My mom lived to the ripe old age of 91. She had a tough exterior but a very loving interior that she could hide when she needed to. Born in a small fishing village, her first experience in urban life was during the Great Depression, when her hard work in school paid off with acceptance by Bellevue School of Nursing. Imagine coming from a town where everyone knew everyone and then going to New York City.
She met my dad there, an intern, and when all studies were finished, they came back to my dad's native Virginia where he practiced medicine. Being a different time, Mom decided to be an "at home" mother, raising three children. But she was called upon by neighbors all the time with minor scrapes and bruises, and back in that simpler time law suits weren't much of a concern. Good will, kindness and common sense prevailed.
My dad died suddenly when I was nine, the youngest of three. This is when Mom's diligence and dedication kicked into full gear. While Dad had made preparations for his demise, we certainly weren't rich. And we kids had to use our own initiative for the "extras" we wanted, but we never went hungry, always had clean and neat clothes, and a wonderful roof over our head. We lived in a traditional 50's urban residential neighborhood with decent sized yards, tree-line streets, and plenty of other kids to hang around with.
Mom could stretch a buck farther than anyone I've ever seen. She was money wise and thrifty, and she could account for every penny. I think she would have made a great Secretary of the Treasury; she would have asked lots of questions and never surrendered her values. One of our ministers minted Mom and a few friends as the "pistol packing mamas", meaning they were straight shooters, he always knew what their opinion was concerning the proper atmosphere for her church.
She taught me how to manage a savings account as a young boy, and you can bet me earnings from grass cutting and part-time jobs went into it. She would allow me to pull out just a little bit for "spending money."
I was gone in the Army for quite after graduating fro college but, upon return, I tried to check in on her at least two or three times a week and, even when moving out of state for work, we talked on the phone at length every Sunday.
Sadly, on my last visit home she had Alzheimer's and only recognized me on occasion. But she remembered her upbringing in technicolor, talking out loud about people and places from childhood through Bellevue at length.
When she died, I was stoic and quiet until I saw her body in the open casket and realized that she was gone. But I also knew that she wasn't really gone; her spirit would live on in us and I would truly see her again when my life on earth is done. What a wonderful thought. I'll never forget you, Mom, and I'll see you again when I'm called, and Dad, too. What a wonderful reunion it will be.
And for those of you out there who still have your mothers alive, remember them and honor them today. They are special. They were instilled by God with the mission of raising you and guiding you in this world so that you will be prepared for eternity.
And for you who are mothers doing all the hard work that God expects of you: God bless you and keep you. Enjoy YOUR special day.