Wednesday, June 01, 2005

We Love You, Mom

My mom died 10 years ago today. I was reading one of her high-school English essays and came across this passage, "Round and Round - February", written when Mom was 14. It struck me as very much in the style of George Eliot:

Such brilliance as was gazed upon in the assemblies, week of February 24, when the "pride and joy", the "apple of good old Catonsville's eye" (i.e., the Honor Roll and Merit List), was exhibited to us poor mortals who somehow or other had remained in the 70% of saddened intellectuals (?) because of an average of below "C or above".
It seems that the students of Catonsville are bound to be reformed by their elders (teachers, preachers, parents), by hook or by crook. Who has not noticed the "stick man", opposite Mr. Maher's door, who raises a commanding hand and preaches the doctrine, "Avoid saying git and ain't." Who could miss, "Walk, don't run", "Single file please", and other such signs that are for the betterment of the younger generation?

From her eulogy:

Mom instilled in her sons a love of reading, particularly at the dinner table, for which her daughters-in-law have never forgiven her! The magic of books was made even more so by the abundance of books she gathered for us. Mom herself was a voracious reader. When she lost her eyesight, she continued by listening to books on tape (over 500 by one count). After her stroke, she was especially comforted by Dad reading to her.
Mom and Dad developed and shared many interests over the years: Williamsburg (where they courted), antiques, azaleas, oriental rugs, Japanese prints, and others. Many a quiet summer evening was enjoyed sitting in lawn chairs outside, watering the dogwoods and the azaleas.
I don't know how my brothers will remember Mom, but I will remember her getting a flat tire taking Sparky to the airport for his flight to an archaeological dig in Israel, playing chess with Peter on the chessboard Dad made, and watching soap operas with Andy. And I will remember the quiet pleasure during my college years of sitting in the dining room with a late-night snack and a good computer book, with Mom sitting in the living room reading or watching the news.
I believe that God used Mom's illness to prepare the rest of us for her death, to soften the loss to us. As I told my daughter, we can be glad that Mom is no longer sick and that she can now see her grandchildren whom she loved (and still loves) so much.
We love you, Mom.

We truly do. And we miss you.


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