Friday, May 8, 2015

Remembering Mom on Mother's Day Weekend

Mother's Day is "one of those days." And this year, it comes only a few days after what would be her 97th birthday and only a couple of weeks past the 38th anniversary of her death. Needless to say, I have some very clunky emotional moods and moments in spring. (And yes, it gets easier and no, it never stops.)

I got my cooking passion from mom!
So, please indulge me while I share a few of my favorite photos of my mom, who left all too young and missed oh, so much.

She didn't know when this photo was taken that 40 years later our cottage would be next door to this wall

She was the third of four sisters and for a brief few years also had a younger brother. Throughout their lives they were close, although one sister died when I was only five and her children, all under 13. (The oldest, however, lived well into her 90s.)

At the lake -- Mom is the one laughing in front.
On Grace's wedding day with my grandparents
Gracie, here, died exactly seven months after my mom. I was 25, Grace's kids younger. So most of my cousins have had full lifetimes without our moms to share them with.

I love the old photos. They tell stories of my mom that I remember hearing. I wish I knew more. Some of the photos are stories in themselves. I'm told this photo was once used in an Oldsmobile ad -- it's Mom with her mom and brother. I'd love to find the real ad!

I don't know what it was about old cars, but I love these photos, too. They tell stories, they tell of a time.

I think she was older in this one -- not much. But the faded color leads me to believe this might have been a bit later.

There were times at the lake with her friend Fran. I cherish my visits with Fran who reminds me so much of the vitality and energy of my mom, the mom who would have made it to 97 years. The first person I go see when I get up north is Fran and I'm always delighted with the stories she shares.

But as much as I love these classics, my favorite photos are those from my lifetime. Mom and Dad loved hanging out with my her sister Grace and Marty. All gone now, but oh, the fun times. (None of us can remember why they were all dressed up while at the lake!) No one ever laughed more than my parents when they were with my aunts and uncles. One night while playing cards on the porch, my cousins and I heard continual merriment as the adults took an evening float-boat ride and passed the house more than a few times, the laughter and merriment increasing with every passing moment!.

A rare dress-up photo from the lake

At a wedding where we only knew each other -- Maybe it was more fun that way!
My mom adored Christmas. The house was always decorated to the hilt. Yes, I inherited that addiction. And the ornaments.

I also still have -- somewhere -- my dad's ugly Christmas pants and mom's skirt. Couldn't let that one go (Actually, these aren't the really ugly pants. Those were plaid.)

She was incredibly brave through her cancer and made wise, tough decisions during my childhood (along with my dad) that helped shape the person I am today. She loved to laugh and she loved presents and celebrations. She loved road trips, the lake, her family, everything I ever did, my friends, beautiful jewelry, England, cooking and fun.

But most of all, she loved Dad and Me.

How I wish I could take her to lunch for her birthday, find her the most fun presents, take her on a special day out or enjoy another trip to England together.

She carried her cancer with more elegance, grace, hope and optimism than anyone I've ever met.

She taught me to deal with things -- pain, bad days, fear. To be able to share them but not obsess on them -- at least, not too much with others. She taught me how to live while dying. When she was in the hospital there was always laughter, sleepovers, guests. I asked her once if all that tired her out and she said "I'll get my sleep."

So, here's to my mom -- and to all of you who are mothers or have their moms still. Yes, they all can be annoying or aggravating at times, they make mistakes, the can drive us nuts. But they gave us a great gift by bringing us into this world. They lived lives we'll never really know or understand because every time or era, every situation is different. But they are our moms, and they deserve a day. This day.

And if you are lucky enough to still have one, ask them about their lives, their childhood, take them to dinner or call. Because some day, you won't be able to -- and you'll really wish you could.


gigihawaii said...

Beautiful tribute to your mother. I wrote and self-published 3 memoirs, and my mom figures prominently in them. After she died in March of this year at the age of 99, I wrote a eulogy for her funeral.

Gwen said...

Jeanie, what a beautiful tribute of love and respect to your mother. I'm sure she's looking down and smiling at you now. Always. I'm so glad you have such wonderful memories, and awesome photos. Thank you for sharing.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

This whole post was a beautiful, emotional read but the last this line got me - "And if you are lucky enough to still have one, ask them about their lives, their childhood, take them to dinner or call. Because some day, you won't be able to -- and you'll really wish you could." That is wise advice. I hate that you lost your mom at such a young age. Life is so incredibly unfair at times. I am reminded of that often these days it seems as I have watched others lose parents and siblings at far too young of an age.

I see so much of you in your mom, and when you describe her personality and spirit, it also reminds me of you. Her legacy lives on in you. I'm thinking of all of you that will celebrate Mother's Day with a sense of pain and sadness over your loss...

Laura Quaglia (Fun With This and That) said...

The pictures are so nice. It is fun to see them old times You all so happy.
Hope you have a happy Mothers day

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

What a beautiful story about your lovely mother. I am so sorry that you didn't have her longer, but she instilled some wonderful traits in you.
I lost my mother when I was 21 years old. She was fun, good cook, loving mother and worked very hard at making a loving home for my father and me.
So my dear wishing you a beautiful Mothers Day.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Dear Jeanie,
What a beautiful post for your mother.
I just love all the old photos.. Such wonderful memories.
Thank you for your visit and kind words.. So happy you enjoyed Finn.

psychelyn said...

You made me teary eyed with your post again. I get quite emotional when it comes to "appreciating people we love" in life. I miss a lot of people in my life. I am VERY afraid that one day I'll regret not spending enough time with them. I try to and is praying for more chances to try harder.

I went to the graveyard today and had lots of recollection and thought about life.

This is a very beautiful post, a great tribute to a brave, very beautiful woman. I'm sure she'd been and always proud of you.

P.S. I don't really find your Dad's pants ugly. They're pretty cool and your Mom's skirt us fun :) Don't they bring fond memories? I love memories like that.

And oh, that car is really cool. The picture looks greatfor an ad. It'd be interesting to see the read ad.

I need orange said...

Her smile still graces this world -- on your face.

What a beautiful and loving tribute. I know she's very proud of you.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I know that you miss her still, but what wonderful tender memories you have of your life with her. My favorite photo is the one of you with your mom and dad.

Much love,

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to a lovely, strong, amazing woman -- who passed all those qualities and more to her daughter! What wonderful pictures -- hard to say which one moved me most, but I think it is the one with you smiling and embracing both your parents. You're so right about appreciating and getting to know one's parents and other elders while they are still with us. Though I loved listening to my parents' many stories of their younger years and collected family recipes, there is still so much I would love to ask. This year, I'm reaching the halfway mark in terms of losing them: I was 35 when they both died and they have been gone for 35 years. Hard to believe. I hope your beautiful post inspires some readers who still have their mothers to reach out with love, to listen and to savor time with them while they still can.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

It does get easier, but you are right: it never stops.

I had a small "melt down" yesterday as I was sitting at my desk at work, right before I was to go "on" and teach. I told myself, "WHY NOW?" as I fought to hold the tears back. I just finished reading Nancy Willard's poem, Swimming Lessons. Dang, did that strike a chord.

Our mothers are the life-givers that keep the world moving. How can we never shed a tear again for them? Life is made of water, of tears. Happy Mother's Day to YOU, sweet Jeanie! Anita

bj said... I am...bawling my eyes out because i miss my mom so much.
I am olden and she's been gone almost 30 years but you never, ever get too old to miss your mama.

Joanne Huffman said...

A lovely and loving tribute to your mom. I still miss my mom after all these years; I like to think I still share my life with her.

Arti said...

What amazing photos you've kept, Jeanie. These are precious, no, priceless, mementos and keepsakes. Very moving post. Thanks for sharing!

Becca said...

This touched me on so many levels. As my mom gets older, she is telling me more and more stories about her life, and I’m so grateful for that. As I read this, I wished you could have had your mom with you longer to hear those same stories.

I love the picture of you with your mom and dad. I have a similar one, and every time I look at it, I wish I could have that moment back. I bet you do too.

Sending you love and hugs, Jeanie.

Tante Mali said...

Oh Jeanie, so lovely pictures with tonns of memories. Your are right it never stops!!! But they are still somewhere around!!!
All my best to you and a warm hug for mothers day

Barb said...

Well, I'm in tears, Jeanie. I had 4 young children when my mother died. I felt like an orphan - really, I didn't know how life would go on without her. Like you, I cherish memories of my mother. I just love these old photos! I wish I had more than I do. However, the memories I hold in my heart are very special. Thanks for this tribute!

Bella Rum said...

Thank you for sharing these, Jeanie. They are wonderful and remind me of my own mother.

The photos at the beach and lake sporting the swimsuits are great. You mother was a lovely woman.

Victoria Zigler said...


psychelyn said...

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Tammie Lee said...

so lovely
your words
your mom
and all your family portraits

Nicole Rose said...

This was a very beautiful post. <3

Esme said...


this is a lovely tribute to your mum and so well put. Call while they are alive. My mum's birthday was a week ago-I miss that May comes and I cannot send her a card for her birthday or Mother's Day-I so loved that they were back to back. I am thinking of you today. And Happy Mother's Day to you.

xoxo E.

Marilyn Miller said...

What very precious memories of your mom. You were way too young to lose your mom.

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