A Tribute To Mom

My mom passed away on Monday.  She was 86 years old.  Truth be told, the last few years of her life were filled with too much suffering.  For that reason, I’m actually “glad” she’s at rest – and finally at peace.  Remarkably, despite my having spent the past 54 years sharing it, I know very little about my mom’s life – I mean the parts that really matter, the matters of her heart.  She, not unlike my dad, was always very circumspect when it came to revealing those things about herself  (e.g., what her childhood was like (aside from her telling us generally that, tragically, she lost her mother when she was very young, as well as a few of her siblings), what she was like as a teenager and young adult, what her dreams and aspirations had been, what were her greatest joys and disappointments in life, what she thought about in her quiet moments, etc.).  She was a very private woman, but I often sensed she had a troubled soul, one that wished it could find a way to “better” express itself, one that longed to be more transparent, more vulnerable.  Only now am I beginning to realize and process what are apparently some very complex (and strong) emotions that I have regarding my mom and my relationship with her.  It will be interesting to see where that journey leads – to say the least.  In the meantime, I can’t help but feel many of the same emotions I did the day I stood in the circular drive at Mobile Hall, my freshman dorm at Spring Hill College (in the Fall of 1976) and watched my mom and dad drive away – more than a little lost, scared and sad . . . Only this time, I realize they’re not coming back.

May 7, 2001

Dear Mom,

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I would take a moment and THANK YOU for being a good Mom – something I’m not sure I’ve ever really done and something I realize neither this note or any Hallmark card could ever adequately do.

I suppose it takes years of actually being a parent to fully understand all the things that are required to be a good one – the self-sacrifice, the patience, the understanding, the boundless energy, the commitment – all things that you (and Dad) consistently exhibited throughout our lives.

Were there things we wish you had done or not done or handled differently? Probably.  But one of the neat things about “growing up” and becoming a parent ourselves is that we get to try a different way of doing some of those “things” on our own children and, I suspect, more often than not discover that our parents’ ways of doing them may not have been “so bad” after all!

Were there things we wish we had done differently – well, truth is, there are lots of those too!  And, at the top of that list, at least for me, is a wish that I’d taken the time to say THANK YOU more often . . .

Thank you for caring.

Thank you for supporting.

Thank you for making sure we always had a meal ready when it was time to eat.

Thank you for making sure we got to school on time and understood the importance of timeliness, attendance and education.

Thank you for ensuring that we had a neat and clean house to come home to.

Thank you for applauding our successes.

Thank you for listening when we needed to vent.

Thank you for keeping us mostly out of trouble and pointed in the “right” direction.

Thank you for being involved.

In short, THANKS for being a GOOD MOM!

Love,

Me

Rest in peace Mom and say “hi” to Dad if you happen to see him.  I miss him.

 

6 thoughts on “A Tribute To Mom

  1. Woah. You really changed course. I pray that you will find peace. Its good to process all of this and come to terms with it. My heart feels for you. I dont remember the 2001 letter. That was a beautiful gift that must have been hard to give. You are a good man.

    From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.

  2. I’m sorry for your loss, Don.

    Your reflections on the life of both your father and your mother are tender and heartwarming, but tinged with the sadness of unanswered questions. I have many of the same questions about the life of my father, who passed away in 2009, and although we were close (especially towards the end), I remain with so many questions about his life I wish I could ask him, but will never know.

    It’s comforting to know that your daughter, Don, will have a deep insight into your thoughts, hopes, and dreams through your book, Dear Ashley. I could think of no greater gift to someone you love.

  3. Thank you, Elad for your kind words and for sharing. I too am sorry for the loss of your dad and for your unanswered questions. Much of the reason I wrote the book and am writing this blog is so that Greg and Ashley (and others in my life) will not have those questions about me. My “secondary” hope is that, along the way, they (and others: friends, family and complete strangers alike) will benefit from some of what I’ve experienced and learned – often the “hard” way. It’s an interesting journey to say the least!

  4. Don, I am so sorry for your loss. The letter you wrote to your mom was very touching. I hope your book inspires more people to open up with each other about all of those unanswered questions so we can all find a sense of peace in our relationships. I was lucky to have spent a lot of time with my mom and I got to know her very well. But in the last days of her life I heard so many stories from friends and family that I had no idea. I guess there is always more we could know.

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