He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
Psalm 23:3a (New Living Translation)
I have had my blog since 2013. In the five years writing, I have only written about this woman twice on her birthday. I just checked to make certain.
I was eleven when she died. Some years her birthday warrants just a short glimpse of a memory. Other years I am affected by her birthday.
In light of what I have been writing lately, I knew that I would eventually write about her, and since today would have been a celebration of her, why not today?
As the years go on memories of my Mom ebb and flow. Sometimes there is a clarity to the memories like looking through a window pane. Time seems to be non-existent, like she could be sitting right beside me. Other times the memories are like an old faded letter. The edges are worn and the ink is fading. Time has begun to erase the sharp edges and the clarity of what you are grasping for.
In reality, how many of us truly remember everything from when we were eleven and before? That is an age of being a child. A place where things like cancer and death should not exist. A place where there should not be a bed set up in what was a playroom before. There should not be memories of a table filled with prescription bottles and get well cards. A child should not know what a bed pan is or how to empty it. But, this child, along with her sisters knew that. It was our reality. It was what part of our childhood consisted of for six months.
While thinking of writing this post I wondered what lessons I had gleaned from my Mom. She taught us the basics, how to eat, wash, take care of ourselves, iron, do some laundry. We learned by mistakes how to cook, clean, iron things other than handkerchiefs, how to get groceries, how to be strong, independent women. We learned to take things in stride. We had learned the hard lessons already, people get sick and people die and you learn to stand up, dust yourself off and move in a forward direction.
I spent many years in differing situations wondering what my Mom would do, what she would think, what she would say. I still do that occasionally. The truth is, I don’t know. For the woman who I knew and love was young. I was young. The truths she would have imparted to me would be the truths you tell a child. Truths that are not totally complete, for as a child how can you grasp a full concept of things?
The one thing I always remember is her telling me that Psalm 23 was her favorite Bible verse. Of course, it may have been for that moment it was her favorite, but, I hold that psalm close to me as being her favorite. I chose this verse today because of her. Also, this verse reminds me of Whose guiding hand has been ever-present in my life. He has guided me when I didn’t have a Mom to verbally tell me not to do things. Did I always listen? No, just like I would not have listened to my Mom always.
The point is, though, that we are given one mother. She brings us in to the world. She nourishes us, holds us, loves us and teaches us as much as she can. As a mother myself, I know mothers are not perfect creatures. We tire. We get discouraged. We sometimes focus on the wrong things. We don’t always listen with an open mind. We don’t always agree with what is going on. But, underneath all of it, at the very core of our hearts, that bond between mother and child is permanently knit into our being. It is a cord that cannot be severed. It is our lifeblood. It is our heartbeat. It is that voice deep within us that echoes throughout us.
That cord was broken so many years ago, but the song of love still exists for me. Happy Birthday Mom. You are still missed.