Today is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 99. She would not have wanted to live, not knowing. That is Alzheimer’s…it takes away the memories, the future and most of the past.
Mother grew up the oldest of 5 children. Her father had the bluest eyes and whitest hair one could imagine. Her mom was part Native American; my mom looked like her mom. Mother had Scarlet fever when she was little and had been given up for dead by the traveling doctor. She lay in the darkened black room with chills and fever. However, she did wake up and asked for “buttermilk”. Before the fever she had long, thick black hair. It grew back thin and brown. This was not the last of her misfortunes. She was bitten by rattlesnakes…not once but twice…at two different times.
She married the dashing young man on the white horse. Truly her knight in shining armor. They had two children, my brother and sister, who in reality were my half brother and half sister plus first cousin. Yes there is a story here. He died when his children were age four and two. She moved back home with her parents because in those days what else could a young mother do with no education?
A couple of years later, she married my father, her deceased husbands brother. Then my brother came along first and I was the last.
She never loved my father liked she did his brother….I understand that. However, they had a good life and he provided and loved his brothers children. They called him Uncle.
When I was in the second grade, I came home crying from school because someone said that my oldest brother and my sister were not my real brother and sister. The story was given to me straight, however, it changed nothing. They were and are my brother and sister.
Mother received her GED after I graduated from college. She did so without effort and from there entered nursing school and became a surgical nurse. She learned to drive about the same time she began to work outside the home. She worked the afternoon shift or the night shift all the rest of her life because she kept her garden and home the same way…as perfect as she could. She slept in the hot summer afternoons with the window fan blowing.
She always went to church on Sunday and lead the committee for raising money to renovate the church. They raised $8,000.00. Unfortunately, there were those who thought the old church was not good enough, therefore, money was borrowed to build a new church. It never felt the same to me. I loved the old church. It is used for church dinners and other meetings, therefore, still the center of this small community.
There is much to be said about one’s mom; she was the person who always believed in me; who cheered me on; who gave me wings to fly and a place to go back to in times of wind and storms.
She was and is the person I admire most in this life.