This morning I was penning a letter to my sister and began reminiscing about my mother who died a little over a year ago. I am a slow processor and am just recently beginning to get in touch with all my feelings and emotions surrounding her life and passing. As I was writing, it occurred to me that I should share this portion of my letter openly as it was like a eulogy in honor of her life!
In Memory of Mom
Lately I have been thinking a lot about mom. At times I can feel her with me, letting me know she is okay, that she is happy and that she loves me.
Life is not easy, and for some it can be down right grueling, as was in her case. Yet, now in hindsight, her beauty shines through the darkest of memories clouds.
The other day I came across a doll mom had given to my girls. She had hand-sewn the little dress it wore and I lingered over it, tracing the neatly done stitching, smiling at the pattern of little frogs. I could hear her voice echoing through my soul as she points them out smiling, “Did you see the little frogs? Aren’t they adorable? I just loved this material and knew it would make a darling little dress.” I envisioned her as she ironed, cut, sewed and dressed the doll, exclaiming to everyone how darling it turned out. I marveled at her handiwork, remembering how I tried in vain to tediously sew such tiny clothing for my girls dolls.
My mind traveled back through time to when I was 14-years-old, and she had sewn me a new dress for my birthday. I recalled standing up on a kitchen chair while she pinned it for the final hem. I felt so beautiful in that dress and wore it over and again. It seemed to hug me in her love where her arms had been too weary, worn and tired.
As I reminisced, lovingly caressing the dolls dress, I smiled as I thought of how much talent she possessed. In the midst of all the darkness and chaos of those childhood years, her artistic eye added touches of beauty and light all around- beautiful flowers and lush green plants, handsomely restored pieces of salvaged furniture. Adorable framed needle work. Mom was not only a meticulous seamstress, but an impeccable house keeper, a good cook-turning recipes I still use and cherish today, and a master gardener.
Her love language was gifts and she turned Christmas and birthdays into magical creations where we were reminded that YES! we were loved after all. Her green thumb was remarkable, her yard always the main attraction in the neighborhood no matter where we lived.
Mom loved a good “rags-to-riches” story and generated plenty of her own every time she brought home a hopeless looking, dying plant and with her very own innate magic, patiently nursed it to its fullest glory. Or, when she discovered a wobbly, decrepit looking piece of furniture amidst a junk heap, dragged it home to the dismay of us all, and with a vision for what it could be, worked for hours, meticulously filling, tightening, gluing, sanding and finally adding her final touches of paint and knobs, she transformed it into a conversation piece that everyone coveted. And who can count the orphaned dogs and cats that found refuge in her home and eventually a loving, forever place to live!?
So, here I sit, pen in hand, more than a year after we have laid her worn-out body into the ground. In her spirit of restoration, I have swept away the dirt and cobwebs of my darkest childhood memories and discover amidst the cluttered, broken pieces, a beautiful treasure- our mother’s essence! I am so thankful for each one of my siblings that shared those memories with me. A part of her lives on in each one of us. Let us honor her by polishing those pieces of her we have within so that they may eternally beautify this world, just as she struggled so desperately to do against all odds.
Claudia Sue Amy- RIP
See you again on the other side!