This was a tough day to get through. We lost my mom two weeks ago and it was hard to know I couldn't see her today. We went to church and then took flowers to the cemetary. It was sad, but I got through it with no tears, and I know she'd be proud of me.
At 94, my mom had lived quite an amazing life. At least it seemed amazing to me. She was born of immigrant Italian parents who came through Ellis Island, before WW I. I remember when 9 years ago, how excited she was to see the dawning of a new century and new millenium. Having lived on a family farm and through the Great Depression, she was the queen of recycling before it was ever cool. We didn't throw things away because we, or someone we knew, might need them someday. That trait often drove me nuts, especially when I had to try to clean the house, but I find I now have to fight the urge to keep "stuff" just because I might need it someday.
My mom was a young wife and mother during the hard WWII years (I was a boomer and came along later.), and she worked in the war plants, keeping the family farm from falling into foreclosure. She cared not only for her children but her parents and worked while the men were away, just as so many women of her time did. She later raised her daughters as a single mother when she was widowed, and she did a pretty darn good job of it! She was the mother of three, grandmother to 14, great-grandmother of 38 and great-great grandmother of 14.
Mom taught us lots of valuable lessons such as:
No one is better than you, and you're no better than anyone else.
Perseverance is next to godliness, and the only way you fail is if you don't try.
Go through the water where it is the shallowest (or as they say today, take the path of least resistance.)
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
You don't need money to be happy, but it helps.
They're lessons that have served me well in my writing life, and I know she was always proud of my accomplishments. She taught me the love of reading, and I will always remember how we loved our romance novels. Mom loved the gothic romances of Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney, as well as Barbara Cartland's regencies. She read the inspirational novels of Janette Oake and Catherine Marshall's "Christy," but also the Appalachian crime mystery novels of Sharyn McCrumb. I remember she would often read until the wee hours when a book was too good to put down, and I don't know how many times she'd read the Bible. When her eyes failed her in recent years and she could no longer read, it was a huge loss for her. Now that she's in heaven, it's my sincere hope that there are plenty of books, and she can now read them all to her heart's content.
So here's a heartfelt wish to all the amazing women who went before us--Happy Mother's Day, and may we your daughters be as strong as you were in facing whatever life gives us.
May 10, 2009