Remembering My Mom

family photo
It’s been two years since my Mom died. It seems like she’s been gone a lot longer than that. Maybe because the last couple years of her life, the Mom I knew seemed to be fading away.

Although, my Mom hasn’t consistently had one way of being. The Mom I see in photos before I showed up looked adventurous, glamorous, fun, and happy.

Mom and car
Mom and Eleanor

My Mom is on the left. I love the dress and the pearls
(and the mischievous look).

Once I came on the scene, she still looked happy in photos. Doesn’t everyone? But she wasn’t so happy off camera.

Mom holding me

My Dad wasn’t so nice to her. Sometimes she retaliated by not being so nice to him. Sometimes there was yelling in our house. But mostly there was the “silent treatment”. Which was worse than the yelling.

Mom and Dad

After my Dad died, my Mom became kind of wild again. Well, as wild as you can get in your 60s. She did a lot of bus trips with the local senior citizens group. All her widowed friends went along. She was happy then. And it was the first glimpse I got of her quirky sense of humor.

But then her health went bad. She had rheumatoid arthritis that so disfigured her hands and feet that I don’t know how she even walked. She didn’t say much about it, but she was in a lot of pain. (I saw the wincing.)

Then she got a wound that wouldn’t heal and eventually led to her being in a nursing home because I couldn’t keep up with the care.

During the year that I spent running to her house one to three times a day to clean and bandage her wound, wash clothes, buy groceries, clean her house, and take her to her 3 doctors, my Mom, seeing how worn out I was, asked, “Do you think God is punishing you or me?”

While my Mom was in the nursing home, I wrote down some of her observations that struck my funny bone, such as:

Mom: “They keep making me walk backwards in physical therapy. Why?! I don’t ever walk anywhere backwards! I wouldn’t walk backwards even if I was on the road to hell!”

Mom: Talking about a priest that visited her. “He’s so nice and so good looking. And he really talked to me about stuff. Ya know, not just about God.”

Me and Mom: I asked Mom why they kept moving her ‘roommates’ out of her room at the hospital. “Are you partying too much? Too noisy?” I asked. Mom answered, “Well, I do have a lot of male visitors.”

Mom: “They brought Ella’s food and I started laughing. She asked me, ‘What are you laughing about?’ And I said, ‘Look at your plate.’ Ella says, ‘What? It’s mashed potatoes and gravy. What so funny?’ She couldn’t see that the two mounds of mashed potatoes looked like boobs. Those women have no sense of humor.”

Mom and me

And, of course, I couldn’t resist a poem. When my Mom visited our house about four years ago, she kept looking around, her mouth agape, and said, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe how wonderful your life turned out!” There were tears in her eyes for cryin’ out loud. So…

Mom, sorry to tell you
happily every after didn’t last.
True love it appears
Is a thing of the past.
Good for today
As long as it’s fun.
But when there’s no party
Well, then we are done.
I can hear your cautions
Though I try to keep them at bay,
“Don’t smile too much,
Someone will take him away.”
Motherly wisdom
You’re not here to provide.
But it’s best you don’t see this
Change in the tide.
Don’t cry for me Mom
or shake your head.
I’m happy in my adventure
There will be no fear or dread.

I love you and miss you Mom.

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  1. What a touching post. I love the old pictures of your mom. And the stories from the nursing home really showed her spunk and humor! They made me smile. What a wonderful tribute to her. The poem was very sweet. I am sure your mom would want you to be happy, regardless of your marriage.

  2. What a beautiful poem, and wonderful tribute to your mother. If she were still here, she would be so proud of you. She’s now an ANGEL watching over you!

  3. Mary…a very sweet post and a beautiful poem. I was glad to read that you are “happy in your adventure.” Everytime I read your posts it is very apparent that you are getting stronger and stronger. I for one, am very proud of the progress you have made.

    By the way, when you do your big writing project (have you started?) what will you write about?

  4. What a sweet tribute to your Mama. She sounds as if she were quite a spirited lady. I loved the comment about the male visitors. Heehee! You can tell how very much she is missed.

    God bless you and let you feel her love inside when missing her. Have a blessed evening!!!

  5. Thanks. I always looked forward to the next off the wall thing she might say. It was hard towards the end when she didn’t have as many witty remarks and became more uncertain of herself. The way she was always complimenting people who worked at the nursing home and never complaining, she was really remarkable.

    Lori – The NaNoWriMo challenge starts November 1 and runs through that whole month. A friend and I met last night and are gearing up and clearing our schedules for that month. I have no idea what I’m going to write about yet.

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