This post is very special to me. Mother’s Day is a time to recognize all the women who have nurtured children in their lives. My mother won’t be here with me this year to celebrate all she gave me. I miss her.
I miss the time when I was a young girl and we went to the zoo to see all the animals and to share a picnic lunch there.
It was remembering those special times that gave me the inspiration to invite her on a vacation to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Just the two of us. We shared stories, laughed, and listened to books on tape during our drive. We visited Dollywood and Cade’s Cove. We shopped, sampled meals at different restaurants, watched shows. And at night we sat in chairs and did needlework and talked about all the good times we’d had that day. It was Mom’s first real vacation … EVER. Two years prior to the trip, Mom had undergone a six way by-pass heart surgery. The doctors said many of her smaller arteries were still clogged but they couldn’t do any more. She revived well, lost weight and regained energy. I’ve never seen my mother’s eyes so full of joy as during our time at Dollywood.
After my father passed in January 2005, I tried to convince Mom to sell her house and move to Ohio to be with us. She wasn’t ready yet to leave her home and I could understand that. She’d lived in the same place for 50 years. But I did convince her to come visit us at the end of summer. She’d never been to our house before. We always made the trip to Illinois to visit them each year. What a treasure this picture is of her with her grandchildren in September 2005. But after two weeks she was ready to go home.
Four years passed and mom could no longer keep up with the house. So we made plans to convert our home to accomodate her. I know how difficult the decision was for her to make. She had to leave her beloved home, family members, and her cherished cats behind. She felt her cats were too old to make the journey. This is a picture of Mom in her home holding Maggie, her special friend.
On Memorial Day week in 2009, we traveled to Illinois to get her. It was a bittersweet time. My heart ached knowing I would never be visiting my childhood home again and I know Mom’s heart was breaking. She was a trooper. The first night in her new bedroom, she was sitting on the side of the bed with her head down. When I asked her if she was all right, her response was: “I’m just thanking God for all my blessings.”
Being near her grandchildren and great grandchildren was special to her. We all lived so far away and some of her great grandchildren she’d only seen in pictures before. Mom liked to have fun. At one of the great grandkids birthday party, she put on some silly wax teeth with me and middle daughter and let her picture be taken. Though mom worried about appearances and whether people would like her, with family she was a different person.
Mom made the best of her new situation. And our cats comforted her in the loss of the ones she’d left behind. Templeton adopted her. He would lay on her walker and wait for her to give him a ride. Mom got her exercise pushing him around from kitchen to bedroom and back again. To this day, we occasionally give him a ride on the walker.
Mom enjoyed sitting in her chair in the living room and visiting with family. On Christmas, everyone came to visit, even a son who lives in Colorado. I love this picture of her taken on Christmas 2009.
Then just four days after Christmas, Mom suffered a major heart attack. On December 30, 2009, she went on to her eternal home. I miss her all the time. I’m so glad we were able to spend her last seven months on earth together and I know she’s looking down from heaven with a smile. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you!