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A Tribute To Juanita
by Becky Taylor
11/09/06
Not For Sale
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She was not a beauty queen by most standards
But her smile would brighten the darkest room
And warm the coldest heart.

Hers was the first face etched in my memory
She was the one who came to me when the monsters threatened from under my bed
As long as her arms were there to embrace me, I knew all would be right with the world

I was her baby
And that's how she introduced me from the time I was born
Until the time I had children and grandchildren of my own

There was never a mother more proud than she
Never a grandmother whose grandchildren could compare to hers
Nothing was more important to her than her family and she made no secret of that fact

She was firm
Her standards for me and my sister were much more strict than those of any of our friends
She is the reason we turned out "good"

She hated cats
But we can't all be perfect now, can we?
Yet her photo album is proof of the fact that she loved the little girl who kept dragging home strays anyway

And oh! She was a helpless flirt
Disarming people with her charm
And surprising sense of humor
Until the very end

She went to work when I was five and I cried, begging her not to leave me
She unwrapped my arms from around her waist and said "Be a big girl! I have to go"
I sobbed as she walked out the door

She was my mother
How would I live without her?

And so I thought the same
As I got off the plane that night
I had been summoned by my sister in the early morning hours.
"She is so weak" she said "What shall I do?"

"Let her go. Tell her I love her, but do not ask her to wait for me. I'm coming"
It turned out that she left this world about the same time my plane touched down in Ohio.
The message on my cell phone was ominous, "Call soon"

I listened there in the airport terminal, emptiness I had never known gripping my soul
She was gone. I looked out the window and realized I had changed my mind after all
Selfishly, I wished she had waited for me

My knees suddenly betrayed me
I dropped to the floor, tears streaming down my face
And I was once again that little girl, wanting desperately for my mother to stay

Yet realizing that she had prepared me for this day
By making me the strong woman that I am
So that I would understand when it came time
For her to go


In Memory of My Mother
Sept. 2, 1925 Oct. 27, 2004


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