Tomorrow is my mother's birthday. She would have been 91. As I grow older I find that I mark the date, March 13, and I'm usually quite teary eyed around this time.
My mother and I had a difficult relationship, to say the least. I cannot blame my mother for wanting someone different, but we did find peace in the end. She had a terribly unhappy life with my father, who fought demons of his own. Neither was happy, and I am convinced that neither would have known what to do with happiness, if it arrived in a great big box, all labeled and fluttering with ribbons.
My mother loved the little things: snowglobes and tiny plants. My father loved the grandstand. He was an accomplished musician, so he would write my mother a song. He would type the words onto a card for her birthday or their anniversary, and one problem, he would type his name at the end. Who does that? No message, just his name, typed.
Sadly, I don't believe my father loved anyone, including himself. My mother gave up years before she died. She died in the middle of an argument. A screaming match, really. She had this stomach ache that started in the morning, and only got worse through the day. My father told me this, later. As my mother cried and cried about her stomach ache, my Dad kept telling her, "take more antacid! It's just gas!"
The argument, much as my father's music, rose to a crescendo and then climaxed with my mother screaming, "I'm going to die!" My father, of course, shouted back, "oh no you're not!" And then, my mother fell back into her chair, threw up, and she died. My father did nothing. He wouldn't have known what to do anyway. And so, my mother was gone.
What has hurt me for most of the twenty-five years since, is that I was not there. I would have known what to do. I would have cleaned the vomit from her hair. That would have bothered my mother -- the vomit. I wasn't there to hold her in my arms and say, "Mommy, I am so thankful that the last words we spoke to each other was, "I love you."
Three little words. Nothing grand. Just I love you. Small things that mean so much. On my website at www.entertainingangels.org you can read a couple of stories that I have written about my mother. There is a link on this page.
My mother. I loved her and I hated her. That was simply the only relationship she would allow. I miss her every day.
Saturday, there was a contrast in my personal life. I got out of bed and I had a fainting spell. Out of the love that dwells within them, my two daughters sprang into action. Calling my husband they hovered over me, taking my blood pressure, which had fallen suddenly. My blood sugar was quickly monitored. Something was provided for me to throw-up in. My feet were held high, as my head was lowered. In my chest, my heart so fluttered, like a flock of birds. I am now fine. But I thought of my mother, so alone with my father, which is the most alone she could have been.
I realized how blessed I am, to be loved, to be sheltered, to be cared for, to hear those simple words, "I love you" hundreds of times a day. Oh yes, I'm sure my mother is smiling for me from heaven. And finally I can smile for her.