Friday, May 25, 2007

One Year Ago


Around this time last year my next door neighbor, Maureen, said, “Here Mary. This rose bush is for you. When it blooms, you’ll always remember your Mom.”

Today is the one year anniversary of my Mom’s passing and I find it so fitting that the first rose of the season has bloomed on this bush and also that it’s a pink rose – one of my Mom’s favorite flowers.

During her long, difficult stay in the hospital before her death, I told her some very important and meaningful things. Now there are other things I wish I had remembered to say to her.

Being the middle child of five, she always felt inadequate and often lonely. A few weeks before she died, she even commented to me and my brother that she wished she was a “better Mother”. Well, we took care of that comment quickly and brought it to her attention that she raised some pretty great kids that grew into wonderful adults. Always analytical, stubborn, philosophical, spiritual, and competitive, she was quick to prove others wrong, but this time, she raised one eyebrow very high and said, “Well, I can’t say you are wrong this time!”

I wish I had told her I regret rolling my eyes and being impatient with her endless stories of being raised on a farm in Finksburg, Maryland. Her parents were tenant farmers and struggled to feed their family. Now I appreciate the stories of her thirty-six cats, chickens, snakes, and the horse who nearly ate himself to death. Now I can laugh about her handling a shotgun so well! And the fact that her Mother made clothing for the children using potato sacks breaks my heart. Other than time spent in school, she worked the farm from sunrise to sunset and a hot bath was a luxury. I don’t think she tasted ice cream until she was ten years old. The conditions she lived in gave her a perspective on life that many people will never understand. Yes, we rolled our eyes and laughed many times. Perhaps because my brother and I were city dwellers as children, her stories seemed unreal and impossible for us to comprehend.

She encouraged me to be independent. She encouraged my brother to be spiritual. Although she and I weren’t close to each other on a daily basis and I saw her infrequently during the past twenty or so years, she knew me better than I know myself. I miss her voice. Mom loved her family intensely and I feel certain that she knows we are just fine. She was an avid reader and writer and told me to never ignore my artistic talent. Part of me thinks she might be enjoying my blog every day? She would have loved it.


"I needed the quiet so He drew me aside, into the shadows where we could confide.
Away from the bustle where all day long, I hurried and worried when active and strong. I needed the quiet, though at first I rebelled, but ever so gently, my cross He upheld and whispered so sweetly of spiritual things.
Weakened in body, my spirit took wings to heights never dreamed of when active and gay. He loved me so gently, He drew me away, I needed the quiet.
No prison my bed, but a beautiful valley of blessings instead. A place to grow richer in Jesus to hide. I needed the quiet, so He drew me aside."


LauraHinNJ said...

A sad anniversary, Mary.

I guess we all do our share of eye-rolling and then regretting it later. I guess what matters is that you remember the stories and learned something from your mother's hardships.

Hope your pink rose continues to bloom so nicely in memory of your mom.

Unknown said...

I think it's lovely that you have such a beautiful remembrance of your mother to trigger such wonderful memories.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks for sharing the stories about your Mom. I'm glad you have so many good memories of her.

Cathy said...

Mary - That is so tender and yes - your mother is loving your blog, sweet lady.

We are so spoiled. Your mother's childhood reminds me of the stories of the sad deprivations of my own mother's young life.

Thanks for this, Mary. I'm going to call Mom first thing in the morning.

Susan Gets Native said...

I did my share of eye-rolling with my Dad, but I learned so much from him.
My Dad and your Mom both had similar life, no luxuries.
A rose is a very nice trigger for memories of Mom.


Susie said...

I love your sweet rose remembrance of your beloved Mother. Anniversaries like this are sometimes very difficult.
My thoughts are with you..

Annie in Austin said...

Some of us are lucky enough to have time on our side ... we got past the eyerolling stage and took out notebooks to record the history while we could still get answers to the questions.
I'm sorry you didn't have more time with your mom, Mary, but you sure do seem to remember a lot! I'll bet you're already writing it down.

You mother surely would have loved your blog, as we all do.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Thank you for sharing your sweet and loving memories of your Mom. It's a tough day but the lovely rose is a fitting reminder of your Mom and all her beauty.

