Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 26, 2010

Homeland security starts at home. Sometimes a long time ago.

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on October 26, 2010

About 150,000 people die everyday.  Yesterday it was my mother’s turn to die.

She lived for 88 years, 2 months, and 20 days.

This is the earliest picture I have of her.

She’s a 12 year old girl, spending the day at the sea, somewhere in Wales, near the farm where she was born.

It looks like the day was gray and cloudy.

Like today.

The next picture I have comes from her World War Two days.  She was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.  I think she was 18 in this picture.

I was born – in England — when she was 22.  She told me about the days during the war when explosions from V2 rockets made me cry.

From the late 1940s through the 1970s, home for our Army family was mostly on the northeast coast of the United States.

From the 1970s through 2007, she lived in Florida and Louisiana.  She played competitive tennis into her mid 70s.

She got old after Hurricane Katrina.

She couldn’t take care of herself anymore.  My Oregon brother said he’d take care of her.

He and I rented a small RV in New Orleans and drove 2800 miles, nonstop, to her new home at the Oregon Coast, about 5,000 miles from the beach in Wales where decades ago a 12 year old girl posed with hands on her hips, blissfully unaware of a future life impossible to predict.

Friday was the last time I saw her.

My brother said he thought she might live a few more days.

When I kissed her forehead, I felt a warmth and strength from her skin that told me the woman who taught me to love books and language and independence would live much longer than that.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

October 26, 2010 @ 1:09 am

AS my most pure lineage is Welsh glad to see yours also. St. David’s Day always festive in my youth. We all only have one mother and often we don’t get the privilege of knowing them really well. Sounds like you knew hers so that is great. Also sounds like a long full life for yours and sorry for your loss. What was her maiden name and do you know where in Wales the picture was taken? Naturally the Prince of Wales is invested in one of the Cinque Forts. Those NORMAN’s really did like to fortify coastlines.

Comment by Comrade Misfit

October 26, 2010 @ 11:13 am

Please accept my condolences.

I take it that your mother married an American soldier?

Comment by Sarah Chapman

October 26, 2010 @ 11:15 am

My deepest condolences on the passing of your mother. Should my own sons make such a wonderfully heartfelt tribute when I pass on. Times such as ours and times such as hers test not only the strong and brave but us everyday citizens. You’ve made the point of homeland security, and rightly so, that we all are responsible for safety and we that we live to live and not live to fear.

Comment by Patrick Mahoney

October 26, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

This is a beautiful tribute. I am very sorry for your loss and I hope you find comfort, but I am also thankful to you for sharing this story and all the remembrance it stirs in all of us.

Comment by Markus (like the apostle)

October 26, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

Please accept my condolences,
but everyone has had a mother.

And this doesn’t look like a personal blog;



who’s uncle (who’s fought for freedom with the Nato) died on the 15.10.2010

Comment by John Comiskey

October 26, 2010 @ 9:48 pm


The life you live and share with the homeland security community is a tribute to your mother.


John C.

Comment by Condolences

October 27, 2010 @ 7:09 am


God Bless you, your brother and families and as the older folks used to say in my youth which I could not figure out until I reached my later years, “Cherish your memories….” and always know that your Mother is Blessed and safe in the Lord’s arms.

Take care –


*Thank you for your insightful contributions to this blog and to our Homeland Security….We are all stronger for your devotion to country as well as family which is inherent in your character and commitment to others!

Comment by Jason

October 28, 2010 @ 6:44 am

Chris – sincere condolences as to your loss. It is so hard to see our parents, who were so strong and guided us through our youthful adventures, get old and move on. Thoughts and prayers with you.

Comment by Vance

October 29, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

Chris, A wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. How proud she must have been to have as wonderful a son as you. She is in our prayers.

Comment by Hand Winch ·

November 3, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

new homes are actually cheaper in the long run compared to renting an old house or renovating a used home “”

Comment by Data Recovery

December 2, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

new homes these days are made of energy efficient insulations and most of them use environment friendly materials too ‘*:

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