Saturday, May 8, 2010

In Honor of Mother's Day

My petite mom had such a deep abiding faith, a little wise cracking mouth, yet she was as much a "preacher" as she was a worrier. As adults, everytime she and I were together she'd try to force feed me the gospel. I would say, "Mom, I know that. I'm a believer, but if you're going to shove it in, please use a spoon not a shovel." We'd both laugh.

So, in honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to share what I sent to my mom on her last Mother's day on this earth. Her health had been in decline. It was a rough time.

Dear Mom,
Some days it doesn’t seem worth getting out of bed, but at least you can. Some days it’s difficult to put up with people. Your pains and energy fluctuate; something, somewhere always aches. And all these worries bend you even further like a tree in a storm. Well, Mama Look up! I’m returning the message you gave me whenever I had so much strife and could barely stand my own life.

Heed your own advice. Raise your head and eyes and say to heck with these aches and pains, and family problems, because, Mom, there’s not a thing you can do. But it is no secret what God can do.

I know your spine hurts, and your belly cramps and your heart aches for your #1 girl. She’s walking the paths every one of us had to walk, making her own decisions and mistakes and now there’s nothing you or I can do. You did it all. You laid the foundation, put her on solid ground so that when the time came, she’d keep her faith and find her own way. The only thing you can do is pray, once a day, not incessantly all day! God’s too busy dealing with the world’s idiots and innocents to be bothered constantly by our trivial worries. Give your worries away. God has Tracey, Jason, Ashley, Austin, Nicholas, and you and me and Johnny and everyone else who knows Him in His hands.

Mom, hold on to His finger, but don’t yank His hand all day long! When the old devil - worry - tugs on your mind, tug on God’s finger, but don't bug Him; just feel His presence and let Him work things out. He doesn’t need us to help Him figure it out. It’s His world, His way, His time. Our suffering doesn’t compare to how He suffered for us. (I quote you)

Mom, physically your appearance has changed. You are smaller, weaker and you walk slower, but that is not how I envision you. In my mind you are wearing wedgies and a sun dress, sitting in the grass on a hot summer night on Plover plucking clover flowers, tying them in a knot making me a necklace to match the string of dirt pearls under my five year old neck. I see you laughing when your mother tickled under my chin with a yellow dandelion telling me I was boy crazy. I laugh when I think of you and Jim taking grandma ("bumming" as she called it) in a bowling alley bar by her house when she turned 65.

My fondest memory is always in the forefront of my mind. You are wearing that silky, forest-green dress you wore when you crashed Jr. & Debbie’s wedding. (smile) In my mind’s eye, you aren’t at their wedding; you’re in Carondelet Park, on a balmy, sunny Easter Sunday, holding Jim’s hand, strolling along, back erect, three different hair dyes on your bouffant hair ~ your little granddaughter and grandson running far ahead holding their Easter bunnies swinging their Easter baskets, and there you are swinging your purse; all of our lives filled with warmth and sunshine and such happiness. You were there for all of us, you were sassy and we were all free-spirited that day. That image brings me such joy. I will hold it in my heart forever.

When I sat down to write this morning, I intended to write about the beautiful carpet of tiny little white flowers that appear to have been spilled all over the grass in Carondelet Park. How can one of God’s beautiful, natural portraits bring my eyes such pleasure and my heart such pain? Every time I pass by, I’m reminded of the overwhelming sadness I felt one Easter morning when Tracey was 10 and Jason was 7. I begged John to stop so I could take pictures of everyone sitting in that field of spring flowers. He complained and frowned and made me sad. I wanted to rejoice and be happy.

Today I wanted to write about that day, but it looks like God directed my mind, my memories, my heart and hand in a different direction. That’s how it is when you let HIM take charge.

Didn’t mean to choke you on a shovel full of your own words. I know, I know, some days a spoonful is enough. (I quote myself).

I love you and I hope you get to feeling better. I’m not going to ask YOU take care of yourself and please eat. I’m going to ask God to see that your mind and body are nourished, and I’m going to let Him take care of you.

All my love,

Sadly, my mother's health declined and she died three years ago, weeks before her 77th birthday. Although she did not bequeath me anything tangible such as fancy jewelry, or a diamond necklace, she left me her pearls of wisdom.

Whenever life gets me down, I gently rub the hollow in my neck, and as I reach for those "pearls" I ask myself, what would Mom suggest I do?

Happy Mother's Day to each of you!


BECKY said...

I love this, Linda. I remember reading about your mom, walking along and swinging her purse! I can just picture it! What a beautiful letter. How lucky you were to have such a wonderful mom!
Happy Mother's Day to you!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Linda - Beautiful letter. What comfort it must have given your mother. Also, she must have been thrilled that all her "preaching" paid off! You have some vivid memories of her that will be with you always. God bless and Happy Mother's Day!

Bookie said...

The spoon vs. shovel line reminded me of St. Francis of Assissi:Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.

Thanks for sharing a private family letter with the rest of us. Pictures and glimpses of other families always remind us that our own families are merely a cog in the wheel of the Family Of Man...we are all part the whole. Sounds like you had one great mother.

Susan said...

Hi Linda...YOur Mom must have been so happy to receive that touching and heartfelt letter from you. Now she is your advocate from the other realm of life. Hope you have a peaceful, happy Mother's Day. Sincerely, Susan

Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing that warm and wise connection to your mother. Happy Mother's Day!

Lynn said...

Beautiful letter Linda, thanks for sharing.

K9friend said...

What a lovely letter to your mom. I'm sure it meant so much to her.


Linda O'Connell said...

Becky, Lisa, Claudia,Susan, Tammy, Lynn, Pat, thank you one and all, and may you all indulge in memories of your own mothers tomorrow and enjoy your day. I;m going out to breakfast.