That is how she signed every card to me after I was an adult.
I love you,
Your Mother, Your Friend.
2 of the pictures are just black and white copy machine copies of old pictures. I have the originals but just can’t handle digging through old pictures. The black and white ones hang on my fridge. The color one is by my computer.
6 years ago tomorrow my Mother died. It seems like forever ago, it seems like yesterday. I miss her every day. Every.single.day.
She died after a 4 month illness that was never really diagnosed. They ran every test in the world on her. Nothing. The death certificate says, “Failure to Thrive”. That has always made me insane. No one wanted to ‘Thrive” like my Mother. Saying goodbye to her on May 10th, 2008 was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. She was there and then she wasn’t. And I was Motherless.
She died at home, in the room that is now mine. It doesn’t freak me out because while she died there, she also LIVED there.
My earliest memory was of my Mother and I. We lived in a little 2 bedroom house. I was 2. I remember it snowed and she put me in a cardboard box and dragged me around the yard. We made a huge-to-me snowball and when my Daddy pulled into the driveway we rolled it into his car. I was delighted.
She loved her children and my Daddy and her Grandchildren more than anything in the world. I always knew I was her favorite child. Maybe my brothers thought the same thing. When I was 6 she read me “The Secret Garden” during the Summer with us laying on my bed at nap time. I can remember the windows being opened and the breeze coming through and me snuggled beside her listening to this fascinating story.
When we moved to this house, I was 9. The neighborhood was full of kids and my house was the favorite place to hang out. My Mother never let a child leave her house without a “Jean Goodie Bag”. She got a Ziploc bag and filled it with whatever goodies we had in the house. There were always Little Debbies.
She buried her Mom and Dad, a brother, a much loved sister and her son. She never quite got over that. She buried a Mother and Father In-Law that she loved dearly. I remember her telling me that when she and Daddy first got married she thought she was a little better than his family. She said she was young and stupid then. She was a ‘city’ girl and he was a ‘country’ boy. She said she quickly learned that his Mother was the wisest, kindest woman she had ever met. They had a special bond. I remember sitting at my Mammaw’s house and Mother cutting out beautiful paper dolls and clothes for me and me coloring them. She always drew little things on pieces of paper. She could draw beautifully but never really drew ‘big’ things.
She loved practical jokes and was forever popping out and scaring us. We had a tree house with a window and one night all the neighborhood kids were up there and she got a ladder and climbed to the second story window and knocked. I am surprised we didn’t kill ourselves getting down. She loved scary things and would always call it ‘delicious terror.’
She was the 2nd oldest of 10 children and said she doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a baby brother or sister on her hip. She was a 22 year old nursing student at UAB who modeled occasionally for department stores on the weekends and Daddy was a pitcher for the Minor League Braves when they met. They knew each other 6 weeks before they got married and immediately moved to Lawton, Oklahoma for Spring Training. They returned home a few months later after my Daddy hurt his arm and could no longer play. But she always loved the Braves. She followed them every single season and knew every player’s name and their background. No one could talk when her Braves were playing.
We didn’t go to church every Sunday or honestly most Sundays because we always had to visit my Grandparents to help them out, but she was the one of the most Godly woman I have ever met. I still find pieces of paper around the house with things she had written, always in green ink, Bible verses or thoughts that she had. Each time I find one I feel like she is sending me a gift from Heaven. Her marked up Bible is one of my favorite possessions.
She would call me to tell me it was raining or cold. She called me every night to say “Good night baby”. When I moved to California she called me every single morning to make sure I was awake for work. We watched the 2nd tower fall on 9/11, over 2,000 miles from each other. I wanted to be home so badly I could taste it.
I get so envious sometimes when I see pictures of women with their Moms and I think, “Why can I not have my Mom? Why can’t she be with us and go places with us? The last 5 years have been very hard financially for us but we live here rent free. I often wonder if my prayers to God to take care of Keilee and I meant that she had to die. I KNOW God doesn’t work that way but I have thought that before.
She drove me nuts at times. She always had advice for everything. I just wasn’t wise enough to realize that she was right. I wish I had her voice on my answering machine. My Dad remarried 4 years ago and kept the same home phone number. On my iPhone it is still a goofy picture of her with a Christmas bow on her head and it still says “Mom”. I just can’t change it. Even after 6 years.
She loved that I was homeschooling Keilee. She never saw her perform on stage or do any of the amazing things she does but I know she would be so proud of her. My biggest regret is that Keilee didn’t really get to know her. My Mom had been sick on and off since Keilee was 6. She remembers little things; Mom is the first person who put mascara on her and she will always have that memory but I want more. I want Keilee to know the Mother I knew. Keilee is so much like her in so many ways; she loves playing jokes on people, she loves scary things, she laughs at things that are sad to most people, she loves to go to garage sales and junking around, she loves jewelry and even has Mom’s jewelry box and all her jewelry, she can take one bite of food and know exactly what is in it and so much more.
Anytime my life was hard or I was going through anything she would tell me it would all be all right and I would always say, “Promise me?” and she would always say, “I promise”. Some days when things are so dark and hard I can almost hear her whisper, “I promise”.
I read something on Instagram this week that said, “I wish we could visit people in Heaven.” Oh how I wish that too.
Happy Mother’s Day Momma,
I love you and miss you so,
“The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her. ~Unknown
“My mom is a never-ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.” Graycie Harmon