When my mother died on Christmas Day in 2016, it left my wife and our siblings without any parents. So, on Mother’s Day, we must remember our mothers in past tense. Yet, they lived and made us who we are.
Our mothers were good people. They were pious and a friend to many. Both were heavily involved in their churches and tended to be the ones who helped organize food when someone passed away or for a monthly picnic. When my mother passed, the minister said she was the one he normally called to do things for the bereaved family. Now, he had to call someone else.
My mother was a teacher for years. She taught first and second grades and loved her kids. She was a substitute teacher after her children reached a school age, going back full time when it made sense. She also taught Bible Study Fellowship for years, so she was always planning to teach or teaching throughout the week. My mother learned to be a teacher at a small college in north Georgia called Berry College. She met my father there and they were married for almost 55 years before he passed.
My mother-in-law was a constant companion when my father-in-law would sing for the elderly or at hospitals. She ran a thrift store for the church and was a constant volunteer for just about everything. She met my father-in-law in Detroit, when many women traveled north to help the war effort during WWII. They returned to her home in South Carolina to farm and take care of her eldest sister who lived until the age of 99.
Both mothers had Alzheimer’s, the most hateful of diseases. It gradually robs people of their memories and they lose track of who people are, even themselves. They both could hide it well, as many do. As long as you did not ask them who people were, they knew you were on their team. Fortunately, they passed away before the lights went totally out on their memories.
I remember my mother-in-law singing with my father-in-law old 1940s and 50s songs in the back seat of our car as we drove back from a visit to my wife’s sister and her family in New York. It was dark which added to the ambience. I also remember her sitting on her glider chair on her back porch. She would stick one leg out, then switch legs as she glided and chatted.
I remember my mother in many ways. She loved crossword puzzles, as do I, so she was always asking me who certain sports figures were, when she probably already knew and just wanted to converse. She had a wonderful laugh and would do so as she recounted funny stories of youth or what happened recently. Even as her memory faded, she was still the kindest of people a gentle soul.
So, let’s remember our mothers well. They were not perfect, but they were still pretty darn fine.