A Life Well Lived


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday–August 11, 2014–is my mother’s birthday.  She would have been 90 years old today.  She would have let you know that she didn’t want to live that long, and didn’t want to be a burden on her family…and she got her way.  She was not a burden, even when the dark and uncertain times came, and a clear mind eluded her.  She was our mother, and we loved her through it all, and love her still.

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She was a beautiful and elegant lady, inside and out.  She loved to wear shirtwaist dresses to church, but was always comfortable at home in her house dresses. She had fine classic taste in clothing and furnishings. She did not engage in idle talk about others.  She had certain standards:  no phone calls after 10 pm, no unmade beds, clean the house before you leave on a trip.  And don’t impose on anyone more than a few days. (by staying at their house)



She was an educated woman, despite the fact that she grew up in a family of very limited means, and worked to support her parents instead of going to college.  She was interested in world events, read a wide range of books, and made sure her children learned, in and out of school.  We read books, listened to music, and went to interesting places.  It was a long time before I realized not everyone had a mother like mine.

She was a faithful Christian, helping with the work of the church all her life.  She was pleased to be able to see Brother Perry Cotham later in life, since he had baptized her into Christ when he was a young preacher.


She loved her family–husband, children, grandchildren & great-grands.  She always thought we were prettier and smarter, but was not boastful about it to others.  I have a very clear picture in my mind of coming home from school and seeing her at the sewing machine, making clothes for me.  Compared to my schoolmates’ mothers, she looked like a grandmother, since I was the baby in the family, but I always thought she was quite lovely.    She was always there for me, and it was a privilege to be there for her to the end.


It was truly a life well lived…

Feeling unraveled

The patchwork of my life is feeling rather unraveled lately. Mother passed away in January, and I am the executrix of her estate. I probably won’t be finished with all the details until the fall–it will be an emotionally difficult summer, that’s for sure. We are having to sell the land I grew up on, that my children have grown up on…and it hurts.

Mother’s Day came, and I was the only Mother in the family to celebrate with. Father’s Day came, and I missed my Daddy. He passed away in 2001. I feel like an orphan sometimes…

Thanks for hanging with me through all this. It will get better.

Deja vu? or maybe not…

I invited Mother and my sister down for hamburgers Friday night. When we eat together, it’s much more likely that we do so at Mother’s, but I thought it would be good for them to get out. Mother walked in the door, and was amazed at all the books, just like all the other visitors who have never been at my house. She said, “I don’t think I remember being in your house before!”

Mother has been to my house many times…just one of the pieces of memory that have fluttered away like a butterfly in the wind…

However, we had a great time, and it really didn’t matter if she thought she’d ever been here before! I got out some single quilt blocks I’d made, and we admired them. She said quilting skipped a generation with her, but I reminded her that she’s always loved quilts, just never got around to making very many of them. That love of geometric patchwork definitely passed on to me.

Every day is Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a bittersweet holiday for our family. We lost my mother-in-law rather suddenly three years ago, and we are losing my mother very slowly to some sort of dementia. We live close enough to Mother to care for her on a daily basis, so in a very real way, every day is Mother’s Day.

Every day I make sure she’s taken her medicine. Every day I pick up the little messes she’s left behind. Every day I try to encourage her when she feels depressed about her lack of memory.
And almost every day, I struggle with the anguish of her becoming someone besides the Mother I once knew.

We are so thankful, though. I could make a good-sized list of the things she is still able to do on her own. She still knows and recognizes all of us. She still understands a good joke and laughs. She still enjoys looking out at the birds, flowers and deer.

A patchwork quilt would seem trite and uninspiring if it did not have some trials and struggles of life woven in, to provide contrast to the good times and the blessings.