This weekend brings a lot of mixed feelings. My mother has been gone now for almost 27 years. She passed away unexpectedly at the age of 53 of a massive heart attack. She would be 81 if she were still alive! Today would also have marked my parents' 52nd wedding anniversary as well, and my father would be turning 86 this coming Tuesday. We lost him in 2003. I don't know how old my mother was in the picture below, but I think she is so beautiful here. It's the only picture where I think I look at like her, but the older I get, the more I see her face smiling back at me in the mirror!
My mother was a truly remarkable woman! She was the 13th child of 15 born to my biological grandparents. Her own mother passed away when my mother was only 8. Due to a traumatic event that directly affected my mother, the five youngest children were put into an orphange when she was just 9. She spent the next 4 years there before going into foster care with my grandparents who eventually adopted her. During her life, she endured abuse, loneliness, and poverty, but her spirit kept her going throughout it all. She was full of spunk and determination and earned a college education, first in social work, then in education.
Here she is reading to my youngest brother. Her first love was for her family, including myself and two younger brothers, and of course, our father. Her second love was teaching. She loved to read to us, and all of us could read before we went to school. I wasn't afraid to go to kindergarten because she was right across the hall teaching the other class! She later became an art teacher and though she was never trained in art, she used her creativity to come up with wonderful crafts and projects for her students. She had a special compassion for the students that others might have considered "unfortunate" and she always had encouraging words or a hug for them. She was much loved by all the students whose lives she touched.
This was the last picture of the family, taken summer of 1980. She passed away just one year later. My father never remarried. One thing that I have to say about my mother is that despite the horrific things that happened to her during her life, she never let that affect the way she mothered us. She raised us to be strong, independent individuals. I have her to thank for the woman that I am today.
This would not be complete without including my own family, my dear sweet daughter, and my two darling sons. I always wanted to be a mother, first and foremost above anything else, and I thank God for them. Without them I wouldn't get to hear Happy Mother's Day! I'm going to be able to spend time with all of them later today, and am so happy for that. If your mother is still alive, call her or spend some time with her today. She won't be around forever. You'll be glad you did!