She was born on December 8, 1921, the second child of eight. Being part of a farm family, it was hoped she’d be a boy so they wouldn’t have to pay for farm hands. It took a total of five girls before that happened, but each of these lovely ladies was a beautiful asset to the family. One of them died in a car crash when she was just a teen. Another passed away after a long struggle with Leukemia in her early forties. The three remaining sisters lived long, struggle filled years.
A lifetime is full of bumps in the road. As God refines each of us for heaven, it may take longer for some to get there, but when they do, they’re ready. My mother was married at the ripe, old age of eighteen. Growing up in a rural community led to dreams of eventually moving to the big city and striking it rich. She fell in love with my dad and he was the love of her life. When he died at the age of 61, her world died too. She was still a young woman and very beautiful.
She and dad never struck it rich, but they were blessed in many other ways. They had two daughters, never went hungry, always had something new to wear for Christmas and there were always presents. They went through difficult times of loss as mom’s siblings passed away, and her father became ill. Funerals were a way of life for their early life together. They also struggled to make ends meet and I recall my mom making great meals out of almost nothing. She made her own pasta and some of my favorite dishes included hearty stews and casserole dishes.
She also had her share of health issues, went through several back surgeries, suffered extreme pain and rarely complained, but we always knew when she wasn’t feeling well when we’d find her cuddled up under a blanket on the couch.
She went through a long siege as my father suffered through chemotherapy, radiation and the pain of Cancer. She remained at his side through it all. When he passed away, she remarried within a couple years and eventually moved to Florida, where she spent her retirement and enjoyed being with people and socializing. Her ability to make instant lifetime friends was one of her amazing qualities.
After her second husband died, she lived alone for a while – focusing on finding relief for her back pain. She became dependent on prescription drugs. At that point, my sister and I decided she needed to move closer. She spent one year living with us. During that time, she went through withdrawal from all the pain medication, connected with a doctor who was empathetic and began to live again.
After that year, she moved into a senior citizen cottage and was self sufficient for the rest of her life. I’m so grateful for the remaining eight years she had on this planet. We got to spend time together, which I didn’t have when my family was growing up.
She was a great role model, a woman who loved and cherished her family, one who thought for sure that one of her daughters would become Miss America, was proud of every accomplishment we made. She has been gone for ten years now and I still miss her, but I know I will see her again in heaven. Happy birthday, Mommy.