Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Mom

Growing up, Mom always had a story, an observation, a lesson for us five kids.

"Your great-grandmother was one of Oklahoma Territory's first female doctors.  We still have her medical bag somewhere in the family.  I think it still has morphine in it."

"Run perpendicular to where the crocodile is chasing you, because they cannot turn 90* angles." 

"There's this tiny voice within you", she told me. "That little voice tells you good from bad, right from wrong. You have to listen to that little voice.  Each time you do something wrong, or bad, that little voice gets a little softer.  Each time you ignore that little voice, it becomes smaller and smaller.  Hardened criminals can't hear their little voices anymore..."  Well, I sure did not want to be a hardened criminal.  Mom put the fear into me of losing my conscience and landing in jail one day.  I was probably five. 

"Just know that there is always someone around you - probably someone you least suspect - who secretly admires you and the way you live your life.  It might be another kid; it might be someone younger than you who looks up to you; it might even be an adult!  But you must set a good example all the time, because you just never know who is watching you with admiration." 

"I found a dress that I think is just YOU!"
"Oh!  What's it like?"
"Well, it's olive drab..."

Upon high school graduation and entering college - the day before I left for college, my Mom said, "Your father and I have raised you up to know right from wrong, good from bad.  We've taught you how to live the Christian life.  And so now we are done, and the rest is up to you."   

Recently one of my special conversations with Mom came back to visit.  When I was a young adult, Mom explained how it comes to be, sometimes, when an older person passes away.  "Their stomach shrinks to a small size, and they cease taking food.  They do not feel hunger.  This is Nature's way, and the way God intended.  They stop taking liquids.  Again, this is Nature's way.  Their last sense to go is usually their hearing.  Isn't that interesting?  They can still hear our voices.  That is comforting."

A few days before my sister died, years ago, I asked my Mom, in anguish and with something like anger, "Why do people say that we'll see her in heaven, when I know all our earthly beings will be absent?!"  Mom looked off and said quietly, "There will be a little something in each other that we will recognize."  I hold this to be true.  That was the comfort I needed then, and the comfort I cling to now.

 Mom passed away this week, six months after my Dad, her husband of 67 years, passed away.  I think there is no real mystery in this.  I think this is a sweet circle of life, and there are very, very few of us that get to join this group of lucky stars, the ones who lose a love, pine a short time and then they, too, are off to enjoy that peace which passeth all understanding, on the comet-tail of their worldly partner. 

My sweet, sweet mother.  "I know we do not say this nearly enough, but your father and I love you.  Goodnight."  

My Mom:
Helene Merlene Webster, August 30, 1928-October 16, 2017, aged 89.

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