Reflection of a Mother
I suppose we spend a great deal of effort and energy throughout our lives differentiating ourselves from our parents. Sure, there are the children that almost always want to be like their parents when they grow older, but invariably, children reach an age when they want nothing more than to be seen for who they are and what they have accomplished. It was at that moment that I decided that I was a different person from either of my parents and was a separate person.
My mother has always been a kind person. Oh yeah, I’ve seen her at what well may be her worst when one of us children misbehaved, a testament to the fact that she was a human being. Nonetheless, my mother was a giving person with a world of imaginative stories to tell. While we were never a family of means, per se, we were never without basic essentials or entertainment. It would be entirely unfair of me to write these words and not include the anecdote of my parents donning a concoction of Bisquick and food coloring to emulate fiendish ghouls. As much as we knew it was our parents under there, we were scared all the same.
My mother has always had a flair for dramatics. Whether facing confrontation or creating it, she has told many a tale of excitement, misfortune, sadness, joy, and so many others. She has always been a spiritual person with a great love for God. In her final days, she told me of her guilt in not always insisting that her children go to church. I have no idea what she was talking about, since I ritualistically endured sermons from her about how I should have been in church. Regardless, my comments to her were of memories of always being aware of God and his place in my life. I have never known a time in my life when I was not aware of God, Church, Christianity, and Spirituality overall. I suggested to her that a relationship with God and the desire to attend church services are not one in the same. She, uncharacteristically, agreed.
With all that my mother faced in her short lifetime, she always seemed to rise as a phoenix out of ashes. Through many losses, she did seem to maintain a positive reflection, although as time passed her eyes told more of her story. We had many discussions about happiness and God’s wish for that in each of our lives. We talked at length upon my uncle’s suicide about choices that people make in pursuing happiness. His death was a shock and lesson to many in my family in coping with challenges. Mom and I both agreed that there are ways to cope with obstacles and vowed to never get to a low point without first counting the blessings that were bestowed upon us. It has always helped.
My mother, with all of her faults, was a loving mother, before all else. Did we always agree? Let’s not be silly. Of course we didn’t. Of the accomplishments that my mother achieved during her stay here, she was undeniably proudest of having mothered 4 children. She maintained a nice home and loved a wonderful man, and I know she loved her children. When we talked about serious things, Mom always reiterated how much she loved her children equally. Now, we kids have always joked about which one Mom loved more (of course, we’ve all had reasons as to why we were more perfect than the others), but the truth is that we have all always known about the equality and truth of our mother’s love.
You know, I guess the most important thing that I would like for people to know and remember about my mother is that, in her heart, she has never been a vindictive woman, and she has never had malicious intent. She was a human being during her stay, and that meant that she was sometimes angry, as are we all. The truth about my mother is that she endured a great deal to become the person that she was, and she died an early death.
As I write, I am saddened at her passing. I know that when she passed beyond our world, she was made whole, and her pain ceased. Even now, in my own sadness, I can see her nodding her head and whispering to me, “It’s okay. I’m okay. As soon as you get here, I’ll give you a hug.” We spoke of her reunion with family members who have passed before. As frightened as she was of entering into the unknown, she still smiled at the thought of seeing her own father again. She spoke fondly of the thought of spending time with her grandparents again. She spoke softly of seeing her brothers again.
We laughed. We cried. We lived. Someone recently told me that we experience these losses if we live long enough and have a heart big enough to feel. I am here today with a heart big enough to feel and feeling like I have not lived nearly long enough to write in past tense of my mother. I have faith, though, and that faith gives me an inner strength to believe in that which cannot be seen by my eyes. Dear Quaker friends of mine speak in terms of holding someone in the light. I am comforted by my mother being no longer held in the light, but swaddled in it.
I have reflected here on my mother, and I wish to reflect her best in my own life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the great Moms out there! Tomorrow Begins Today.