Posted by Kathleen Pooler/@kathypooler
” All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States.
Mother’s Day has come and gone and I feel blessed that I shared it with my own mother this year. She lives 200 miles away but I managed to convince her to come for a two-week visit and she agreed.
Mom is 90. She still lives in her own home of 57 years, goes to the local senior center for Zumba classes twice a week, volunteers at the local food bank and visits the “elderly” in the neighborhood.
Truth be told, I have a hard time keeping up with her.
When my husband Wayne and I walk through her front door after a four-hour trip to visit her, the pungent aromas wafting from the kitchen entice us to walk right over to the oven where steaming trays and pans reveal the delicious meal that awaits us. No matter how many times we offer to take her out or make the meal, she insists on preparing a feast.
Is it any wonder that hunger strikes as soon as any of us steps foot into her home?
My three siblings and I look on in gratitude for how well she is doing and how fortunate we are to still have her with us. Her ten grandkids call her “Grambo”, her four great-grandkids call her “GiGi”, and her four kids call her amazing.
We all know things can change in a heartbeat. That makes our time with her now all the more precious.
When my dear father died in November of 2010, she lost the love of her life. We didn’t know how she would handle not having Dad around. Married for 67 years, they were high school sweethearts who were genuinely devoted to one another for their entire married lives. My siblings and I are the beneficiaries of their love and devotion. It wasn’t that they never had problems or disagreements; it was how they always seemed to work together to make it work.
How do you let go of a love like that?
After Dad died, I noticed she started writing notes to him on pieces of scrap paper stuffed inside the books or magazines she was reading. Here’s a short excerpt ,with Mom’s permission, from 11/28/2011:
” My Darling,
Yesterday marked a very sad and memorable day. One whole year of being without you. I miss you more now that time goes on. We both didn’t realize what a beautiful relationship we had…”
With all my love and memories,
So I bought her a journal with a pastel vintage print cover and a pink rhinestone clasp. Now she writes to her “Prince” updating him on family events and pouring out her thoughts and feelings.
One day during her visit, I saw her on the front porch, deep in thought, as she wrote in her journal:
She writes when she’s happy. She writes when she’s sad and lonely. She shares her longings and frustrations.
I know she has bad, sad, lonely days like we all do but the journaling helps her to honor the love they shared and move on.
Mom has taught me so many life lessons that guide me through each day, not the least of which are:
Unconditional love…”I’ll always be in your corner.”
Boundaries … ” If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will respect you”
Grace in the face of loss…” What will be , will be. Accept it and move on.”
Faith...” Your faith will get you through.”
Coping… “ A nice, hot bath can cure just about anything.”
This poem written and read by my daughter, Leigh Ann for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary (1993) sums up the circle of love Mom nurtured in our family:
I Love You Because…
I love you for who you are because you are you and
that’s what makes you special.
When you laugh, I love you because you make me laugh.
When you’re sad, I love you because I hate to see you sad.
When you’re around, I love you because my heart opens for you.
When we’re apart, I love you because when I think of you, I smile.
Never forget, I will always love you
because you have taught me to love.”
Thank you, Mom, Grambo, Gigi. You are a treasure and we love you!
Your circle of love ripples out from you to all of us.
You have taught us all how to love.
How about you? What lessons have you learned from your mother?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comments below~
Announcement: Congratulations to Susan Weidener. Your name was selected in a random drawing to receive a copy of Nancy Stephan’s memoir, The Truth About Butterflies.
This Week: I’m also over at Pubslush with an interview about Memoir Writer’s Journey. Hope you’ll join me over there too.
Next Week: Memoir Author Janet Givens discusses “The Challenges and Rewards of Writing a Peace Corps Memoir.”