Category Archives: Mom

Let it be; yesterday, today, and tomorrow…

“Yesterday…all my troubles seemed so far away; now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday…”

“There are places I’ll remember, All my life, though some have changed; some forever, not for better; some have gone, and some remain…in my life, I’ve loved them all…”

“All you need is love; all you need is love; all you need is love, love; love is all you need…”

“Hear comes the sun (doo doo doo doo); here comes the sun, and I say; it’s all right…”

“The long and winding road that leads to your door; will never disappear.  I’ve seen that road before it always leads me here; lead me to your door…”

For all her classical voice training, opera, choral work, and more, Momma loved the music, and most especially the lyrics, of the Beatles.  A powerful early memory of mine is sitting next to her on the piano bench after she practiced some aria or solo piece while she picked her way through the latest Beatles’ tunes.  Though we never had much conversation about the group or their massive body of work, she made it clear her respect and admiration ran fathoms deep.

Once I began formal piano training, my reward for required daily practicing was mom sitting next to me on the bench teaching me how to play and sing a Beatles’ tune.  As my younger sis beat on pots and pans (she liked percussion after all), mom gingerly chorded notes on the piano with me, never missing a word of the lyrics, and often reminding me how glorious it was to “whisper words of wisdom…let it be.” 

Sitting in the dark cinema quietly humming my way through the Yesterday movie this afternoon, her abiding admiration and powerful respect was felt anew for their profound musical contribution.  If she were here, she would have sung her way through the entire film, reminiscing and reflecting through each song.

So, on what would have been your 77th birthday today, thanks Momma, for embracing so many amazing musical genres and avenues while doing your best to always encourage me to “whisper words of wisdom; let it be…”

Momisms…

My momma always told me the best sermon is a great example, thus she and daddy (for better, or worse sometimes) taught us daily by their example.  My sister and I know we “chose our parents wisely,” because in the midst of everyday life, there were daily lessons by their poignant example.

As I watch moms today in the grocery store, at the park, and everywhere else in the community, it stuns me how moms must be as wise as Solomon, as smart as Socrates, as unconditionally loving as Mother Teresa, and as disciplined as an Olympic Athlete.  My mom demonstrated daily who she was and lived by the legacy she created with southern sass, grit, humor, and backbone.  She shaped our character, expected integrity, and encouraged us to dream big for the future while finding a passion within to independently support ourselves (because we grew up in a progressive household knowing it was our sole responsibility to take care of ourselves…no matter what).  We learned to control our attitude and effort because “those two things are in our constant control.”  And just like her classroom setting, mom set the bar extremely high for us, but provided a loving cushion when we stumbled along the way.  Our mom was our first and most important teacher, advocate, and disciplinarian; she set the rules and we followed them…mostly…(sorry about riding the laundry basket down the stairs).

While mom’s physical voice is now silent, the echos of her lessons and expectations ring strong inside my soul.  I’m humbly grateful and thankful for the example of my mom.  I was so busy growing up and then raising two little women of my own, I often forgot she was growing older; mom was always smart enough to hold on, and then brave enough to let go on her journey.  Thanks, momma, for demonstrating the courage, hope, JOY, and unconditional love so I could one day be a mom to the two extraordinary miracles who shower my world in JOY!  I miss you so…and Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms!

No. 711

We both awoke today humming the same tune we always do on November 1st:

“For all the saints, who from their labor rest, who thee by faith before the world confessed, thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest. Alleluia, Alleluia!” 

These words, penned by William How in 1864, and the tune from Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906, reflect a poignant tradition of remembrance, honor, and gratefulness for those who blazed their life trails to create the storied legacies we inherit after their passing from this life.  Never were the words of this hymn so meaningful as the first All Saint’s Day following the loss of my mom.  She treasured the deep and abiding meaning of this hymn, singing “lustily and with a good courage” as John Wesley noted.  🙂

Even though I had a unique and often complicated relationship with Momma for over 50 years, she remained my first and most important teacher.  Among her numerous lessons in those final years as she faded into the overwhelming challenge of Alzheimer’s (the longest goodbye imaginable), she demonstrated how nothing is wasted in life.   Loss, pain, and grief enlarge our capacity for compassion and perseverance.

