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  • Tim McGill

This Meteorologist's Mom

Mom and me on vacation in Wisconsin

I made it through my first hurdle of "firsts". My first Mother's Day without my mom. Next up is my first birthday without mom. The big holidays lurk out there in the future too. None of these celebrations will be the same without her. She passed away a few weeks ago. The grief and sorrow come in ripples sometimes and other times it can crash like huge waves. Random things can trigger them. I hope the sadness that accompanies these periods will be replaced more and more with fond recollections and laughter as I recall her in my memories.

When people ask me why I became a meteorologist, she is the first thing to come to mind. She loved watching local news and especially watching the weather. She got me interested in the broadcast side to my career. Life seemed simpler then. There were three main channels and just two newscasts each night. She was just as interested in hearing the forecast as she was in the banter between the anchors and what they were wearing. Her favorite weatherman was Harry Volkman. His folksy, down to earth delivery and quirky but pleasant personality really appealed to her. I had the privilege of interviewing him on CLTV and she was able to call in live and share a story with us. She told Harry what a big influence he had on my career after a visit he made to my grade school when I was little.

Me and Harry Volkman. Harry was my mom's favorite weatherman.

A few years later she (and my dad) called up Bob Collins on WGN Radio and wished me a happy birthday. I was amazed that both times she was less nervous about being "on the air" than I was. Last but not least, her brush with broadcasting included a mention by Jonathon Brandmeier. We laughed about a Mother's Day card I had made for her when I was very young. The front of the card had a picture of a rose and said "you have the face of a rose". The card had a hole in it with the rose at the center. Opening the card revealed the rose was attached to an animal. Inside the card read "but the body of a horse". In hindsight it wasn't the best sentiment for that special day but it made her laugh. There was nothing I enjoyed more than getting her to laugh.

My parents and I outside of my first station in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
My mom and me in CLTV's weather office in Oak Brook.

She needed to laugh after raising me and my three brothers. She went on to have 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She spoiled everyone of us. Her generosity and kindness new no limits. She never met a stranger and wouldn't think twice about giving someone a hug she had never met before if she sensed they were having a tough time.

She worked for many years as a teacher's aide for children with special needs. Much later in life, she started a grief ministry at her church after my dad died. She comforted so many in their time of grief.

It's my family's time of grief now. We are comforted by knowing she was a woman of great faith and she has been reunited with our dad. Still there are moments when I forget she is gone and I slip back into my normal routine. I may be driving in the car somewhere and for a second I think about giving her a call. Then I shift back suddenly into reality and realize that isn't possible.

I look forward to my big family (that she made possible) getting together and sharing the many stories and memories of her we cherish. In the meantime, I plan on trying my best to honor her by being kind to others. That was one of her greatest qualities.

I love you mom. Please put a good word in for the Cubs and the Bears with the Big Guy.


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