“Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Deut 5:16
Today is my mother’s birthday. She would have been 86. She died 9 years ago, just one week before the birth of my youngest child. I wasn’t able to attend her funeral but we had a memorial service 3 weeks later in my hometown that we all went to.
When you are young, there are so many mixed emotions of our parents (as I’m sure my children have of me). We love them, we get bugged by them, they drive us crazy, we are convinced they don’t understand us (although they probably understand more than they tell us), sometimes we are even convinced they hate us. They are the voice in our heads when we want to do something we shouldn’t and their words (good and bad) come flooding out of our mouths decades late as we deal with our own children.
The same is true with me. When I say something that is a “Vera-ism”, I’ll often call my sisters or brother to laugh about it! My mom came up with some pips!! But today, I’d like to share the letter I wrote to her when she passed away. My memories of love to a mother I loved and who, I KNOW loved me.
Open, artless, honest…wearing your heart on your sleeve, we never had to “figure out” what you were thinking or feeling, it was always out in the open for all to see and know. My earliest memories are fuzzy, isolated incidents really.
- of sleeping 3 in a bed with Donna and JoAnn, Bob in a crib in your room
- of when I came home from a trip with Pauline and found you looking much thinner and another baby in the house (Michele)
- of being sick often and you by my side putting cool cloths on my head with shades drawn and giving me medicine that I never took, but dumped down a hole in our floor to the basement
- of you crying one night as you went off to the hospital feeling very sick and being told you were having an operation
- of going to the drive-in (we went there often, I remember) in our brand new 1965 station wagon to see “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” while you were in the hospital and thinking how funny that YOU missed that one (being Russian yourself), and the next day driving by your hospital window so you could see the new car!
- of going for sleep-overs to Olgalyn’s when they lived over the Y and being thrilled because she had all the Dr. Suess books
- of when I ran away to Mrs. Jolly’s but was *given away* when I walked in their door and you and Joy were on the phone…I thought Dad would kill me on the way home!!
- of giving you notes and checks to sign when you were still asleep in the mornings – the checks were for fun stuff we bought from the bread man that morning without your knowing
- of chasing you around the kitchen with a spoon while you were making chocolate chip cookies while we were waiting to eat the dough out of the bowl
Later I remember your crying when I went off to college, and then again when I moved to West Virginia and once more when I moved to New Mexico. And then how you lied to me and said that it was OK with you if I got married in New Mexico without you being there…you had already seen two of your children married and it didn’t matter much to you if you missed mine. (I sent Dianne to “spy out” the truth and she told me how much you wanted to see me married so we moved everything out to you!)
You met your new son-in-law-to-be for the first time the day before we wed. I remember that you were a bit frantic because we hadn’t finished writing our wedding vows and the wedding was just 4 hours away. At the last minute we found a tear in Kevin’s tux and you were sewing it up just before we had to leave the house! You and Dad gave us a lovely reception in your home with our immediate families, a few of our friends and many of your friends and neighbors. And your house had just been finished a few days before.
For years we talked on the phone every Saturday, developing a deep relationship as adults. We laughed and cried together and learned to be friends, not just Mother and Daughter. I know there have been many decisions I’ve made in my life that you wouldn’t have made (you always let me know) but you have always shown your love and support regardless of your own feelings. Some people say you can’t have any meaningful relationship long distance, but we proved that wrong. Even my children, who have seen you infrequently over the years, feel a strong emotional tie and bond with you. I think so much of that is a tribute to your deep love of your family and your desire to live for them.
I love you very much and will miss you terribly, but I can rejoice in your having come to know Jesus recently in a way you never did before and that one day I will see you in Glory with him.
All my love.