Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Last Sunday was Mothers's day. Some one on TV quoted a TV personality as saying roughly now that his Mother was gone he remembered the good qualities she had and he missed her and wanted to see those good qualities passed on to his children. What a nice and fairly profound observation from an unexpected place!

As we pass Mother's day we come to the first anniversary of my mother's death. It has been difficult for members of my family to remember the good qualities of my mother. She died of a type of dementia (not Alzheimer's) that over a fairly long period of time robbed her, first of her short-term memory, and finally of virtually everything. The one thing I will remember from her long illness was her habit (even after she had lost the power of speech in an ordinary conversation) of telling her visitors and care givers: "I love you." That impressed me and it certainly impressed those who cared for her.

One of the things that Mom did early in her illness to try and cope with the short-term memory loss was to keep a diary. There were many disputes that were settled by "looking in the book" where she kept track of what had happened each day. I mention this because some time after my parents had moved from the farm I had the opportunity to look at her accounts of some of her days. I was struck as read these (I hope we still have them in the family somewhere) of how central her family was to her. Of course we all knew that. One of the memories we all share is of how Mom would work to make holidays like Christmas special for us. She spent Advent cleaning and cooking (so much so that sometimes on Christmas day she was exhausted). She did her best with the limited amount of money that her and Dad had to make sure that all of us (there was eight of us) were well fed and clothed. We were in fact poor but only Mom and Dad new it at the time. She loved to sing. Later in her illness after she had mostly lost the power of ordinary speech she would still try to sing along to familiar songs. I have a video made at Christmas over 25 years ago. I can see her in the video and hear her voice and see her when she was (I think) the happiest, in the middle of her family. So, belated happy Mother's day Mom. I miss you a lot.

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