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I'm thinking about Mom--not Steve's mother, whom I call Mom. Well, I am thinking about her a little bit, as she'll be here in less than 24 hours, with her little dog, too. Her last visit was last September, so it really hasn't been that long. But hey, she wants to visit, she's welcome.

I'm thinking about my mother, Martha, who passed away June 18, 2001, after a 13-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was only 62 when she started showing symptoms, and within five years was in a nursing home.

Mom didn't have an easy life. Her own mother committed suicide when Mom was 4, and shortly thereafter my grandfather placed her and her 3 siblings in an orphanage, because he was too distraught to care for them. Mom always said she loved it at "The Home," but I know she missed out on having her mother around as she grew up. She married young--18 or 19, I think, to a local boy during WWII. My sister was born in 1947, and things went bad in the marriage after that. She was abused by her husband, fled to Miami with my sister, and divorced. After returning to upstate New York, she met my father and they were married in 1951. Several years ealier she had had surgery for ovarian cancer, and was told she would not be able to have more children. Surprise--my older brother was born in 1953, followed by three more over the next 13 years.

We had a pretty decent childhood, though we were very "working class" and had little money. My father was a meatcutter in a supermarket and Mom had to work in a tape and sandpaper factory. Right after my next youngest brother was born in 1960, a 100 pound weight fell on my mother's right arm at work and crushed it. Many operations and much therapy later, she regained use of the arm, but was in constant pain from the accident, both in her bad arm and her leg, where a nerve was removed to graft into the damaged arm. She seldom complained, but went back to work in the office of the factory, quitting when my youngest brother was born in 1966. A few months after he was born Mom discovered she was pregnant yet again. But this time she miscarried, lost a tremendous amount of blood and almost died. She also had a massive allergic reaction to some of the medication she was given, and had to be on medication for that the rest of her life.

I think I was closest to Mom of all my brothers and in some ways my sister. Mom was very intelligent--she had won a scholarship in high school to Cornell, but gave it up to get married to husband #1 during the war. She was the only one I could talk to in my family that halfway understood me. Up until the time she started to be affected by the Alzheimer's, we talked at least once a week and often more frequently. As I lived nearby, I visited very often, too--always on Mother's Day, usually with flowers in tow.

Mom loved flowers. One of her greatest pleasures, in spite of her physical pain from her injury and her intense arthritis (which I've inherited, alas), was working in her vegetable and flower gardens. Whenever I would visit during the summer, she would immediately bring me out to see the flower garden. Her simple joy in helping plants grow was so touching.

Every time I see the flowers in my yard blooming, I think of my mother. I feel her presence sometimes very strongly, but I still miss her. I wish she was still here, and I could bring her flowers again.

I love you, Mom.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 9th, 2004 03:53 pm (UTC)
Awww, that was a wonderful tribute. And she brought up such a nice son! Reminds me today is the day to post something about my mom....

May. 9th, 2004 04:11 pm (UTC)
that was a touching read. you mom looked like a sweet lady. ps. where can i get a piece of cake like that???
May. 9th, 2004 04:19 pm (UTC)
Lovely and evocative...your Mum does good work.
May. 9th, 2004 04:23 pm (UTC)
I wish I had met you earlier, so I could have seen your Mom as you remember her.
May. 9th, 2004 08:48 pm (UTC)
That's how I feel with Ray - except I never got to meet his mother....my biggest regret. From everything he tells me about her I (and Ray agrees) think we would have gotten along wonderfully.
May. 9th, 2004 05:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing that. My mom called me today because she was in Reno, NV on a trip with my Dad. I left her a message on her phone - but she hadn't heard it yet - she just called me. She was glad to hear that my daughter had called me - and I thanked her for the 'goodie box' she'd sent Josh and I for our birthdays. (His 4/23, mine 5/21) Towels and candlestick holders and place mats and razors and blades and lace curtains to 'put away for the new house'.
I didn't send her flowers this year because she's not going to be home until two weeks from now - but I sent her a long e-card and letter.

I cherish my mom, who is 61 this year - and lost her mother just after christmas. Makes me appreciate her even more. Thank you.
May. 9th, 2004 08:50 pm (UTC)
She sounds like a grand lady...she must have been to have a son like you.
May. 9th, 2004 10:10 pm (UTC)
What a touching, wonderful tribute to your mom. I'm sure she'd be very proud of you.
May. 10th, 2004 08:10 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for writing this! You and Steve were so good to me around the time of MY mother's death. I was a walking zombie most of the time during those days. Thanks again for being there. (Can you believe that was over 7 years ago??)
May. 10th, 2004 08:50 am (UTC)
It can be difficult
It can be difficult, especially around mothers day when you have lost, or never had your mother. Growing up I found my mother in my friends moms, and they took me as a son. I can't say I was completely lost in the mother directory. Reading this makes me love you're mom too. You're a fortunate guy to have had such a splendid woman for a mother, and it makes me feel fortunate to have had my moms as well.

This post made my day today, thx handsome ^_^
May. 10th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
What a great tribute to you mom. What an amazing person!
May. 10th, 2004 11:15 am (UTC)
What an outstanding tribute! I'm glad you have so many good things to remember.
May. 11th, 2004 05:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you for that very moving tribute to your mother. My mother also had a very difficult life growing up in a motherless home. And she, like your mother, managed to keep moving forward despite the challenges life threw at her. Thank you. I could not have read anything more poignant this Mother's Day.
May. 23rd, 2004 07:16 am (UTC)
Very moving tribute. Your mom obviously raised a son with a heart. Wherever she is now she must be so proud.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )