Dear Mom - Happy Birthday

Dear Mom,

Fifty-five years ago, on this day, you were born. Almost five years ago, you went to Heaven.

As a tiny newborn, no one had any idea of exactly what you would accomplish.

You tackled the world.  Independent, strong, and gentle at the same time, you made your own way.  You were an amazing Mother, and I will never forget the lessons that you quietly taught me, in your stern but patient manner.

I have so many amazing memories, and then, I have to admit, I have some that weren't so great (who doesn't in a parent/child relationship?), and I bet you do too!  That said, our mother/daughter relationship was really the best of the best. I have no regrets.

Remember when you would french braid my hair and get frustrated because I wasn't holding the pony-tail holder right where you needed it?

Then, there was the time that you were so sad about the divorce from my dad. You were trying to be cheerful,  when I caught you silently sobbing (you didn't believe in crying out loud or in public), trying to be strong for us girls.  Remember how you were holding a spoonful of whipped cream, and when we went in for a hug, it made a big "splat" on the floor?  We all giggled together through our tears.  Laughter is the best medicine.

Our special times at the lake will remain forever in my heart.  I still sit in the exact same spot that you used to sit on the dock at the lake, and God help the person who sits there instead of me.  Crack a Keystone Light for me!

I remember when you were taking your Minnesota boards, and we stopped at a picnic area on the way to St. Paul.  Then, we proceeded to drive around the same circle for an hour, and though we could see the building you needed to get to, we just couldn't quite figure out the St. Paul traffic.  You got us there, though.  You always got us where we needed to be.  And you know what?  You still do.

Our road trips are by far my favorite, because that's when we could talk without distraction.  We could talk, and talk and talk - for hours, driving to see Maggie, driving to a holiday weekend, driving to the lake.  We may have crashed into a deer or two (which made us all cry - once, you got out and petted one until it was gone), but we always made it safely.

You could take a bad guy out like no one.  You might not have looked intimidating, but by God, you were the last person a criminal wanted to get mixed up with.  Good grief, some of the things that you did would make a person fall over, just thinking about it.  But, I knew you, and I never was afraid for you.  If anyone could protect us, it was you.  And you did.  Always.

I miss our daily phone conversations; I will forever.  Instead of hearing your voice before I crawl into bed at night, I talk to you in my prayers.  You taught me that, too.  "When we can't be together, we'll be together in spirit.  Wrap your arms around yourself, and know that it's me hugging you.  We're under the same moon and stars," you told me...over and over.  I know you are still there, watching out for us.

You made the absolute best sandwiches in the world.  In fact, I loved everything you ever cooked.  No mayo for the Murray gals! Must have lean meat, cheese, and lettuce. I miss your cooking so very much, but I model my methods after yours.  I love following your recipes in your handwriting, and remembering your hands measuring, pouring, and stirring.  Although, I admit, I have to add quite a bit of garlic and spices to please Craig's palate.  But, I know you know that.   

Remember when I was sixteen and bought the duckling?  You were ever so supportive, and let me keep it; Tucker was his name.  We were both surprised when it followed me everywhere - swimming in the lake, following me around our yard, and even sleeping in the house with a diaper.  When it turned out to be a goose, you set up a home for it in the backyard.  That was you, Mom, a tender heart to all animals and humans.

The day that we found out that you were sick, I never once gave up hope, not ever.  While everyone was preparing for the worst, I just couldn't stand to think of life without you.  I know you weren't scared - you were never scared of much - but you were "damn mad", as you told us.

You had hundreds of people in and out of your ICU room to say goodbye, and I'll always remember how you insisted on brushing your teeth and grooming yourself before anyone visited.  You were brilliantly beautiful, even in your last hours.  Even Rudy thought so, when he visited you in the hospital for the last time.

My heart hurts, Mom, and I will never, ever forget who you were or stop loving you.  You were my light, my guide, my wisdom.  When I come to a situation that confuses me, or face a decision that I scares me, I think of you what you would have advised me to do.  You taught me well, and those lessons will remain with me forever.  Still, I will never be as good as you. 

Oh, one more thing.  I just read this to Murray, and he wants to tell you how much he loves you.  We all do.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You'll never know, Mom, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

The other night dear, while I lay sleeping,
I dreamt I held you in my arms.
But when I woke up,
I was mistaken,
And I hung my head I and I cried.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are gray.
You'll never know, Mom, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.  -Jimmie Davis

Sleep tight and be at peace, dear Mama,
Marie, Craig, Murray, and Rudy


Andy's mom, Jane said...

You are a true writer, Marie... You have a gift, and a wonderful heart and are able to move people with your words. I'm sure your mom is looking down at you with pride, and saying, "That's my daughter!

Marie said...

Awww, Jane, thank you! What nice things to say. When I write, I just let my heart guide my hands. Hope you are well!

Mel said...

Oh, such a sweet tribute to your beautiful mother. I am sorry she is not here in person to share things with you.