Tag Archives: mom

Still Giving

Last picture with Mom 2

Last Picture with Mom

It was great fun celebrating Mother’s Day with the mother of my children yesterday and recognize what an incredible person she is as well as note our own good fortune. Today, the day after Mother’s Day, my thoughts shift to my own incredible mother and how much we miss her.

I have spoken at many funerals, including services for both of my parents, and only once have I blubbered like a baby throughout a eulogy—Mom’s.  I titled it simply, Mom, and began by saying:

15,319: That is the number of days in my life where I knew without a doubt that somewhere on this planet, my mother was cheering for me.  It has been three days without that gift, but who can complain in light of such grace? 

I updated the math, and it has now been 2,815 days without, but I still cannot bring myself to complain. I was a very lucky boy/man.

I’m not sure what to think today. Random thoughts drift in and out. That eight years pass quickly (as did the first forty-two). That lessons and memories persist. That faith is worth having.

I went back to that eulogy to see what I tried to communicate through the fog, and I was pleased to remember that it referred to the classic Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree, and how selfless giving characterized Mom’s life. It also brought a smile to notice that my wish for her remains the same years later.

Amid uncontrollable tears then, I concluded:

At the end of “The Giving Tree,” the little boy, now an old man, returns to the Tree.  The Tree is sad because she is now simply an old stump and has nothing left to give – she had nothing left to give because she had given it all away.  The old man replied that this was okay because he was too tired now and only needed to rest.  Then, the tree offered all she had left – her stump – for the little-boy-turned-old-man to sit and rest.  He sat, and the Tree was happy.

It was not fun to see our sweet, kind, and gentle Mom’s body deteriorate until there was no more life in it.  It was not easy for her – a giver – to be forced to be waited on by others: in her thinking, to be a bother.  In the end, however, she did have something left to give, and it was exactly what my sisters and I needed.

In the end, Mom left us deep roots and a place to rest.  I hope she knows that, and that this makes her happy.

 

Real Love

mom2

I am almost certain that Mother’s Day was not created for my personal enjoyment, but I have to say that it was pretty lonely this time around.  It marked the fourth Mother’s Day since my mother’s passing, and this year my wife was in Arkansas for a high school graduation so even that was limited to a text message celebration.

Of all my mom’s wonderful characteristics, that she was always there for me ranks near the top, which makes her absence more pronounced.  I know that I have tons of people still there for me, including an amazing wife, beautiful daughters, and a bevy of family and friends, but no one, biologically speaking, has “been there” like your mother.  It is a special, indescribable bond.

Pardon my boasting, but mine was the very best.  You can arm wrestle over second place, which is still a pretty great accomplishment given the billions of mothers in world history, but the gold medal stand is already occupied.

One story that describes my mom:  I moved my little family five-hundred miles away from my widowed mother in 1999, which she handled well.  Not long after our move, a job opportunity emerged in my hometown (near mom), and I submitted an application.  The organization decided to interview two final candidates, including me, but after deep reflection, I decided to pull out prior to the interview.  My mom was so happy.

That last line is neither a typo nor sarcasm—it is truth.  Even though my mom missed us very much (well, honestly, probably the grandkiddos most of all), she felt that I would not be happy in the potential job, and she would rather I be far away and happy than nearby and not.

That is how I define real love.  The happiness of the object of your love > personal happiness.

Mother’s Day may have been a bit lonely this year, but it remains very, very special.