How time flies. Those you can't imagine living without are suddenly gone and you're left with a hole in your life. I credit my mother with many things. She raised four boys and lived through snakes in her golf bag, camping trips with the family, and finding worms for fishing in our pockets. I'll never forget her adventurous spirit and how she was a "can do" woman. The smell of baking bread or Thanksgiving Turkey in the oven will ever be a reminder of Mom.It's not easy to write about her now and I wish I'd written so much more before her passing last October. I've got so many memories...
Last year I sat with my brothers and cousin, sifting through hundreds of photographs that went back fifty years or more. We were trying to put together a collage for display at the funeral home that somehow represented who she was. It was difficult at first because so many of photos were taken by her. She was the one behind the camera, keeping memories alive forever.
It's hard for me to imagine my mother as a teenager, leading the rest of her friends across a dam on a beam that was just inches wide, fully aware that if they opened the dam upstream, it was a just minutes to disaster if they didn't move fast enough.
I had to laugh once when were fishing in Canada. She got tired of catching walleyes and set her rod down. My brother Chris and I teased her about it and she started fishing again. A minute later she exclaimed, "I can't believe this!" My dad netted another walleye for her--the one she caught fishing with a bare hook so my brother and I would think she was fishing.
Although I'd been driving on logging roads and farm trails for three years, I was pretty nervous the day I received my temporary driving permit and she let me drive on a back road outside of town. Along I went, being careful in her '69 Buick LeSabre and not trying to do anything that would make us crash. A car came up behind, blowing the horn and trying to get around me. I hugged the ditch and it roared past, a little old lady at the wheel with white hair, glasses, and she glared at me as she went by. "Go Faster!" Mom told me. I sped up a little, maybe even got it up to 40 MPH.
A few years later, I was driving that same Buick with Mom in the passenger seat again. "Can't you go any faster?" she asked. I was already doing 70 in a 55. There was a reason my mother had a big boat of a Buick with a big engine. She liked to go fast.
I could write stories about my mom for hours and hours. Fishing stories, adventures, skiing trips, and the time she sank my jeep in four feet of water. Good times all.
I remember how Mom would march all four of us boys up to the front pew in church for Sunday Mass. And that is how her life was, God front and center, always foremost in her life and never one little bit away from that. That faith was passed along to me, and my brothers, and to many, many other people. Mom lived her faith and didn't just talk the talk, but walked the path to God every single day.
She was mad at us for something once and had the four of us lined up to chew us out. Her face was red, eyes angry, and we started to giggle.
"Do you think this is funny?"
"No Mom, but if you could see your face, you'd laugh too."
Well, she laughed a little, and we were still in trouble, but we all knew it was all out of love.
Mom gave us life, showed us how to live it, and now her children and grandchildren are left behind to live as she taught us.
Mom lives on in our memories, the photographs she took, and in how we live our lives.
I miss you Mom. Happy Mother's Day.