Monday, May 13, 2013

Remembrances of my mother; paying tribute by working toward life success

I have a step-mother; and as far as I know, I’m on civil terms with her. We get along just fine!

But Sunday was a quiet day for me, because my brother and I lost our mother just over two years ago. So I wound up spending much of the day in reflection about her memory.

A favorite photograph of my mother, Jenny, who is the infant being held in my grandmother Socorro's arms. The other infant being held by my grandfather, Mike, is her fraternal twin brother, Johnny -- who also is no longer with us.
THE PART OF her story that gives me some relief is that I remember the physical pain she endured from all the ailments she suffered from during the last decade of her life. The idea that I no longer have to see her aching everywhere provides some satisfaction.

But the fact that she’s not suffering from aching knees that made it painful for her to walk (particularly the last couple of months prior to her death) and her eyesight and hearing aren’t deteriorating any more is only a partial prize.

I miss my mother, and Sunday was the day that I was hit with the realization that what I really lost was the one person on this planet who had undying faith in me. No matter how low the lows in my life dropped, she was always convinced that I could climb back out of whatever hole I fell into.

And enduring three job layoffs during the first decade of the 21st Century has a knack of feeling like one backhand after another across the jaw.

I BRING THIS up because it probably is something many of us don’t think much about.

For all I know, some of you may have thought of whatever Mother’s Day celebration you did on Sunday as some sort of ordeal to be endured. I know there were times I felt that way about the holiday when my mother was still amongst us.

It seemed so fake – as though I was supposed to generate extra-special sentiments about my mother on that one day, compared to the way I felt about her the rest of the year.

So for those people who want to engage in a rant about this being some sort of holiday conspiracy concocted by the greeting card companies, I’d say “Stuff it!”

THERE MAY BE an element of phoniness behind the way we celebrate Mother’s Day. Yet anybody who can’t generate sincere feeling for their mother is someone I feel sorry for – because it means you lost out on something in life that I wish I could have back again.

I actually found myself seeking out a restaurant on Sunday that would be capable of making a breakfast dish that I really haven’t had since my mother passed away.

I found one – although their take on eggs with chorizo (a Mexican-style sausage) wasn’t even close to the way my mother would have prepared it (as a “quiche-like” pie so overly-loaded with eggs, sausage, onions, cheese, peppers and potatoes that only a “real man” can eat one).

Yet I hate to make it sound like the only thing I miss about my mother is her ability to make certain dishes. She was a worthy cook who actually hated being in the kitchen – and always enjoyed any chance that my brother and I would take her out somewhere for a meal.

IF I HAD to summarize my mother in a sentence, she was a high school graduate with no real skills who spent a lifetime working various waitress and cashier jobs that barely paid over minimum wage.

Yet she went through her life with a vision about a better life for her children, and she wasn’t about to let us settle for anything less. It always amazed her that I wrote for a living, and was actually capable of coming up with fresh copy for this very weblog.

She wasn’t much of a reader herself, yet she was big on having my brother and I read everything we could get our hands on when we were kids. Although I’m sure even she was overwhelmed by the personal library of some 2,000 books I have managed to accumulate during the past three decades.

So while the bulk of you were spending time at a Sunday “brunch” with your mother, I spent my day reflecting on how close I came to satisfying her goals to not settle for less in life. Working to ensure that I spend the rest of my life achieving as much as I can out of life is how I feel I can best pay tribute to her memory.


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