My former pastor and I have many things in common. In addition to being my boss at the church, we learned both of us had Hoosier roots and we shared many of the same political beliefs. That should have been enough. But, my pastor also helped me through the time of my mother’s illness and ultimate passing. During our conversations, she learned of the many difficulties I struggled with concerning my relationship with Mom as well as caring for her the last couple of years of her life. Thru our talks, I learned that her mother also died in the month of March. We found ourselves calling it and continue to call March “dead mothers’ month.” I know that sounds cruel and insensitive. But, for the two of us, it made the anniversaries easier to acknowledge.
Well, here we are again… it is dead mothers’ month. My mother has been gone 6 years this month and new revelations are coming to light. There was a time when my recollections of her were shrouded in the darkness of our relationship. Yes, I have missed her, but pleasant thoughts were hard to name. This year I have noticed and even mentioned to friends that more and more fond memories are bubbling to the surface. Surprisingly, many have made me smile.
I can’t help but laugh as I think about Mom dressing her three girls in nearly identical clothing for Easter or Christmas photos as though she had given birth to triplets. And, there was the strength of a mama lion when she faced down my Dad and insisted that we were indeed paying the admission fee at Lookout Mountain. There were the trips she shared with our family as we traveled from place to place with Steven’s job. Together, we saw the Grand Canyon, the Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Disney World, a mud lodge complete with Native American story-telling in North Dakota, a leaking tent at a campground in Florida, Bridal Veil Falls in Utah and lost far too much money during one of our several trips to Las Vegas. I can also thank Mom for convincing Ashley (and she believes to this day) that painted ponies ridden by Indians were on the ridge in Arizona. And, God knows I will never forget the sight of Mom dancing in the dessert with Ashley, Matthew and Keisha. It was the happiest I had ever seen her.
Sadly, I had forgotten the ear to ear smile on her face when I received my degree from Indiana State University. She was indeed proud of her first born daughter. I like to think she saw the promise of escape and adventure in me… something she had longed for as a girl. Did you know she wanted to join the Navy after she graduated from high school? But, her father would not sign the paperwork.
Maybe I have finally grown up or perhaps I’ve come to accept the old adage “time heals all wounds.” Anyway, I guess you could say I have come full circle and made my peace with our relationship. Rest easy Mom. You did well and I am fine!