Monday, July 4, 2011


Oh, the things one finds when going through old files. Here is what I wrote for Mother's funeral (with a few edits).

My daughter Emilia never knew Mother as the active, energetic person she was before she was paralyzed. She was a take-charge, hard working woman. When we moved (which was often), she would load the truck, put up the air conditioner, set up the beds . . . whatever needed done. She milked the cows, worked in the field, and cooked a pot of beans every Wednesday. From her example, I never differentiated between women's work and men's work. Mother did both, with little complaint. She just did whatever needed to be done.

She was a tireless worker. After hoeing cotton in the hot field all day long, Rocky and I would be looking forward to that last row when we could finally put down our hoes and go to the house. Mother would say, "Let's do one more row." And, we would do one more row. She then would urge us to do another row. And, sometimes another. Mother's urging us to complete just one more row has served me well in my adult life. Many times when faced with a difficult or never-ending task, I think of Mother getting us to do one more row. And I press on, running just one more mile, completing one more task, taking one more step.

To say the least, Mother was a little obsessive compulsive about her house. We couldn't go to church until the floors were swept. My house is never as clean as Mother's. But I always wish it was.

Mother was paralyzed in November 1985. In the same month, my second child Sarah was born and died. It was a terrible time in our lives. Mother was in the hospital in Lubbock for a year. I went to visit her every day. I crocheted two afghans for her, sitting in her hospital room. They were pink, of course. Emilia, who was only two, learned how to count going up the stairs every day to Mother's room on the second floor. It was a horrible, horrible time for Mother and for me. In spite of the indignities and pain she suffered, she still was able to comfort me in my grief. Together in her room we would cry as I crocheted and Emilia played at the foot of her bed.

Mother always had a garden. Every time I see a zinnia, I think of her. Every dumpy rent house we lived in had a row of colorful zinnias in the front yard. She was into organic gardening long before it became the thing to do. Every spring, I joke that the sap rises in me, and I have to go out and dig in the dirt and plant something. Charlotte has a garden, and I know Rocky likes to garden as do I. I like to think it is a part of Mother in all of us.

Mother's gift to all of us is her strength and can-do attitude. Her last years in a wheelchair should never diminish the strong, able woman who raised all of us into capable, confident, and productive members of the human race. I hope I do as well with my own child.

1 comment: