Losing Mom

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          September 5, 2013

      It is hard to change from what has always been!

For all my life my mom has always been. Today is day three of this new place, this new part of the journey, that has never been a part of me before.

This is stranger than all the other changes in my life. It isn’t like switching from cassette tapes to CD’s, or even moving from Michigan to Colorado. Losing a parent is like losing part of your identity. You go back and look at old family pictures. Mom was there at my third birthday. When I think of birthdays I still think of two-layer coconut white cake. When I think of Christmas celebrations in our house on Lexington Road in Winchester, Kentucky, Mom was there…a little drowsy, but she was there. I didn’t understand at that point that the night had been short for her. I thought she had gone to sleep right after the kids did, so that she wouldn’t be in Santa’s way.

When Dad was having to travel for his position with the Social Security Administration Mom was there with us “three munchkins.” She rarely used the excuse of working all day and not having the energy to cook dinner…so let’s go out to eat! Skillet cornbread and a pot of home-grown green beans was often our meal. In fact, the first time I had yellow cornbread I felt someone had made a mistake, because it was way different than Mom’s. I had the same reaction to “ham salad”. I didn’t realize that REAL ham salad had ham in it. Ours was made out of baloney, and it was awesome! No one told me it was “poor man’s ham salad!”

In fact, food often defined Mom. We never had to go to Bob Evan’s Restaurant. We were better!

Oyster dressing at Thanksgiving! Fried chicken! Squash casserole! Christmas fruit cake! Sweet tea! Sunday night popcorn as we watched The Ed Sullivan Show. Soup beans and the same aforementioned skillet cornbread.

Mom and Dad teamed together before equality was a popular term. Dad always drove, but Mom always talked and prompted discussion. In an age before cell phones, conversations were always “in car.” No one else was there to interfere, unless it was Tennessee Ernie Ford singing “Sixteen Tons” on the staticy radio.

Mom was always shotgun. The three kids always sat in the back seat. On the long trips to Paintsville, Kentucky, we could be assured that Mom would drift off at some time. The idea for bobblehead dolls came from watching her head bobble back and forth in a few moments of quiet slumber. The snickers from the back seat would some how awake her and we would then receive “the look.”

She was a perfectionist. Quite often when we lived on Thomas Street in Ironton, Ohio, she would tell me to go clean my room because “…it looks like a tornado hit it!” I’d go into my bedroom and the “tornado” had resulted in a bed spread being uneven and a closet door being open. I had a distorted view of the damage that tornados can do as a result of that. Our house was clean. In fact, in recent years when Mom and Dad were hiring someone to come in once a month to clean the lady would show Dad the cleaning cloth she used that had no visible remnants of dust or dirt on it. There was suspicion that Mom had cleaned before the lady had gotten there because she didn’t want the house to look like a tornado had hit it. That would be an  embarassment!

College graduation photos…Mom was there. Seminary graduation photos…Mom was there! Wedding photos…Mom was there!

And so now I enter into a time that has never been. She is not there, and yet she is. The smells and scents as I entered my parents’ house on Tuesday were connections to Mom. Opening the refrigerator and seeing pimento cheese reminded me of Mom.

I can hear her voice in the silence. Even though I am in a time that has never been before the whispers of the past cling to the present.

Thank you, Mom! Who I am can not be separated from who you were.

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Christmas, Community, Faith, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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2 Comments on “Losing Mom”

  1. Laura Patterson Says:

    what a beautiful tribute to your mom! a new chapter will also be feeling like an orphane. it is normal to feel alone when the last person on earth who loves you unconditionally is no longer here. i don’t want to bring you down just to validate any feelings. Love ya Bill!


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