Living Life

When I think about death, I realize that our family is too familiar with death.  We have had so much death to deal with.  My brother Richard died in a motorcycle accident when he was 18.  He was my Mom’s baby and loved by all of us.  It was so traumatic for everyone.  We have never gotten over missing him.  My Father passed as well.  Then we lost my brother Jerry of liver failure.  He was just 18 months younger than me.  That left my Mom with four daughters.  Now just a few years ago we lost my sisters grandson, Parrish at 15.  Such a tragedy for us.  There  were others too.. Grandparents, aunts, cousins, friends.  It is never easy.

Today, my Mom of 87 has been in the hospital twice lately.    I  My mind will not accept the possibility of losing her.  She is so important to all of us.  Mom, is the matriarch of our family and has been the glue that holds us all together.  We are a large and “loud” family.   Mom has always known what to say to us.  “Pass and Repass” is a favorite.  She has suffered from dementia the last 10 or 11 years.  As she has gradually gotten worse over the years, we have lost a little of her each year.  She is still very much in there though.  She may not be able to express herself but I see her in every look, every turn of her head.  The song she sings over and over again.  Her love for clothes and pretty things.  Her humble spirit and her great love for her family. 

My prayer is that God would allow my Mom to strengthen and stay with us.  We  still need her.  Her presence means so much to us all.  All my sisters have been pitching in and helping with her care.  That means so much and I think she knows and loves being the center of us all.  Grandchildren have been coming to see her, to talk with her and remember things she has cooked, and scores of other memories.  Great grand children have come and climbed up on her lap or push her wheel chair.  They love Mom and she loves them.  She comes alive when the babies come in. 

Memories for years of her life come flooding to mind.  Help me pray that God leaves her with us for more years.  I know that “she is fully in God’s hands.”  He and only He can leave her with us. 

Here are a few things I love  about my Mom.

She loves her children.  She had six of us.  I think if there had been better birth control back then she would have only had Evelyn.  One would have been enough for her even though she loved each of us very much.  We always said she loved the boys (Jerry and Richard) the most.  They were her pets.

She is kind and considerate to everyone she knows or meets.  She really shows it.  She would take food to anyone she heard had a death in the family.  I think this comes from when she was a child and she was taken to sit up with the dead with her sister Estelle and her Mom.  That spirit of love and kindness comes through in everything she does, even now in the midst of this illness.

She loved to cook pot fulls of dumplings to take to Church functions.  Mom was known by her great chicken and dumplings.  No one could make dumplings like Mother.

Mom told us this over and over.  “Pass and Repass”  She lived by that moto.  People would say or do hurtful things but Mom always took the high road.  She wanted us to take the high road as well.

She would stop in grocery stores and speak to strangers and start up a conversation.  She never met anyone that was a stranger to her.  The surprising thing is that everyone seemed to like this. 

If she had something she wanted her kids to know, she would call one and tell them it was a secret so she would have time to tell the others before the news got around. 

She has been a hard worker all her life.   Mom knew what it meant to have a hard days work,   both at home and at work. She lived during the depression and knew what going without meant.  So she was thrifty and conservative in her spending.  She loved finding bargains and she usually could find the bargain in the midst of lots and lots of junk.  I never developed that habit but Mom had it.

Mom would go without when she did not have to.

Mother loved to giggle.  Just give her any excuse.  She had a great sense of humor.

She loves the babies.  And all the babies love her.  Her grands and great grands love to get up in her lap.  She never tires of them.

Mom never drank alcohol, smoked or cussed.  She always tried to lead a virtuous life..  She has been an example to all of us.

Mama stayed away from drama, gossip and making negative remarks about people.  Live and let live.  Judging other people just wasn’t part of her make up.

Mom loved her Mother, PawPaw Britnell and her five sisters and one brother.  As far as I know she never talked back to PawPaw and MawMaw to this day.  She tried to stay out of family disagreements and always looked on the positive side no matter who was involved.

She and my Aunt Estelle had a secret that they would not tell to anyone.  They would giggle about it.  None of us know what it was even though we tried to get it out of them with NO success. 

Until she got beyond travel, Mom would try to go to Alabama and see her family every year.

Mom had her style.  She knew what she liked and she liked her clothes and shoes.  Sometimes she would look everywhere for a piece of clothing.  Oh, and she didn’t like to pay too much for it.  She would but it needed to be the “right” thing.  She could go in a store and find the perfect thing among racks and racks of clothes. 

Over the past several years, dementia has robbed my Mom and us of so many of her personality traits.  One thing has never changed and that is her sweetness and kindness to those around her. 

Mom is a great woman and witness of God.  She loved to sing gospels to us.  Her faith was in God.  She and my Aunt Estelle helped build the first pentecostal Church (Fayette Church of God) where she grew up.  They both got out and sold flavoring house to house and did other things to raise the money for the Church.  I think Mom is the last charter member of that Church still alive today.  She loved visiting the Church when we went back there.

There are so many other virtues and memories that I have of my Mother.  No matter what any of us had going, my Mom has been there to support us. 

Mom is  a woman that gave of her love and time to everyone she came in contact with.  Love you Mom


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2 Responses to “Living Life”

  1. Shane Says:

    What a wonderful tribute to a clearly wonderful mother. I only recall meeting her one time and that was your brother Richard’s wake. Still, your writing explains the source of several attributes that I would see in you, Evelyn, and Janet: grace, dignity, respect (among others).

    Thank you for sharing this.

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