(((((hugs for you)))))

Dorothy said...


What a hard day to get through..the first anniversary. Your Mom's rose is beautiful.
Your story about her is lovely,
and the quote is especially moving.
Love goes on forever...

Jayne said...

Oh Mary, I am quite sure that she is enjoying your blog each day and that she is so very proud of the woman you've become. The rose is a beautiful way to remember her.

Elaine Cougler Author said...

Gorgeous photo, Mary. And even more meaningful when you tell its significance. What a wonderful reminder of your mother.

Alyssa said...

Mary, I know just what you are feeling. When my Mom died I felt I should have done and said all kinds of things. But as the years have gone by, I have developed a warm and happy feeling when it comes to Mother. I often feel she is still here - just on a long vacation. It has helped me to talk to my sisters and brother over the years - sharing good and bad times. Take a nice walk today and remember only the good things. Alyssa

Anonymous said...

I'm a newbie to your blog via link from Susan's. I lost my dad a little over a year ago and still grieve for him and your post brought a lot of memories (good) back for me.

Your prior messages and photos are lovely as well. What kind of camera/lenses are you using to take your great photos?

Mary said...

Hi Beth and welcome! Yesterday was a difficult day and today I'm getting back on track. It's just hard.

I have a Kodak Easy Share camera, Z612. It's a very simple, automatic camera for someone like me who doesn't know much about photography and manual settings. I use it as a point and shoot camera but it does have many modes/features. What I like about the camera most is its ease, of course, and its 12x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom. Believe me when I say that 95% of my photos are worth deleting!

dmmgmfm said...

I am thinking of you, Mary, I know how hard it is for you right now and I'm sending you my strength.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Beautiful words and lovely memories of your Mother, Mary! I make mine the nice words of Laura: "I hope your pink rose continues to bloom so nicely in memory of your mom".

KGMom said...

Even though my mother has been gone 17 years, I too miss her voice. But most, I miss her presence.
It is a sad anniversary--one year. So, you have had your year of firsts--first Christmas, first birthday, etc without your mother. I hope time preserves the dear memories and softens the tougher ones.

possumlady said...

I lost my mother two years ago this past February. I still keep an old answering machine that has a message from my mom thanking me for flowers I sent her, four days before she died.

I posted this poem on my blog on the two year anniversary of my mom's death. It gave me great comfort. I hope it helps you too:


Is it true that after this life of ours
we shall one day be awakened by a
terrifying clamour of trumpets?

Forgive me, God,
but I console myself that the beginning
and resurrection of all of us dead
will simply be announced
by the crowing of a cock

After that we will remain
lying down a while
The first to get up
will be mother

We'll hear her, quietly
laying the fire, quietly putting
the kettle on the stove and
cosily taking the teapot out of the cupboard.

We'll be home once more.

kate said...

Your mum was a special person - and your love and admiration for her shines through. She is reading your blog, you can be sure, and encouraging you when you take your lovely photographs. She is part of you and your beautiful rose will be a reminder through the years.

When I read that your mum was the middle child of five, I thought, oh my, I can certainly identify since that's where I am in my family.

Mary said...

Laura, Liza, Ruthie, Cathy, Susan, Susie, Annie, Lynne, Dorothy, Jayne, Beader Girl, Alyssa, Beth, Laurie, Sonia, Donna, Possumlady, and Kate:

You all are filled with grace that I needed to get through this weekend. I am fine. It's a great relief to have this journal as a way to express my happiness and grief.

Thank you!

NatureWoman said...

The rose is beautiful, to remember a beautiful lady, for sure. My Mom talks about the dresses made from flour sacks - it was pretty fabric, not boring white or off white. It was hard times during the depression and other times, but from what I've been told by my Mom and her siblings, they were happy working hard on the farm.
A wonderful memoir to a wonderful lady, Mary. She would love your blog. {{Hugs}} to you Mary.

Larry said...

That's a great reminder for us to appreciate the people in our life while we can.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I'm glad I found your blog. You take great photos with that camera - congrats!

Possum Lady, I also kept an answering machine message from my dad. My phone is rapidly losing its functionality and I'm trying to figure a way to save the message before it completely dies!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
She is sending birds your way!
Lovely rose.