my mother

Write something, anything…

Tonight there will be a full moon. Today is the day my mother died, nineteen long years ago. She was only 59. I was only 34. So young, the both of us. Fifty-nine seemed like such a long way off then, and here I am now, at fifty-three, wondering at the last nineteen years, each day so long in the living and yet the years speeding by. My son is 34. I look at him and try to imagine him motherless, as I became at his age.

It’s amazing that I still miss her so and often wonder what life would now be like if she was here… Somehow I want to do something in her memory, but I’m not sure how…

Elisabeth J. White

Mom was a nature lover and avid bird watcher. One time she found a baby owl that lived in our bathroom for a while until it was ready for release. Our childhood was spent camping, canoeing, and hiking. She was a physical therapist and loved to read. If she wasn’t outside, she had her nose in a newspaper or book.

Her high school classmates said of her: “With charm of soul possessed by her, she rules herself.” So true. Until I left home, I was unaware of the “war between the sexes.” My parents had a true egalitarian relationship. Mom disliked cooking and it was unremarkable to me that Dad did the cooking and Mom mowed the lawn. They modeled interdependence and mutuality for me and my sister.

She loved her grandchildren, my children, and took each of them separately for a special week-long visit at Grandma’s before she was too ill to enjoy them. After her special visit, my then ten-year-old daughter declared her intention to move in with her grandparents. Her grandma gently explained to her that it wouldn’t be as much fun if she was living there full-time.

Mom didn’t have any sons, so she adored her grandsons, who were thirteen and fifteen when she died. My older son was her little shadow and loved following her around, helping to feed her chickens, weed the garden, pick vegetables for dinner, or whatever else they found to occupy themselves out there. There was a special bond between them and he took her death the hardest.

It’s kind of funny, Mom had no interest in art or interior decor. My sister and I, who have more of an eye for balance and color, were continually exasperated at how she arranged the furniture and how nothing seemed to go together. One day while Mom was at work, my sister took it upon herself to make new curtains for the kitchen, paint it and put down some pretty shelf paper. Mom didn’t seem to notice and merely shrugged when my sister pointed it out to her and asked her if she minded. We later learned that her mother, who was an artist, had tried many times to give her daughter a hand with the decorating, but her efforts were for naught.

Some things skip a generation, and if my sister and I are like our grandmother, my daughter is very much like my mother. Especially in the wanderlust department. Mom loved the adventure of travel, and as Dad puts it, she dragged him to Greece to live for a couple of years when an opportunity to do that presented itself. And they took trips out west and through Canada to explore another of her passions, the culture of Native Americans. They also took a trip to the Ukraine, the land of my father’s ancestors.

First Congregtional Church Cemetery, Harwich, Massachusetts

Yes, I still miss her and her Seminole skirt. Had she lived I’m sure we would have found her rumored New England Native American ancestor by now. Yesterday I immersed myself in genealogical research, which was an occupation we both enjoyed. My goodness, what would she think of all the online research now available? When she died she was learning to use the online genealogical bulletin boards that seem so primitive now.

Well, I could go on, but this is long enough. Somehow I think my mother knows that she may be gone, but is by no means forgotten. And that I’ve learned that all we have is now, and that when all is said and done, that is enough.

8 thoughts on “my mother”

  1. Oh, Barbara, thank you for sharing all that, and keeping your mother alive by allowing her to be real to more of us. She sounds remarkable, her life sounds remarkable. I am glad for you, and yes, now is enough. She is clearly part of your Now, and that’s quite real.
    Hugs, OM

    1. Thank you so much, OM – the older I get the more appreciation I have for the life she lived even if it seemed to be too short – things I took for granted seem wondrous to me now.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Julian. I have a feeling my mom would have liked you a lot and would have shared many of your feelings about Greece…

  2. Two quotes come to mind when I read about your love, appreciation and desire to honor your mother (and I see you like quotes)

    “Your capacity to love
    is your capacity to experience the I of another.”

    Walter Starcke

    “To recognize anothers inwardness
    is to have seen the sacred.”

    Peter Koestenbaum

    You have seen the sacred and recognised the I of your mother…this is rare Barbara…this is my hope that my daughter will feel that kind of love understanding and compassion for me when I am not in her presence. You have honored you mother well…be proud…and thank you for sharing some of your…I.

    1. Julie, from everything I’ve come to know about you already in so little time I feel sure your daughter will hold a very special place for you in her heart. In fact I’m sure she already does.

      I like your quotes! LOL – some have called me the quote goddess – just can’t help myself. Words are always spinning in my head, ever available for any conversation. (I cannot add, subtract, divide or multiply in my head, though – it’s a wonder I got out of elementary school. Selective memory…) Sometimes I try to curb myself but the quotes keep popping out! 🙂

  3. This is a beautiful post about a remarkable woman, your mom. She was full of life and love for her children and grandchildren. It saddens me to know that she was only 59 when she passed away. My mom is 68 now and I pray to God that she and my dad would be with us for many more years to come.

    Barbara, your mom will forever be with you through the contributions she made and through the people she has touched when she was still with you. It’s endearing that your daughter has some of the traits of your mom. You made a great post that showed how much you love and miss your mom, thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by here and for leaving your kind words, island traveler. I have to smile because my daughter, the adventurer, is now on Curaçao taking scuba diving lessons with her boyfriend. I know Mom is smiling because she also took scuba diving lessons when I was a little girl. 🙂

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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