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