Day 242: Happy Birthday Mom!

4 Dec

Today is the day that my Mother was born. She would have been 76 years old today, but unfortunately she died almost 23 years ago, when my daughter was just three months old. That event is still hard to fathom all these years later.

When my daughter was born, my Mom and Dad came to Ashland to see their new grand baby. And just a few months later, I flew to New York to see my parents for Christmas. My Mother, who had been living with cancer for many years, had just been diagnosed with bone cancer. She did not have much of a chance but I could not see that at the time.

When I was with her, I wanted so much to help her; to be useful. I remember one idea that I thought would help her – “Let me update your address book.” She must have thought that I was crazy (or in denial) – for she (probably) knew that she wouldn’t be needing that address book much longer.

But because I wanted to help, I rewrote and corrected the addresses of her friends and neighbors. I cleaned out her cupboards and straightened out her linen closet. Because these were things that I could do… because against the cancer that was taking her from me I was helpless.

One afternoon, my Mom asked me to get her jewelry box. I brought it to her and she handed me the gold earrings that I had bought for her when I was in Italy and also the coral necklace that I bought her when I went to Hawaii. She told me, “I want you to have these.” “No Mom”, I said, “these are for you… I gave them to you.” And my Mom knew what to say next, “Please hold them for me.” How could I deny her this? “Okay Mom. I will keep them for you.” But I didn’t really grasp what she was doing. Or maybe I refused to see it.

Two weeks after I left New York my sister called to say that my mother was dying and I needed to get home right away. I got on a plane with my baby that night and arrived in New York early the next morning. Unfortunately, by the time my plane landed, my Mom had passed away.

And I have missed her ever since that day. I have wanted to ask her so many questions, I have wanted to say that I understand at last what she was trying to tell me, I have wanted to have her meet my children.

In so many ways, I feel that I am like my Mother. I would do almost anything for my children or a friend in need, I am brought to tears quite easily, and I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.

Today I remembered that a young lady had written to me asking “if I ever needed a pie recipient” would I please consider bringing one to her Mom? And so today, in honor of my Mom, I brought a Pecan Pie to this young lady’s mother.

One last thought. There is a scene towards the end of the movie, “Sixth Sense” where the little boy (who sees dead people) is sitting in the back of the car as his mother is driving home. The boy is trying to explain to his Mom that he has been talking to his (dead) Grandma. He tells her that Grandma has told him the answer to the question that his Mom asks when she visits her grave. The mother asks, what is the answer? And he tells her “everyday”… and then he asks, “What is the question?” And the Mom tells him (that she asks her Mom), “Do I make you proud?” And I would be thrilled if my Mom feels the same way.

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12 Responses to “Day 242: Happy Birthday Mom!”

  1. capichechris December 4, 2011 at 10:54 PM #

    Karen – I am honored to share this birthday with your mom. Chris

    • pieadaygiveaway December 5, 2011 at 1:22 PM #

      Oh I saw that on FB and forgot to say Happy Birthday! Hope you had a great day Chris!

  2. Shirley Patton December 5, 2011 at 7:53 AM #

    Thank you, Karen. This is a beautiful reflection on your Mother’s birthday. It reminds me of how blessed I was to have mine for 72 years–and even that wasn’t enough time to learn all she had to teach, to hear all her quips that kept us laughing, to witness her courage as she faced the gradual losses that came with ninety-nine years of generous living. She’s bright and shining for me this morning thanks to your loving words about your Mother. You are a gift.

  3. Adam Walker Cleaveland December 5, 2011 at 12:00 PM #

    Karen – what a beautiful remembrance of your mother. Thank you for sharing it and for wearing your heart on your sleeve. I’ve obviously never met your mother, but I can imagine that she’d feel this amazing ministry of food and love and generosity that you have through the pies (and the rest of your life) would make her so proud of you and how you are bringing joy into so many peope’s lives.

    • pieadaygiveaway December 5, 2011 at 1:35 PM #

      Adam, thank you for your thoughtful comment. My mother was always thinking of and doing for others; she was a great role model for me. Thanks again.

  4. connie December 5, 2011 at 12:53 PM #

    I am sure your Mom is proud everyday, Karen!
    Sending good thoughts your way.

  5. pieadaygiveaway December 5, 2011 at 1:37 PM #

    Thanks Connie… it’s been an emotional time (guess you could tell).
    Hugs to you and Mark.

  6. Mari December 5, 2011 at 3:59 PM #

    I lost my Mom this past Feb., reading your blog today brought tears to my eyes. Our Mom’s are so special and when they are gone we also lose our best girlfriend. Thank you for honoring your Mother today on her birthday.

    • pieadaygiveaway December 6, 2011 at 2:35 PM #

      Mari,
      My condolences on the loss of your Mother. It is so true that they are our best friends and because of that, they are so very hard to lose.
      Thank you for writing… I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me.

  7. Donna December 6, 2011 at 8:52 AM #

    I can see your Moms smile as I read this and I know that she would be very proud of you and the woman you have become. I remember her always laughing at something and never complaining even when she knew her life was coming to an end. She loved you girls with all her heart and she was very proud of all of you. I dug out my cards form my wedding shower looking for the one she gave me.I had it in my head that she had written something in it that I wanted to read. I can’t post it here lol . I miss her kindness and her humor.and I am sure that she sees everything that you want her to.

    • pieadaygiveaway December 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM #

      Donna,
      I’m glad you wrote… it’s good to be reminded that others miss her and to learn things about her that I might not have known before. Hard to believe so much time has passed since she was here… and that I am older than she ever was. Thanks for taking time to write.
      best,
      Karen

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