The winter just got a little colder with my mother’s passing early Thursday morning, after battling COPD and cancer for ten years. Surrounded by her children, she went peacefully, willing to join God and the loved ones who preceded her.
She was fortunate to meet her new grandson-in-law, Eric, before he and Brittany were married in 2019. And she lived long enough for four great grandchildren to be born in 2019 and 2020.
When you have seven children, you’re going to have a few great grandchildren. She had seven, with more on the way.
She married on September 21st, five days after her 18th birthday, because her German Protestant mother wouldn’t approve of her underage marriage to an Irish Catholic. Demonstrating a strong work ethic, Johnny eventually won his mother-in-law over. He died young in 1967, leaving mom to raise us on her own.
A friend said to me that our parents are our one constant and true love. My body once lived inside her body. Without a father since I was five, she was everything to me. She’ll live on through me, but my world is colder without her.
It feels to me as though everyone I’m close to, who passed in the last few decades, did so in the winter. I can see how it might be poetic, to follow nature’s seasons. Without winter, there’d be no spring. There are yet more grandchildren to marry and more great grandchildren to be born.
My mom loved her church, Round Rock Presbyterian Church. She formed their Women’s Guild and for anyone whom wants to give in her memory, she wishes for donations to go to the RRPC Women’s Guild. Below is a joke mom shared with her grandchildren, that she heard at church.
We never truly know our parents, just the stories. I thought of those stories a lot over the past year. Some stories where she’s the hero. Others where she’s not. Stories, where a single working mother, in the sixties and seventies, raised seven kids. Until the equal credit opportunity act was signed in 1974, it must have been hard for a woman to obtain a credit card. But we were never homeless, never hungry. We lived well. I was always happy.
There’s a story in my family, about my mom selling one of her children’s musical instruments. And something about how she went about it, some of my sisters were upset. Those memories make me feel shameful at how selfish I was. A single working mother with seven children and I can’t think of one thing I ever did to help her.
I should have been giving her all my discarded toys and used clothes or whatever. I should have contributed to the hot meals and the roof over my head provided by a mother who had to sell one of her seven kid’s musical instruments. But I was just a kid.
She loved her grandchildren. Below is Brook.
And this is her with my girls, Brit and Ellie Rose. We love you mom and grandma.