Tomorrow is my Mom's 77th birthday and she'd gasp and give me a death glare if she was here to read that I just outed her "would-have-been" age on my blog. My Mom passed away in 1996 at the young of 59. She had been perfectly vibrant until the moment she collapsed at home, unaware of what had gone fatally wrong in her lovely body. The moment I learned she had passed away, after rushing to the hospital to be by her side, my life changed from thereafter. My heart broke and I felt a physical and emotional pain worsened only by the site of my darling Dad reeling from the loss of his life partner; his wife of 40 years, 5 months, and 14 days; the mother of his 4 children and 3 (now 10) grandchildren; the love of his life. But I want this post to be about who Mom was, not how she left us.
My Mom was a simple woman and funny as heck. When she was around her extended family, her voice could be heard above most others, causing a whole lot of laughter in the process. She didn't drink. No alcohol was needed to fuel this health nut, just the presence of her family and fond memories being shared. Mom was also a neat freak and we were all blessed because of it. Our home was immaculate at all times. If there was a stack of magazines somewhere, the house "was a mess" by her standards. When we went on vacation, my Dad would pull up to a hotel they thought might be suitable and she'd go in and inspect the rooms first before deciding if they met her standards of cleanliness for her family.
Mom was also frugal. She was an "extreme couponer" of her time and responsibily stayed on a healthy budget so she could continue to be a stay-at-home mom and wife. When we traveled, she packed the best picnic lunches complete with Mr. Salty pretzel sticks and Wash 'n Dri's. My Mom wore pedal pushers in the summer and a long winter coat with a faux fur collar in the winter. She walked every day, fast and hard. This was her fitness and often her place of worship. Whether she was inside on inclement days on her treadmill or outside on the ultimate speed walk, she was praying for her family, friends, and whoever else came to mind.
Mom was a good friend. She baked amazing cutout cookies for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter and painstakingly frosted them all. Then she'd fix a generous plate of those cookies and a variety of the many other kinds she'd baked and take them to relatives, friends, and even virtual strangers who she knew needed to be remembered and made to be felt special. She made fabulous holiday feasts and invited family and anyone she knew might be alone any given holiday. She had without a doubt, the gift of hospitality.
Mom was a strong woman having lived through World War II and the loss of the father she adored when she was merely 15. She was selfless, so selfless. She always put us first. We always had everything needed before she'd consider her own needs and wants. She wasn't perfect of course, but in my eyes, she was as close as she could have come. She and my Dad made me feel loved and special and taught me how to live and love the Lord. I am fortunate and blessed and I know it. I miss her daily and tomorrow, on her birthday, I will have a memorial cup of tea in one of her treasured teacups that now live in my cupboard, and I will remember how blessed I am.
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