Today my Mother would have been 90.
I never imagined my Mother dying. I thought she would just live and live, until the Lord returned. He had other plans, and I don’t argue with Him. I see His hand in her life, and in her death. I feel His comfort in my loss, though the missing doesn’t stop. As I watch my friends mourn their own mother’s, I know the missing never stops. Moms are just too much a part of us. We enter life listening to their heartbeat. They become the rhythm of our life. Their absence is always profound.
I have friends who did not have good mothers. Or, lost their mother very young. So, I know I was blessed to have a mother like mine, and to have her as long as I did. I am grateful for every minute we shared. I wish every memory was a good one, and I wish I had no regrets. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that way, when it comes to those loved ones we have “lost.” However, I am so grateful for what was good.
And, there was so much good.
- Saturdays when I was a kid, when I go with her on her visitation rounds, checking up on families from the church. We listened to classical radio as we drove up Slauson Boulevard. She made her rounds every week.
- When it was time for me to cook for her, I had to learn how to make fried eggs. I was so intimidated by this task, but I got pretty good. Of course, she never complained if they weren’t right.
- McDonald’s Filet of Fish. I think the first time I recall her eating them was in Hawaii. Always her favorite item on that menu. With fries, coffee, and an apple pie.
- Pink robes. Pink nightgowns. Pink slippers. Pink flowers. Pink t-shirts. Pink lipstick. She loved pink.
- She loved Christmas. She battled the blues during the holidays, but she never let the blues win.
- I started gardening, because she couldn’t do it alone anymore. It was one of the happiest days when we re-potted all the house plants. I will always be thankful for that day, for that gift.
- Babies were more than a delight to her: they were a sign of life. Her compassion for children was deep-seated, and only exceeded by her determination that they know Jesus.
- She was a leader, and she didn’t apologize for it. God bless her!
- She was outspoken with the truth. And, she didn’t apologize for that, either. She taught me that truth was worth dying for, her life was not more important than its defense.
- Her respect for the Holy Spirit’s anointing and His presence, and her desire to never offend Him, is something I am still learning to understand.
- Mother’s greeting cards were as reliable as the sun. She always remembered.
- Walking with her in Cleveland, when I was five. Talking. Telling stories. She walked me to school for years. She would take afternoon walks. She would walk to the bus to go downtown. I remember hiding from the wind in her coat.
- Mother loved hugs and kisses.
- She loved the underdogs. She noticed the people no one else paid attention to, and treated them like they were her best friends.
- Mother always walked.
- She was indomitable. Picture a blizzard. Snow already quite high. She insisted on making her walk to the corner, to mail her letters. I couldn’t believe what she was doing, but she would not be stopped. Seriously. It was a blizzard!
- She missed my Father the rest of her life without him. She could not bear to see pictures of him. Said it made her too sad. I understand that a little now.
- Sitting in her doctor’s office, when she received news that she likely had kidney cancer, I cried. I couldn’t help myself. She looked at me kindly, then said to the doctor, apologizing for my behavior: “She’s my best friend. We’ve been through a lot together.” I know she did not know I was her daughter in that moment, but I’m glad she thought I was her friend.
- We had some fun times in bathrooms. I never enjoyed that particular task (I don’t have her nurse’s matter-of-factness), but I learned how to do it and tried to keep it light-hearted, because I know she felt sorry she needed help. So, there were definitely some laughs. Surprisingly, some good times.
- There were moments when I could tell she was remembering a little more than usual. I am glad for those times. I never got tired of hearing her talk about Cuba.
- Preparing her trays. She appreciated all the little things. A new mug. A special pitcher for syrup. A pretty bowl.
- Her gratitude was abundant. I did not deserve as much as she gave.
- My Mother was so friendly. If it were up to her, she’d speak to everyone in a room. She was curious about people, and cared about them sincerely.
- She had a way of holding court. It was kind of cute.
- Mother made mistakes I want to learn from—mistakes that were just a consequence of life. I wish I had known her better.
- She was a lady. Always a lady.
- She worked as hard as anyone, and not being able to work hard was the hardest thing for her.
- When TV became too stressful, cooking shows became her favorites. Jaques Pepin and Lidia Bastianich were her favorites.
- Nothing meant as much to her as a good cup of coffee.
- She was devoted to her sons-in-law.
- Her many “adopted” children.
- She loved life, but she looked forward to eternity. I can’t wait to see her, again.
P.S. I know 32 is a weird number to stop on, but it’s just where I stopped. No meaning in it.