In yesterday’s post, I mentioned my birth mother. She left our family when I was a small child. Though she came back into my life years later, it was decades before I could write about how her decision impacted my feelings toward her. Writing about this painful truth opened my heart and, in the writing, I found forgiveness.
Telling life stories is the theme of my blog during the month of October as I take up the challenge to write a post every day for 31 days. My birth mom, Anita, was a fine storyteller. In fact, for a couple of years she contributed a column to the local newspaper where I was a reporter. Recently, I came across the journal where she wrote her column out long-hand before typing it up for the newspaper. I’m sharing an especially poignant life story from Anita’s journal today.
She taught me, by example, to be happy with the things I have. Katie taught me to appreciate everything — the air I breathe, my health, my kids. Even to be happy that I’m getting older. For years we had a strained relationship, thanks to my stubbornness. She made the move to repair the relationship. She never said it was my fault that we had wasted all those years. I think she must have know that I realized it was my fault.
Her faith in God and everyone was first in her life and death. She never complained about the discomfort and pain. In doing so, I began to thank God I had my health.
Her children were very important to her. They knew it and they tried not to disappoint her. I saw a change in her husband. He became loving and caring. At times, I almost envied her. You could feel the love she received from all of them. People were asking how she was doing and you knew they really cared about her. So many of them made the same remark — that she was a lady who had fought this terrible disease. You knew they were hoping against hope that she would beat the disease.
I became a better person for having known and loved her.
The last words I said to her were “I love you.” She was weak and tired, but she said those words to me. After she passed there were nights I woke up and knew she was with me. She never lost her faith and love of God. She never said “why me?” I know no one is perfect, but she came close to it. She may have been younger, but I looked up to her. I know she is in heaven getting things organized.
Enough of this sadness. Enjoy life and what you have. Here is another recipe:
Anita ended her column with her recipe for Sausage Casserole.
I stopped by Anita’s trailer in my hometown every other week to pick up her typewritten column entries. I’d take them back to my office and typeset them for publication. In her column, Anita showed her family a side of herself she wasn’t always able to convey in person. Stories like this one, shared with her children in a public forum, personified the woman who had spent a lifetime searching, who finally found contentment and her own brand of forgiveness.
Her stories also gave me a piece of what I’d been searching for — Mom.
Life stories knit us together, whether to family or to others who just need to know they are not alone. In these 31 days of October, I’ll be exploring the importance of STORY. You can read all 31 days by following the links under “31 Days of Story”. And, you can read blogs from other writers taking the #Write31Days challenge by visiting the website here.
Tomorrow: Stories for our Children’s Children