The Way We Were~

Mem'ries light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored mem'ries of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we
Mem'ries may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were
The way we were

You remember this song, right? There was also a movie with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. A love story. Well, I've had a love story of sorts with my mom all my life. That's how it should be between a mom and her daughter(s), right?  I am so blessed that's how it was with me. My mom is an incredible person, and even though Alzheimer's disease has stolen her memories from her, they are still etched in my mind and heart-most very clearly. The song talks about how they (the memories) light the corners of your mind, and that's so true. When you least expect it, some of that light will come shining through, and a smile crosses my lips at the feeling it gives me. I think our hearts and minds are like giant boxes of memories much in the same way you might have a collection in a box. Portions of photos are covered by others, in some you can tell without even moving the one on top, what or who is in the photo underneath.

And Oh the smiles that were given!  Mom was a compassionate, but very funny mom. She loved to laugh, and did so often. She was okay with the simplicity of our life. I remember at one point growing up, we had no hot water heater. No worry, mom would heat the water on the stove and get the bath water just right before we hopped in to bathe. I never remember hearing her complain.  She would sit us on the floor between her legs after baths, and make finger waves in our hair. Mom was a school bus driver for 10 years, from the years I was in 2nd-10th grades. She was SO well loved.  She was the kind of bus driver who would wait for you if your mom came to the door in her bathrobe and yelled, "She/He's coming!!". On the last day of the school year, she would bring a cooler of soft drinks and candy bars for the high school riders. Moms of kids on her route cried when she quit driving, because she wasn't just a bus driver, she was like family.  Mom was well loved and respected wherever she went or worked. That's the kind of Mom God blessed me with, and I'll do my best to make sure that others remember, because she can't.

I don't think time rewrites the lines though, as the song mentions. I think sometimes our mind does that.  There are no memories I would want to forget. Growing up with my parents, as different as there were, was just what God planned. If I wanted to forget those memories, it might change who I've become. And I'm pretty happy with the me I am. I'll remember so much more than the laughter, because the tears, pain and heartache along the way helped me grow, and with my mom's love and tender care, made me the woman and mom I am.

Our mom is in the final season of her life. Her best friend (whom she hasn't seen in quite a few years due to both of their health situations) passed away last weekend. My sister and I both immediately thought how somehow, mom might know in her heart, and hurry on her journey home. However long she lingers, it's okay with us, although we've told her it's okay to go on. I haven't seen my mom in over 2 years. The last time I was in Colorado, I was there to be with my sister who was ill, and working at the same time. I'd made my peace with my last visit to see her, and it would have only been for my benefit. But when my sister is there, and calls me, she puts the phone up to mom's ear and I speak to her. The last time, she mumbled quite a bit, and was somewhat animated. Then she always shows mom my picture. I have an amazing sister who does stuff like that. She's thoughtful, and makes a point to consider those sorts of things. And even though Mom hasn't known her in some time now, she visits regularly and makes sure she has the best of care. It will be hardest on her. She will feel the emptiness of not having her to visit anymore, and I fear that for her. My sister, like my mom, is an incredible woman of faith, and I know she will allow God to carry her through it, along with many prayers from people who love her.


My Sister and my Mom ~


Growing up, my dad would always say (in reference to my grandma), "She's getting older, and we just need to prepare ourselves." I'm sure I was secretly rolling my eyes somewhere in my head, because little did he realize, NOTHING can prepare your heart. No matter how much your head tells your heart "This person is going to pass soon.", your heart ignores the head. It crosses it's arms in defiance, and says NO!   My brother was sick for 16 weeks after his cancer diagnosis, yet when I saw him take his last breath, it still was like someone ripping my heart out. My dad was ill for 5 months and even as I watched the color drain from his face, it was a shock to my heart that he was actually gone.  We knew Harper was a medically fragile baby, but we never expected to lose him so suddenly. That. That is a loss we will never recover from. So, when my mom is called home to Heaven, no matter how long it's been since she's spoken our names, hugged us or recognized us, no amount of preparation will soften the breaking of our hearts that she is gone. One very important thing I've learned through all of this loss, is to always speak their names. We love to hear about our loved ones, how they might have touched your life or made a difference, or a funny story. I've tried to remember that and be that person for my friends who've lost loved ones. It's okay to remember them, and talk about them. The way they were, or how you remember them. Memories are a gift our hearts give our souls.

I love ya'll~
Rhonda~



Comments

  1. You know you make me who I am. A blubbering idiot. LOL You are a gifted writer. Your words become art. Maybe some day we can sit in the same sun filled room and work on our respective books. I can help people laugh and heal and you can help people allow themselves to cry and heal. I love you beyond measure.

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    1. I love you so much I look forward to sitting on that porch with you and writing, and laughing and crying and drinking coffee!!

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