Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dirt: My mother.

I am not sure where to start.

 My mother passed away two weeks ago very unexpectedly. My sister called to tell me she was in the hospital  and 24 hours later, she was gone. I drove to Murfreesboro to be with Karen at the hospital and to tell my mother goodbye. The whole experience was surreal. 
There was no will or even discussion, at least while we were adults of plans. 
We had to decide about very adult things like quality of life and funerals.

My sisters and I all had different relationships with my mother.
My was tense and difficult to say the least. We had not spoken in months and what communication we did have was via email, which was easier for me.
However, she was my mother and when I was little, she was a very good one.  She taught me silly songs, introduced me to my love of music and musicals, and made me my favorite meal on my birthday (Lima beans and cornbread) and tolerated the way I played with Barbie dolls -ripping off their heads repeatedly. I was a weird kid to say the least, but my mother never made me feel like I was.

My just younger sister, Karen was closer and she is truly bearing a heavy grief. She lost not only her mother, but also the grandmother to her children and indeed a friend. Picking up the phone  to chat is no longer an option and that is devastating to her.  My baby sister, Jennifer is a champ and her relationship, though strained like mine, was stronger.
We all have mothers. As women, our relationships are complicated as we grow up and try to find our identity apart from our mothers. I watch as my daughters try to emulate my behavior and break away at the same time. Mothering is not easy.
My mother was not a great mother.  However, she gave birth to three really dedicated and awesome mothers. We have all learned from our  childhood experiences and have taken the great qualities that she had and made them our own.
My mother was a good listener and could help solve any problems that were not her own.
She also had a razor sharp quick wit that truly was unique and she was very silly. The last two qualities helped her get through the tough times in her life, many of which were caused by her lifelong depression.

I see all of these in my sisters and me.
We all are silly, and humor carries us through the difficulties we face in our lives as mothers, wives and human beings.Both of my sisters are great listeners who can make you feel like your problems are the only ones they care about. We all share the wit in varying degrees, but the sharpness is mine. Whether that is good or not is to be debated, but it is my inheritance and I see it in both of my daughters as well.

Grief is a sneaky bastard. You think you feel one way about something and then BAM! Grief sneaks in and opens up doors that have been closed for years. You think you have dealt with the situation at hand and then WHAM-O! Grief sneaks back and starts the cycle over again. Lovely.

So, as the weeks move on and we tie up loose ends, we will hopefully move onto pleasant memories and the heavy burdens we are carrying now will be lightened. Our hearts will remember her as funny and caring and forget about the things that caused us strife.

She was our mother and she will be missed.


  1. thanks for sharing this. I'm guessing it was good and hard to write. And again, sorry about your loss.

  2. Well put and I know enough about your early years to understand. I know nothing about your adult years except what I see in this very interesting blog of yours and you should be extremely proud of yourself and your family! I never knew Kathy suffered from depression, she always seemed so up but I saw her so seldom and really only communicated on FB. I did love my friend of 44 years and will miss her!