So I’m feeding my mom lemon pudding. Those huge green, earnest eyes gazing up at me. Even as her body declines so quickly, my mother’s eyes remain as beautiful as ever. The first eyes I saw when I drew my first breath. Eyes that could discipline me from across a crowded room without a single word. Eyes laughing at my horrible not-funny jokes. Eyes where I’ve seen joy and pain and anger and pride over my smallest accomplishment. Eyes closed as she taught me to pray, framed in the face of the woman who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.
I lost it.
My daughter had to finish feeding her the pudding while I tried to collect myself.
Tonight as I said goodbye, we clasped hands, not willing to let go just yet. She reached her tiny, frail hand up, brushed away my hair and wiped a tear from my cheek. Then she said, “I hope you know how deeply I love you.” And those beautiful green eyes smiled into mine.
The reality has hit me hard today. There is no telling what the future holds. Hopefully there will be many other moments of laughter and tears, but this is a precious memory I will carry with me for always.
I wrote these words two years ago, about six weeks before my precious Mama passed away. Actually, I sat in a funeral home planning her service on Mother’s Day of that year. The holiday has since been hard, so very hard. I think of her most days, normally with a big smile (or even small smirk), but this time of year her loss is more profound. I think if I try to write too much more today I will venture into the excessively emotional, so I’ll keep it brief.
Mothers are an absolutely amazing gift. Her capacity for beauty, for love, for sacrifice is beyond measure. Treasure that precious woman you call Mama, even if she – gasp! – wasn’t perfect. Even if she was a total screw-up. Or maybe the woman who gave birth to you, for any of a multitude of reasons didn’t, or perhaps couldn’t, live up to expectations. I’m reasonably sure that there was a wonderful, caring woman somewhere along the way who invested in you. Some of the best mothers I know are just such women. They never actually gave birth, but, oh my, how they have poured into the children around them! Celebrate her. Call her. Take her to lunch. Or if she is no longer with you, write a letter to her and tell her what a difference she made in your life. Draw her a picture. Sing her a song. Forgive her imperfections; applaud her successes.
Honor her by investing of yourself in some young (or not-so-young) person who needs you.
You are who you are because of the fingerprints she left on your life.