My Mother

It Is Good to Be Thankful: Appreciation makes the world a better place…

It’s been fifty years since my mom passed away, but I remember her vividly. I was in my early twenties when she went to the doctor for what she thought was a kidney infection and found out she had uterine cancer. Two weeks later she was gone. She was 48. It happened so fast. There were so many things I wished I had told her when I had the chance—so many things I cherish that truly influenced my life.  

I valued her wisdom. Imbued with tons of what we called horse sense in the Midwest, she was a cross between Dr. Laura and Solomon. “There are always three sides to every story: yours, theirs, and what really happened,” she’d say. Her theory was many times we don’t intend to shade the truth but we do see everything from our perspective, which can be skewed.

I loved her serving heart. She lived by the motto of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. If any friend, relative, or neighbor needed help, Mom was there. She brought food to the hungry, nursed the sick, and visited the lonely.

I treasured her insight. She’d say, “Life is not fair so deal with it.” It’s not something an idealistic child wants to hear but I learned at a young age, it isn’t always the most qualified, talented, or deserving person who ends up with the job, position, or first prize.

I beheld her beauty. It’s true that in her younger days, many a stranger stopped Mom to ask if she was a model, but what really made her beautiful was how she genuinely cared for others and her giving heart. Even at Christmastime, everyone got a gift, even the boy who delivered the newspaper. It may have only been a pencil box because we didn’t have much, but whatever we had, Mom was glad to share.

I respected her honesty. “Don’t say anything behind anyone’s back you wouldn’t say to their face,” she’d say. These are words she lived by. I’m not implying she only said nice things about people but whatever she said, she was willing to stand by it.

I admired her hard work. Believe it or not, it took both of my parents working to keep us in the poverty we had grown accustomed to. I was a “latchkey kid” before they even had the term. Neither of my folks had much of a formal education, so they took whatever jobs they could get. Sometimes Mom would hold down a full-time job and take in ironing on the side. Mom never complained and I never went without home cooke- meals or the necessities in life.

I enjoyed her humor. Mom was a cross between Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry, witty and funny. Once at K-Mart my mom accidentally bumped her shopping cart into another woman’s. Mom jokingly said, “Sorry, you almost need a driver’s license to operate one of these things.” The woman was indignant as she replied, “Well, I don’t!” Then the woman turned her cart quickly around and ran into a post. Mom just passed her up, smiled, and replied, “See what I mean!”

I could count on her encouragement. “You can do it,” she’d say. “You can be whatever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do.” It may not seem like a big thing now, but Mom always wanted a high school diploma. I remember with pride when she got it. She was in her mid-thirties.   

Mom wasn’t quite as feisty after she became Christian, but she never lost her wit, wisdom, or humor as she gained peace and spiritual understanding. When she looked at a flower, she saw the Creator. When she lived life, she saw purpose. I never told her, but in reflection I think her example was the main catalyst that made me want to become a Christian. How blessed I was to have her for my mother! She was a gift from God.


“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord...” ~ Psalms 92:1 (KJV)

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