Today, I miss my Mother something terrible.
Anybody who has lost a parent that they were close to will understand this post today. And although you did not know my Mother, most of you know a little something about me, which means you almost knew her. I am, for lack of a better term, my Mother's child.
Her name was Barbara Ann Louise Jane Casey (Murray). Born March 13th, 1930.
I had one of those classic Mothers. One that many friends wished they had. My friend Suki remembers meeting my Mother for the first time in 1985. She had come to my house for the first time, and was surprised to find that my Mom had greeted me with a kiss and a hug, had just pulled a pineapple upside down cake out of the oven, and was fixing dinner. Years later she told me how strange this all was to her. I, on the other hand, didn't remember this and why would I? There was nothing out of the ordinary about this scene. My Mother was a true "MOM".
She married my Dad in 1950, and raised five children. All four of her kids were the joy of her life. Four boys and one girl. They were married for 58 years when we lost my Dad in 2008. Needless to say, loosing him almost killed her. I think she was in shock for a year, picked up and tried to carry on, but knowing my Mother the way I did, I could tell something had changed. Her heart wasn't in it anymore. The love of her life was gone, and she began to stop living. Her smile was diming and she found little joy in daily life.
My Mom was a person who always looked for, and saw the best in people. She took every girlfriend (of my brothers) under her wing, and at the end of every relationship or marriage, these girls kept in touch with my Mother. She worked for elections, the church, taught grown people how to read, worked with an AIDS patient, a drove the handicap bus in our town. She loved dogs and cats, and we always had multiple pets. She loved music and musicals, and always loved records, CD's, DVD's, and went to the movies pretty often. She was so smart and was an avid reader. Our house was always full of books, magazines & newspapers. I got my love of all these things from her. I am who I am because of her. As Joe always used to say, "THAT apple didn't fall far from the tree"!
She loved Yosemite, road trips, family picnics, and Disneyland. I got the chance to take her to NYC in 2003, and she spent the rest of her life reliving and talking about that week. She was a wonderful baker and cook, and passed that love on to me. I grew up in the kitchen learning not only to cook, but learning techniques which I still practice today. Every time I'm in the kitchen cooking, I think of her.
Champion of the underdog, she was everyone's cheerleader. She loved everyhting I ever made for her, and would very often carry things around with her, pulling art from her purse, just to show friends what I had made for her. She loved history, ghost stories, the unknown and communicating with the dead. Her interests ran deep and wide, and made her someone you could spend hours with talking about almost anything.
Three years ago she came out to stay with my for a few months. A few months turned into a year, and when she began to not feel well, we found her doctors and started trying to find out what was wrong. Turns out she had cancer. A tumor in her abdomen area. She want through two treatments of chemo, which almost killed her and put her in the hospital after both treatments. The good news was that the tumor was gone, and all we had to do was recover form the chemotherapy. That....as it turned out was impossible to do.
She never did recover from it. She was basically bed ridden for the last year and a half. I would help her to a chair twice a day to eat and do exercises. She would take small walks around the dining room table, and back into her room. It was a year of changing her, feeding her, doctor appointments, medicine, and teeth. It was all okay. The last thing my Dad said to us was, "Take care of your Mother for me". Those were words that I'll never forget. I did find myself getting upset when I didn't think she was serious about getting better. Turns out I was trying to save someone who was ready to go be with her love. When I stopped trying to make her well, things got much easier for me. Slowly she started slipping away from me.
She held my hand until the very end. She died last November 30th at 3:38 am., surrounded by family and love. We got her back to Arkansas, and buried her with my Dad. Because of all our talks, I knew what she wanted. I picked out the clothes, the tokens to burie her with, the flowers, readings & the songs she wanted played. I was happy that she was with Dad, but my heart has been a little broken since she died. I miss her something terrible. I take great comfort in knowing that we will all be together again one day and that helps me. You know, tonight I sat in my craft studio, and tried to work, but started to think about her, and became sad. That's when I decided to do a blog post about her. Pardon the rambling here, but her spirit moved me tonight.
As a kid, every night before going to bed, Mom would bless us by making the sign of the cross on our forehead, with her thumb. Every time they visited us, or I visited them, I would get blessed. These last the years, every night I got one. It was very comforting to me. Up until a couple days before she died, I was still getting them. When she couldn't anymore, I took over and blessed her. Almost every night while laying in bed, I remember to bless myself the same way she did. I do this for her.
Mama...I miss you something terrible. I'm thankful you were mine, and that I'm so much like you. A true testament to life well lived, is how much love you get back from those who you touched. You gave a lot of love Mama, and you got got a lot back.
I'll see you again one day!