I started this early on Mother’s Day morning, but just couldn’t finish it…my heart was a wee bit heavy. So, here it is a day late.
Yesterday, I attended my great aunt’s burial service. It was a small, intimate occasion; the larger memorial service will be next week. It was a lovely funeral. By that I mean, while I am sad for my cousins and their families, it was lovely to see them, it was lovely to honor their mother/grandmother with them, it was lovely to see the love they had for this great lady, it was a lovely, intimate service.
My aunt will be missed.
But, what really made an impression was not the message from my cousin’s pastor–it was meaningful, hopeful and comforting–the moment that stood out was when my cousin stood up and spoke about her mother. Diane told a story about my aunt that I never knew, describing in detail how her mother was dedicated to not only the success of her husband, but, also to the success of her children. It was quite touching and personal. Then, my cousin used this word to describe her mother: strength.
My thoughts immediately went to my mother.
(She’s pregnant with my sister in the above picture.)
I, too, would use the word strength to describe my mother, but maybe for different reasons from how my cousin spoke of her mother.
My mother was strong in many ways; strong in her independence, in her confidence, in her ability to lead, in her use of words…. She was strong-willed, but not necessarily in a negative manner. And, she was intensely private.
*Her laughter was undeniably contagious. My sister and I both inherited her loud cackle. I’m sure my loud laugh embarrasses my sons, just as my mother’s embarrassed me when I was younger.
*I wish I had known my mother when she was in high school and college! She sounded like a very fun friend.
From the moment people started arriving for the visitation, after she died, the stories of her past were being shared. It made me long to know her before there was me, if that makes sense.
She had a mischievous and daring spirit. She was sort of a ring-leader, so to speak. And, her classmates and roommates loved her for it. They apparently did things they never would have thought of, had it not been for my mother’s pioneering approach to life….
I’ve never been a big risk-taker. I wish I had more of that attribute of my mother.
*My mother has always been a loyal friend. I saw it over and over throughout the years. She kept in touch with so many people.
Over the years, we would vacation with old neighbors from Dallas, we would meet for Homecomings at Baylor with her college suite mates and their families, we would have families from all over come visit us after we moved out to the country, her library friends were invited to my wedding, we would travel to Bowl games during football season and meet up with all our aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. The list goes on.
*She kept in touch and nurtured those relationships. And they were all quite different from each other: she had her high school friends, her college friends, her neighborhood friends, her small-town friends, her library friends, her family members… My mother was able to move through very different circles of people and befriend them, for life.
It was an amazing thing to watch.
*My mother gave back to her community. She started our small town’s library 35-plus years ago. Besides her dedication to my father and to my sister and me, I believe that is the one area where I will always be the proudest of her. She gave a community of a little over 300 a library they could be proud of. I didn’t really appreciate that until I was quite a bit older. I’m slow like that.
*She loved her Baylor Bears…
There’s so much more to my mom…more than just football and loud laughter. But, some things are meant to be held close to the heart. I can’t share much more than I am, at the moment, because I need to hold on to some of the more private and beautiful aspects and characteristics of my mother. Plus, I’m sure there’s much more I won’t even understand about my mother until I am much, much older.
As I wrap up, I am brought back to the scripture Diane read about her mother. She read from Proverbs 31. A beautiful chapter in the bible.
And, while many women strive to be the Proverbs 31 woman, I believe there are a few who actually achieve it.
I guarantee my Aunt Dorothy was probably one of the very few who truly lived out the whole chapter.
Diane ended with, “Her children arise and call her blessed.” (The Message version says, “her children respect and bless her.”)
Aunt Dorothy was blessed.
And, so was my mom.
And we were all blessed by knowing them, loving them, and being loved by them.
I hope, one day, when my children are reflecting on my life, they will be able to arise and call me blessed, too.
Happy Mother’s Day,