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Despite all my efforts to try to avoid listening to songs about Mother’s Day, reading all the exchanged salutations, be they in written form or pictures of flowers, or even jokes, I have been bombarded by all from all sides. Mobile messages inviting me to buy presents at discounted prices for my Mom, or take her to a lovely lunch/dinner at such and such a place. The straw that broke the camel’s back was having to listen to the Mother’s song when I called my vet, who had it as a ring tone! So, if you cannot beat them, join them. I shall embrace Mother’s Day today, celebrate it by remembering everything I could that made my life a joy when my Mom was here. Maybe this is God’s way of telling me that I am not going about things the right way, that I really need to reassess what I have been doing. Instead of being stuck with the extremely painful fact of her loss, maybe what I should do is celebrate all the years I was lucky enough to have her with me.
She was always a very loving, cheerful person, and that made her an excellent Mom to young children who had unbound energy and the exuberance of innocence. She played with us, teased us, laughed with us, tended our scraped knees and elbows, comforted our fears, told us bedtime stories, supervised our baths, our nutrition, helped with our school work, planned and participated in our outings and was always there when we needed her.
I remember as we grew up, that I saw her reading a rather thick book and asked her what that was. It turned out that she was reading about child psychology to help her understand us better and treat us right. Although her strong maternal intuition helped her a great deal, yet she still wanted to take no chances where her children were concerned. She actually taught herself about child psychology. If this is not an act of love, show me one that is.
Although my brother and I, as small children, had a nurse called Gizelle who took care of our physical needs, saw to our waking up and preparations, breakfast and then walking us to our school which was ten minutes away from the house, yet my Mom was involved in every aspect of our lives. She was the one who specified what our breakfast should consist of. I remember, in later years, thinking that if they were fattening us up for slaughter they could not have fed us any better. But it was not really fattening, it was a very, very healthy breakfast, consisting of cooked beans, purée, with a couple of hard boiled eggs mashed into it and a full glass of milk. Then a brisk walk for ten minutes to get to school, then we were set for the day. I also remember meeting one of my kindergarten teachers, years later, who remarked about how great I looked, as a child, with rounded rosy checks and unlimited energy. All this goes to the credit of my Mom.
On getting older, and after becoming more independent, those horrible teenage years, she was always there, either as a friend listening to our complaints, or as the disciplinarian sorely needed by any growing child through those difficult years. My brother and I passed through those years with minimal damage, mostly due to her efforts.
With adulthood came real appreciation on our part for all the efforts she had put in during all the previous years, as well as appreciation of all her stellar qualities as a human being. A very strong woman who overcame so many different kinds of disappointments and losses, especially of loved ones, she is now my shining example how I should try to live up to her standards, even though the loss I have suffered is that of losing her. Not only had her health been drastically affected when we were in our late teens, but the loss of her very close siblings, one after the other, were very hard blows indeed. Still, she stuck to her belief that the living took precedence over the dead, and life should go on and be lived fully and with joy.
She was the one and only person with whom I had lived all my life, and although the change in our relationship was very gradual and took place over a couple of decades, starting with my Father’s passing away, yet the love we had go reach other remained strong till the end. After my Father passed away, my Mom went through a phase of fear. Fear of being alone, fear of the future even fear for our safety. As I was the one living with her, it fell to me to cope with these fears, and thank God I was able to. I stepped up to the plate and took over the handling of everything, the finances, the shopping, the staff and running the house, as well as a full time job. Gradually, she came back as the happy, secure woman she had always been, and life continued, with both of us doing our share, enjoying each other’s company, and very, very rarely ever getting into an argument. We both loved life, enjoyed beauty and it was through her encouragement that I acquired our little apartment on the North Coast, where we spent our summer vacation, and even once or twice went and spent a few days in winter there. I also acquired the house out in the desert where we moved to and lived in for more than a decade.
Though her health was failing over the last decade and a half, where thank God, a very slow Alzheimer’s disease was taking over, yet we still had our good times, we still enjoyed being together, where we could talk for hours, or a few minutes, but understood one another completely, trusted one another completely and had each other’s confidence and well being at heart.
Today is a day of celebration, so I shall not touch upon the difficulties and pain of the latter years, I shall just remember the laughter and the joy. I am sure that had she been here that that would be exactly what she would have wanted. Happy Mother’s Day Mumzy.