I am feeling motherless, even though I just saw my Mom a week ago. Sheís still alive, but at 87 sheís consumed with fighting for her life. She desperately wants to stay in her own home and fears becoming dependent. Phone conversations focus on medications and doctorís visits. She is very hard of hearing and hates her hearing aid so conversation is difficult. My Dad died a long and painful death that started with a broken hip, making her afraid to leave the safety of her home. Every step she takes is calculated, every movement slow.
I miss her. I miss the relationship we used to have. I miss her because my mother is the only constant presence in the long list of people Iíve known over the years, the only living person who has loved me ever since I existed. She has memories of me that even I will never possess.
Iíve spent a lot of time trying to articulate just what it is my Mom used to do that I now miss.
My entire adult life Iíve lived quite a distance from my parents but my Mom would not have helped with my children had I lived right next door. Before we ever had children, she made it very clear to me and my three siblings that she was not available to babysit. She has always expected me to call her and she never sends money except for Christmas and birthdays, and those gifts are not extravagant. Mom is too feeble now to travel but even when they could, my parents seldom visited us Ė if we wanted to see them, we made the trip to their house at our expense.
So, what do I miss?
Probably most significant is that she was interested in everything that happened in my life. No story was too long, no problem too personal, no incident too small that she didnít want to hear about it. She would close her book when I came into the room, quiet her hands and look into my face when she sensed emotional turmoil.
As she listened, I could sense her trying to take my side. Even if I was wrong, she wanted to understand where I was coming from. When we disagreed (and we often did), I knew my selfishness wouldnít change the love or respect she had for me as a person. I could go on and on about the injustice, the stupidity, the absolute unfairness of it all for as long as I needed to talk Ė and, trust me, I can go on forever. Since my Mom wasnít a Christian until just a few months ago, she often gave me bad advice but I knew that and it didnít matter. I could get good advice from a book Ė a caring, sympathetic person is a gift from God.
I miss my Mom. When itís all said and done, she gave me the most important gift a mother can give her child: she was my biggest fan. In her eyes I have always been pretty, smart, and accomplished. As the years have passed, I have not diminished for her in the slightest.
I thank God for my mother. In a very real sense, she was a living earthly example of His love for me.
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