A work that is not my own, but much appreciated. For those of you who survived Mothers’ Day and the grief that may have swamped you. Celenia Delsol is a gifted grief counselor and writes the bog, “A new normal”. Here is a link to her most recent podcast, simply click below:
Today is Mothers’ Day. It will be a different Mothers’ Day for all of us wishing to be near the women who have blessed our lives. Today I won’t be taking you on any far away tours but I invite you to enjoy the beauty that I see here at home. And I wish all you who are Mothers, all who nurture life, whether you wear the banner of “Mom” or not, a joyous day filled with beauty and love.
Happy Days are here and now, not in some “after things go back to normal” future. I wish you happiness, joy, peace. and all that is life-giving, all that is good.
I was so blessed. We all were, my siblings and I. In the words of Jan Arden’s song, Good Mother:
“I’ve got a good mother
And her voice is what keeps me here”.
Our mother left this plane of existence many, many years ago. Yet, I still hear her voice in my mind, and still feel her blessings in my heart. She had several health issues, including diabetes. At that point in time she was admitted to hospital to learn how to take insulin by injection. Ten days later she was gone. Just a couple of days after she’d been admitted we learned she had cancer. Liver cancer is known as the silent killer (at least it was at the time). She knew long before the diagnosis. At different points she had told me and my sisters her premonition, her deep instinct that her time was limited, that she believed she had cancer. We each struggled with that information; with the idea of her death, which was impossible to accept. Months later we would have no choice. Yet, it is not her death that left the most important imprint, but a lifetime of loving, living, giving, and caring for her family, but also for the community at large.
Mom was wise and insightful; understanding and compassionate. Family meant everything to her. She was devout but not dour. She sang a lot. She laughed a lot, too. She left us an example to follow, which is not easy sometimes. I could write so much more about all her positive attributes, but I think you get the gist of it. So, while I still miss having her in my life in a physical sense, I know she is always nearby, encouraging us as she always did. When I was visiting her in hospital one day she turned to me and said, “You’ll be all right, you know”. I remember answering, “Yes, I know, because I’ve had you”. That answer remains true today. And I will be eternally grateful for her care of me.
I was blessed with the best. I had a good mother, a woman who sacrificed much to ensure I had what I needed. But more than that I was blessed with two older sisters who cared for me, nurtured me, supported me, and loved me. I have been fortunate to know many loving and caring women in my life, but these three women are my rock, my foundation, and my heroes. They still are. I was chatting with a friend yesterday who had a very different experience with her mother and sister. I felt bad for her, but she made me think again of how blessed my life has been.
I cannot say enough positive things about the woman who gave me birth, and I have in past blogs, but today I really want to focus on my “big” sisters who gave so much of themselves and continue to do so. My Mom died many years ago, but the kindness and compassion that were the hallmarks of her character live on in all my sisters. My eldest sisters were my Mom’s constant help, often doing household chores and helping to raise us younger siblings. They helped with cooking, cleaning, and all the rest, but more than all that, they helped nurture and love us. I just wanted to write something to honour them all, for I am deeply grateful for all the gifts they imparted.
And then there is my younger sister, who, though younger, was also a very important part of my life and continues to be. She, too, is a loving, caring, and nurturing person. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and if I could have one wish it would be that all the kindnesses freely given to me by all my sisters would be returned to them a thousand-fold.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the nurturers in my life!
“Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is….and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” – Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm
Sacrifice is a word that just about sums up my mother’s life. Trying to describe her is a bit like trying to describe a beautiful colour, nearly impossible! Nevertheless, I want to honour my mother by telling some of her story – or I should say my experience of her as her daughter. Mom was tough, very strict in many ways. Yet, she was always fair, and often very soft-hearted, though she did her best to hide it. She raised nine children in a small house without running water or such luxuries as electricity for many years – or the benefit of an indoor bathroom. I could say I don’t know how she managed it (I don’t) but my older sisters and brothers helped – a lot! So while this blog’s focus is to honour my mother, it is also to give a nod to the sacrifices made by my siblings who shared in caring for us “little ones”.
One of my favourite memories is of Mom sitting on the floor with the three of us youngest ones and cutting out paper dolls for us to colour. She would look up from time to time at the mess a family of nine children can make and sighing say, “I really should clean this up”. But then she’d smile at us and continue telling us stories of her childhood and singing our favourite songs. She sang a lot. She smiled a lot – at us children, at my father, at the birds singing, at the waves out on the ocean, at the antics of our pets, at the flowers in the fields – it didn’t take an awful lot to bring a smile to her face. Although her life was far from easy she was a joyful person.
She had a lot of sorrow in her life losing several children in miscarriage and a little girl that was born but died a few weeks later. I remember her funeral and the sadness in my mother’s eyes. I remember the pride I felt when Mom brought her home from the hospital and allowed us to hold her for a few minutes. Mom always referred to her as “our baby”. I didn’t know then the depths of despair my mother sank into following her death. Yet even though she struggled with her grief she continued to take care of all of us.
She was a woman of great faith – in God and in her religion. Her spirituality included seeing God in all people and in nature. She was a champion of the underdog and all whom she believed to be wronged in any way.
When she was in her early 40s my parents decided to move the family across the country to Ontario, where work was more easily found. In the early years she took in borders, but later chose to go to work to help build a nest egg to buy a new home, which they did after a few years. Five years later my father would suffer a heart attack that would put him out of commission for nearly a year. Mom continued to work until seven years later when she learned she had cancer. Ten days after entering hospital and ten days before her 59th birthday she died. But even while she was facing one of the biggest challenges of her life Mom continued to be a source of comfort and peace for all of us. I remember commenting on her strength one day while I was visiting and she replied, “I’m not that strong you know”. I replied, “I know you are not made of stone, that’s why I’m here, why we’re all here”. However she seldom leaned on us, where she gathered her strength from I don’t really know, but I suspect it was the faith she carried throughout her life.
My mother died over 30 years ago, but her essence lives on in all her children and grandchildren. She left us a legacy of love that I hope will live on and on. Thanks for all the wonderful lessons Mom – both the hard ones and the sweet ones. You are not forgotten – and never will be.