This is the unofficial, informal, somewhat improvised, often interrupted, obituary for Lorrain Annette Emerson, formally Lanseigne, known to many as Pete. Lorraine passed away early Sunday morning, February 9, at 2:30 am, surrounded by her surviving children, Scott, Lynn, and Ty. She had been living at Council Gardens in Cleveland Heights for the last four years where she fiercely enjoyed her independence, the occasional Red Sox-Indians baseball games, trips near and far, and new friends. She leaves behind her own siblings, Armand, Albert, and Anita, and Grandchildren, Aryn, Stephanie, Amanda, Jillian, and Jake, and Great Grandchildren, Jaidyn, Sophia, Taylor, Vincent, Ryan, and Chase.
Later, on the 8th, after some napping, we reconvened and began discussing writing an obituary. At one point it was suggested that Ty create a sing-a-long piece ala “follow the bouncing ball.” This was turned aside out of hand, but it started a conversation about memories of our mother and her life. We remembered, with our own perspectives the various things Mom did in her life. For example, we each remembered her time owning and operating a convenience store in Amesbury, MA called PETE’S VARIETY. Scott remembered how he would stay home “sick” from school, and Mom would take him to the store with her. He did this so he could sneak down and bowl at a local alley. It was mom’s place; her own place. We tried to recollect the year and thought we would research the town’s history to see if we could discover the sign’s font and have T-shirts made. A vicious card game ensued, and we knew Mom would have liked that.
A surreal time followed. Cleaning out her apartment, discovering little bits of her life tucked away in a drawer, remembering. The love she shared when teaching and playing games. The meals together, the concerts, the tattoos. The family cookouts and camping, in evidence in fun photographs propped up on her bureau. She kept every card she received and covered her fridge in magnets. There on the book case were the scrap books made by Lynn from their special vacations. At some point someone suggested we include a quote from a Rod Stewart song in her obit as a kind of inside joke. Rod was a particular favorite of Mom’s. But we could only come up with the “If you Want My Body,” song, and thought it might not be appropriate. We laughed. Mom would have laughed too.
More memories flooded: pool parties, tree houses, epic bicycling from Newton to Amesbury, Ty being staked down outside his sandbox, trips to Tennessee, to the mountains, the beaches, the lighthouses, her bucket list including a trip to Alaska, the various injuries she nursed, her herd of elephants, knitting and crocheting hundreds of hats for soldiers and children, putting miles on her favorite rocker reading book after book.
Mom was private, never wanting to be burdensome or bothersome. Always wanted to be useful, helpful. She was loved by many. Old friends and family from New Hampshire, and new ones from Cleveland, will miss her wit and wisdom as well as her baking. She wanted those things we did not take from her apartment to be donated to a women’s shelter, and would want any love offerings to be similarly made. She made her own final arrangements and organized all her papers. She wanted no services. No fanfare. But our time together, her children, in our remembrances, had our own private services.