I’m grateful for today’s reminder of our saints, especially in this current season of life as we gingerly walk daddy through this same profound journey, one grateful day at a time.

Here’s your question today:  Who do you choose to gratefully acknowledge on this day of remembrance for the lessons and blessings bestowed on you?

St. M says we have to find a Slurpee to share today in keeping with Momma’s love of slushies, and Hymn #711.  🙂

 

Raising a cup of kindness…

There are fewer relationships more precious than a true friend, the “family” we choose in this life.  Besides our family, momma made it a point to be a true friend to others…a card, a casserole, a roll of quarters for the hospital vending machine, a basket of clean folded laundry (don’t ask), and more were her standard MO when someone was in need.  Well before being asked, she was the first on the scene because she lived by the mantra:  “A true friend is the first one to come in when everyone else has exited the building.” 

CoffeeClubSuch was the beloved Coffee Club during mom’s last few years.  A group of retired public educators, these ladies possessed a combined 350+ years of experience, forgetting more than most of us will ever be blessed to know.  Even in the midst of a rapidly deteriorating memory and failing body, these faithful ladies gathered with mom to drink coffee, chat, tell stories, and more.  Mind you, this wasn’t a short conversation or visit; this was (at minimum) a half-day event.  Trust me, there was never a lag in the conversation; these ladies had YEARS of stories about everyone and everything…they were educators after all!

Even after moving into assisted living, the CC came without fail, bringing yummy treats, sunshine, and lots of laughter no matter how difficult the day for mom.  These faithful friends shared JOY, love, comfort, smiles, and strength.  CC gave purpose and meaning; they were the ones who cared.  Mom forgot so many things living in constant confusion, but she never forgot her beloved Coffee Club.  They accepted her challenges great and small, funny and sometimes frightening, with grace and forgiveness.  It didn’t matter who momma was in the moment; changes never took away from what she meant to them or her lasting legacy.

We could all use a Coffee Club in our lives.  We could all benefit from being a Coffee Club member as a champion for another in our own life.  For more years than any of these ladies most likely want to share, they’ve traveled through life together, weaving a uniquely checkered quilt of true friendship.  So, here’s to the Coffee Club, to the ones who chose to raise their cup of kindness; thank you for giving more, expecting less, and sharing your unconditionally caring love…

Voice

The voice has been silent for a month now.  The muscle we all tend to use most each day, the tongue, has been replaced with stillness.  Persistent, thoughtful listening and watching for a sign remains a daily quest.

Some things in life cannot be fixed but only carried with the help of others.  As Emily Dickinson remarked, “I find it shelter to speak with you,” yet this is no longer an option in person.  You continue to share how nothing is wasted in this life.  Grief, pain, and sorrow enlarge the capacity for compassion, growth, and healing.  You continue to bring light into the cracks of a hurting heart although it comes from another realm beyond comprehension.

Perhaps it is true how we never really feel like an adult until our mom crosses over…a truism I’m learning to accept all too well these days.  Until her last breath on this Earth, momma continued to share her voice, to teach, to sing, to heal, and to trust because her heart held what her mind could not.

Your voice remains because you are with me always.  You’re the whisper of the leaves and flowers as I hike in fields of gold.  You’re the smell of certain foods and fragrances in daily life.  You’re the cool hand of peace passing over me or the warmth of assurance when I’m struggling at any given time.  You’re the sound of the rain lulling me to sleep and the colors in the rainbows I seek.  You live in my laughter, sarcasm, tears, and JOY.  You’re the place I come from, my first home, and the road map I continue to follow along life’s journey with each step taken; yes, momma, your voice remains…