A mother’s love is a blessing


When he was a kid, Bill Wright spent a lot of time at Children’s Hospital. He’d wake up after a surgery, groggy, his mouth dry, his eyes heavy. But whenever those eyes opened he saw the same thing: his mom.

Marge Wright didn’t drive at the time, so getting to the hospital meant taking the bus from her home in Malden to the old Everett Station. She’d take the Orange Line train to Haymarket, then a Green Line trolley to Longwood. Then she would sit all day next to her son’s bed.

She never complained. And neither did Bill.

The doctors advised Marge and Frank Wright that their son Bill was too sickly to play sports. Marge and Frank Wright smiled and nodded and signed Bill up for Little League. The doctors said contact sports were absolutely out of the question. They signed Bill up for youth hockey.

As a kid, Bill Wright loved to take things apart and put them back together. He was inquisitive, a built-in excuse for his siblings, Frank Jr., Kathy, and Mary Ellen.

“If something was broken, we’d say, ‘Billy did it,’ even if he didn’t,” his sister Kathy said.

It was no surprise then that Bill Wright found his niche as a machinist working with MIT inventors at Arthur D. Little, now TIAX, in Cambridge.

He remained close to his mother, and they’d egg each other on to try new things. Marge Wright learned to drive in her 50s. As he approached middle age, Bill Wright took up the fiddle and became quite good at it.

And when, seven years ago, Marge Wright’s body began to fail and she went into a nursing home in Melrose, it was Bill’s turn to sit at her bedside.

Even as her body declined, Marge Wright’s mind remained sharp, and she smiled whenever she saw her Bill come through the door.

About two months ago, 52-year-old Bill Wright started feeling lousy. A diagnosis was elusive, and when it finally came, last month, it was devastating. He had a particularly aggressive cancer. The doctors told him to get his affairs in order.

As heartbroken and concerned as they were for their brother, Bill’s brother and sisters worried about the effect his sudden failing health would have on their mother.

Marge Wright had served in the Marines and was as tough as they come.

She lived through a flu last year that wiped out many of her friends at the nursing home. But losing her son was another matter.

Two weeks ago, Bill Wright’s brother and sisters took him to see their mother at the nursing home and they had dinner together. It was obvious Bill was fading.

When they were all leaving, Bill took his mother’s hand and said, “Okay, mother, take care. I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.”

Within a few days, Bill could no longer walk and his siblings brought him to the Sawtelle Family Hospice House in Reading.

Last week, Frank, Kathy, and Mary Ellen were keeping vigil over their brother at the hospice when they got a call. It was Marge Wright’s nurse.

“Your mother has taken a turn for the worse,” the nurse said.

Bill Wright had earlier twice asked Frank not to let their mother die alone, and Frank thought the plea odd, because of course they would never let their mother die alone, and in any case, she was doing fine at the nursing home.

It was as if Bill somehow knew.

On Saturday night, Frank Wright was sitting at his brother’s side in Reading while his sisters were 5 miles away in Melrose, sitting with their mother.

Bill died first. Marge died four hours later.

They will be buried together, Bill in an urn tucked into his mother’s casket, at a cemetery not far from the house in Malden where Marge Wright once hugged her young son Billy, just home from the hospital, and told him he could be anything he wanted to be.

Kevin Cullen is a Boston Globe columnist.

© 2013 The New York Times

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Obama’s hard stance on ISIS a long time coming

    Listening to the president’s address to the nation regarding the crisis with ISIS or ISIL if you prefer, I was struck by the lack of indignation in the president’s presentation. Where was the visible anger, the fist-pounding oratory that made it clear in no uncertain terms the nation would not tolerate this threat to our interests and, for that matter, humanity?

  • D.C. government guilty of abusing drivers

    “You are guilty until you have proven yourself innocent. … That has worked well for us.”

  • Domestic violence puts some women on the path to incarceration

    Domestic violence is a hot topic right now — a conversation being fueled by what we’ve witnessed inside a fancy hotel elevator and on the stage of the Miss America pageant.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category