a memorial to my mother

May 19, 2020



My mother passed away this Mother’s Day, May 10, after four occurences of cancer over the years and its final metastasis. To say that she fought valiantly and positively against cancer would be a great understatement. Even toward the end of her life she remained a positive force.

Carol Deebach was born June 7, 1940, in Dayton, Ohio, to Robert and Margaret Deebach. She was the 11th generation of her family in the United States tracing her roots back to the Plymouth Colony in 1631. After moving to California, she met my father in San Francisco and became Carol Savoca. They moved to San Diego county where I was raised.

Throughout my life my mother was a solid rock for me. Although my father didn’t believe becoming an aikido teacher was possible in this world, my mother supported my dream and often ran interference for me with him.

She had an amazing spirit of positivity, grace, courage and fire. Her grandmother was an especially devout figure in the Christian Science church in the early 1900’s, and their tenet of positive thinking contributed to my mother’s strong can-do attitude.

The agreement between my father and mother was that my sister Elizabeth and I were to be raised Catholic our entire life after being allowed to go to Christian Science church with our mother for our first six years. This arrangement had the effect of leading me to question much-- seeing my father absolutely believe in this way, and my mother believe in another way, produced a strong spirit to try to understand what this life is. It was often difficult growing up, trying to grasp why my mother didn’t go to mass with us. This difficultly led me to search most of my life for answers to life’s questions. And later I understood the principles I had been taught as a very young boy from my mother’s faith—specifically, that negative thinking is not to be embraced, and that Mind is everything. Very rarely did my mother complain. Even in later years, when her suffering grew, she still went out with friends, was concerned for her children, and continued her life-long work of volunteerism.

She supported me and our dojo through countless positive words, sound advice, and financial donations. Without her tireless efforts toward me, as was true for my father in a much different way, our school would not exist.

Really, though, none of the above captures what my mother means to me. The retired abbot of Prince of Peace monastery said it much better to me at my mother’s funeral: the loss of a mother is different than any other loss.

Everyone comes to this existence through a mother. I am so grateful for my gift of life, for being able to walk this earth for a brief time. It is my mother, with her boundless compassion and grace, that made this possible.

I will miss you, Mom. All my love-

Robert R.D. Savoca May 18, 2020 Brooklyn, New York