Light as a feather

Mom, this time of the year always floods my mind with memories

of you

You we’re so stoic & mysteriously beautiful

I’m not sure how many girls dropped out of Bothell High school in 1938

Although you never graduated you amazed me with your intellect.

You could whip through any crossword puzzle at lightning speed.

You were an incredible speller.

But here you are. You were only 15. And nowYou had your first

child in 1939

How did you cope having 3 children by the time you were 19?

Then you waited as you raised my 3 siblings. You waited until

you were 27.

Then in 1949 you let me be conceived & you protectively cuddled me

in your womb while I was designed. Thank you for giving me life.

I wish I could have blessed you as much as you have blessed me with

yourself. Memories of you are so rich & you were the greatest.

I remember when I was three & you taught me hymns while I sat

on a potty chair. I’m sorry mom. I was such a bed wetter.

Those memories are mixed with joy because you were patient with me.

I remember how you taught me about Bible heroes of the faith with

flannel graft.

I remember in 1957, we lived on Capitol Hill. You bought me a

JC Higgins bike. I thought it was so cool riding on Broadway with my

new bike.

Man, you wouldn’t recognize that area now. I was at blood-works

on Capital hill 2 days ago. I walked up & down Broadway.

I got a burger at Dicks drive in.

But I remembered those times in the 1950s.

I used to put a home built hydroplane on the end of a thick string & drag

it around in back of my bike. I also put playing cards that I close pinned

on to vibrate in my spokes. I’m sure you would have rode a bike with me

if we could have afforded one. But we were scraping by with very little.

But also, those memories bring back the embarrassment of me

being such a pathetic baby for so long. How miserable & inadequate

of me to put you through that. But I remember your patience & love.

Seems like I was 9 or 10 until I got that wetting thing squared away.

I remember, maybe I was 10, when you had that radical removal of your

breasts for cancer. It was so devastating for you & you ended up

with gaping indentations in your chest. You were in so much pain from

those physical gashes & concavities in your anatomy. I think that

was 1959 or 1960. I wish I would have journaled that because I feel

sketchy in my memories. I wanted to comfort you. But I was this loser

bed wetter. I’m so sorry.

Then, I think it was 1962. This moment is really etched in my memory.

I think Nancy had given you your 1st grand child. So Marjorie was carry

another grand baby. It was thanksgiving & you we’re in the kitchen


To this day I have no idea why Marjorie, who was due any day & Larry

her husband drove over Snoqualmie pass in a blizzard.

So here you are cooking & we get a call. Dad answers the phone.

Then he turns from the phone in shock & says Marjorie & the baby have

been killed.

I’m standing next to you & you fall on your face to the kitchen

floor screaming & wailing & beating the floor with your hands.

It was like someone ripped something from each of our hearts

that day.

Your whole emotional architecture was never the same after that.

I wish I could have reached out to you with more understanding & love

then. But I was just 12 & was not coping myself with the tragedy.

I’m so sorry.

Of course I could dribble on & on with things that are in my heart about

you. But mom, let’s jump ahead. It seems like it was one cancer surgery after

another after that.

It’s now 1984. I’m living in Bellingham. I had a sales route where

I would drive from deception pass down to the ferry dock on Widbey Is.

I’d come across the ferry & drop in to see you in Bothell. As I remember it

I did that 2-3 times per week. You we’re declining more & more. I wanted

to pray over you & touch you with love & some kind of comfort.

I really hope I did. It’s like a lot of stuff in my memories, I tend to feel like

I tried hard, but wow, those were hard times for you.

You really had your stoic going big time. It’s like your emotions were

closing up inside of you. You we’re not talking much at all. I wish I could

have drawn you out more then. I’ll talk about that today, some more,

when I visit where your body is sleeping. There’s no reason to write

about those private moments we had with each other.

So that brings us to this day in 1986. Thanking for letting me share that

day with you. It’s one of my richest memories with you. I was 36.

You were 63. You let me be with you. You listened while I read Psalms

to you. You let me hug you. You let me comfort your forehead with a

warm wash rag. I know, it was awkward for me, you weren’t talking now.

But being with you as you stepped into Heaven, although it was sad

for me, it was glorious for you.

A new life. You were free now of pain & sorrow. Now you are in the

arms of Jesus. It just doesn’t get any better then eternal life.

Then, I watch this guy come. I watched them put you in a bag.

I’m sorry I got so upset with the guy who picked you up & put you

on that weird hand truck. I’m still irked that as he wheeled you

down a step at a time that if was so jarring on your body.

I know you were actually in Jesus arms then. But your body meant

so much to me & all the pain you had been through, it just wasn’t

sitting will with me that you were being banged around in your

own house. I really wish I would have just carried you out myself.

I looked at the van he came in & it was full of body bags with bodies.

I got upset again. I couldn’t get my emotions to cooperate. I felt you

deserved to have your own vehicle. I didn’t want you in a crowded

van full of dead bodies.

Suddenly my mind raced back to 1969. I had come home on

leave from the military. You let me borrow your beautiful new

Pontiac Bonniville. I took it out & totaled it. It was your favorite

car. You, after that never had as nice a car. I’m so ashamed I

wrecked the best car you loved so much. I never told you I was

smoking dope in your car before I went through that red light.

How grieving to have to admit that.

So, as they put you in the van, I looked away at your flower garden

and I wished you had been healthier over the final years of your

life. You so much enjoyed your flowers.

I miss you. Now I’m 70. I’d love to sit by the flowers & visit with you

as we enjoyed the flowers together. But you’ve left me with your

rich memories. And you mean so much to me.

I almost forgot. Thank you for giving me a deep love for sports.

You were amazing. You were kind of a Tomboy. You watched every

Baseball, Basketball & Football game they put on TV. You even

watched boxing. There were only 3 or 4 channels. But you were

amazing & a one of a kind.

You know I dreamed of being a preacher. Kind of a odd aspiration

I suppose. It makes me feel bad you never were healthy enough to

come listen to me drone on from a lectern.

Did you here me while I spoke at your funeral. Thank you for letting

me share that time with you at your memorial.

I still have those notes & the jottings of Temple Bailey that I read.

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is this the long way?”

she asked.

And the guide said: “Yes & the way is hard. And you will be old before

you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”

But the young mother was happy & she would not believe that anything

could be better than these years. So, she played with her children,

and gathered flowers for them along the way & bathed them in the

clear streams & the sun shone on them & the young Mother cried,

“Nothing will ever be lovelier than this.”

Then the night came & the storm & the path was dark & the children

shook with fear & cold & the mother drew them close & covered them

with her mantle & the children said,

“Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near & no harm can come.”

And the morning came & there was a hill ahead & the children climbed

and grew weary & the mother was weary. But at all times she said to

the children

“A little patience & we will be there.”

So, the children climbed & when they reached the top they said,

“Mother, we would not have done it without you.”

And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars & said,

“This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude

in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I have

given them strength.”

And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds

of war & hate & evil & the children groped & stumbled & the mother said: “

“Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.”

And the children looked & saw above the clouds an everlasting glory,

and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said,

“This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”

And the days went on & the weeks & the months & the years & the mother

grew old & she was little & bent. But her children were tall & strong & walked

with courage.

And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a

feather & at last they came to a hill & beyond they could see a shining

road & golden gates flung wide. And mother said,

‘I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better

than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children

after them.”

And the children said,

“You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone

through the gates.”

And they stood & watched her as she went on alone & the gates closed

after her. And they said:

“We cannot see her but she is with us still. A mother like ours is more

than a memory. She is a living presence.”

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you

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