be the man and live the life your mother would want for you.

    Your work is appreciated! But BJ will be here when you get back. You may have other priorities for a bit.

  84. 84
    mvr says:

    My condolences Alain. Loosing a parent is not an easy thing. I hope the kind and grateful thoughts of the people here will be of some comfort.

  85. 85
    Ben Cisco says:

    Good to hear from you, Alain. So very sorry for your loss. Please take care of yourself.

  86. 86
    Tazj says:

    Your mom was gorgeous! Like others here, I look forward to hearing about her life, if you want to share.

    Take it easy and take care of yourself and your family, you know your mom would want you to.

  87. 87
    blackcatsrule says:

    I saw the picture before reading even the title of the post, and thought it was Audrey Hepburn. I look forward to reading her obituary; I’m already fascinated by her life just from this post!

    Good thoughts continue to go to you, Alain.

  88. 88
    dww44 says:

    @Juju: I, too, missed the news of your Mom’s death.So sorry for your loss. My Mom died 6 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t remember a special saying of hers nor recall a vivid memory of her when she said it. May your memories all be good ones.

  89. 89
    suezboo says:

    That last snip of the umbilical cord is the one that hurts. All sympathy to you, dear Alain.

  90. 90
    Elie says:

    I wish you healing but also the awareness of how the love you have for your mother is eternal – and what that means. What “no end” means as the energy of it continues to light your life. Peace. You are so fortunate, as I have been, to have this

  91. 91
    The Lodger says:

    Thanks for checking in with us, Alain. We’ll all be here wishing you peace and love.

  92. 92
    Kristine says:

    What a beautiful photo.

    I haven’t been keeping up, and missed the sad news about your mother. Heartfelt sympathies.

  93. 93
    ellie says:

    Oh Alain, she was beautiful. I am sorry for your loss.

  94. 94
    tobie says:

    Alain, Your mother looks absolutely ravishing in that photo. I hope you will tell us the story that goes with the picture some day. For now I send you my condolences. Enjoy the memories, your mother’s spirit lives in you that way.

  95. 95
    Zoey2020 says:

    Condolences, Alain, on the loss of your beautiful mother. I love the photo, one delicate foot poised just above the step, as if life itself was waiting for her: perfect!

  96. 96
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Sorry to hear of your Mum’s passing, Alain. Sending warm thoughts your way. She was gorgeous.

  97. 97
    StringOnAStick says:

    Peace and love to you. i know from stories you have told that she both loved you deeply and was very proud of you; you’re a good son. We’ll be here when you are ready to return and we are hopefully some support for you as you need it.

  98. 98
    H.E.Wolf says:

    You and your mother have been much in my thoughts these past weeks. My deepest sympathies to you – may the memories of your wonderful mom be a blessing to you always.

  99. 99
    Mary G says:

    I’m very late to the thread, but just wanted to let you know your mother looks so composed in that photo that it makes me laugh knowing what a mess I was at 16. The first and second holidays after a loss are so hard. My mom died on Oct.22 and I don’t even remember that Thanksgiving, but the Christmas and the Thanksgiving of the next year were tough.

  100. 100
    gammyjill says:

    Alain, I’ll echo the thoughts of many of the posters here. Your mom was beautiful and I’m sorry for your loss. Come back when you’re ready.

  101. 101
    father pusbucket says:

    So sorry for your loss, Alain. Your work here is much appreciated.

  102. 102
    Suburban Mom says:

    What a beautiful and exceptional woman! I am sorry for your loss and wish you healing and peace.

  103. 103
    Denny says:

    Very sorry to hear of your mothers passing. I grew up in OK and didn’t even need to check a map to know where Idabel was.

  104. 104
    Argiope says:

    I’m late to this thread, but de-lurking to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, Alain. As so many others have said, your mother must have been extraordinary. Seems like this went quickly from a diagnosis to her passing; you must be reeling. Please take time to care for you, and know that many jackals you’ve never met– but have nevertheless touched– are holding you in the Light.

  105. 105
    stinger says:

    She is so beautiful. What an interesting life she must have led! I hope some day you’ll share more stories. I’ve been thinking of you as the holiday season approaches, Alain, and wishing you peace.

  106. 106
    J R in WV says:


    Repeating everyone else’s condolences. Now that I stop and compute, my Mom died 20 years ago last month. My Dad died in November 2004, on election day, so 13 years ago this month. I’m 66 now, with a gray beard, and many younger folks want to cal me Mr Lastname. For a while I would look around for the father/uncles named Mr Lastname, but I got over that.

    The pain fades, but the memories never do.

  107. 107
    Jane2 says:

    What a lovely picture of your mom. Condolences to you.

Comments are closed.