Mother’s Day Thoughts and Lessons

Heavy D!

This is my ninth Mother’s Day without my mom, the wonderfully wacky, ‘Heavy D’. The familiar ache in my heart, the rush of memories, the tearing up at Mother’s Day commercials (Damn you, Publix!) and Hallmark cards; it’s just a tough time of year for so many of us, whether from the loss of our mothers or from the perhaps challenging relationships had with them. I am grateful that I was very close to my mom; I not only loved her, but I liked her, too. She was my first best friend and my fiercest protector, my teacher, my confidant, my cheerleader. Losing her was the most difficult experience of my life so far, but knowing and loving her was the greatest gift.

Heavy D loved her Sonic chocolate shakes.

There are countless questions I still have for my mom, situations where I ache for her wisdom and perspective. Death is frustratingly final; one moment a person is there, the next moment, gone…or are they? When Mom died, a friend told me that in time I would feel her with me and realize that love never dies, we just are together in a different way. I do feel her with me, guiding me, protecting me. Once that realization came, the grief that seemed to overwhelm me became bearable. Though I couldn’t hug her and talk with her in person, I could feel her love wrapped around me like the softest, coziest blanket.

My mom running into her mother’s arms after a long time away. This is one of my favorite photos,’as it makes me remember running into Mom’s arms after a long absence.

This Mother’s Day we stayed busy cleaning around the house and preparing for the onset of the chaos the continuing renovations will bring in the morning. It was wonderful to have our normal peace and quiet in the house as we worked. As I focused on getting the finished guest room back together, I thought about the things I learned from my mom; countless precious gems. Some lessons so basic and clear-cut (Don’t touch a hot stove!) to those many-layered lessons that took time, struggle, and perspective to appreciate the inevitable wisdom. And she was just about always right. Okay, always.

Like mother, like daughter.

My mother helped to shape me into the woman I am today. She made me believe that with hard work and dedication, I could be whatever I wanted to be. She danced a jig of joy when I brought home straight A’s or won first chair, always making me feel like the sky was the limit. She cried with me over scraped knees and bruised hearts. She was a big kid and a fun parent, full of stories to tell and laughs to share. I felt nothing but unflagging love and support from her from my earliest childhood memories. She set an example of kindness, of generosity, of what it means to be a true friend. And, yes, she also taught me to wear clean underwear when I travel in case of an accident, along with a whole slew of her beloved Tennessee mountain sayings and lore.

As we all are, my mother was complicated. She was truly a steel magnolia, a gentle and polite Southern woman with a backbone of steel and a soft heart. She went through an incredible amount of heartache and pain during her lifetime, but no matter the circumstances, she found a way to make the best of whatever situation life placed her. I have tried my best to be a woman who my mother would be proud of; I haven’t always succeeded, but I’ll never stop trying. After nine long years, I still want to make her proud.

Dorothy and her girls.

My sister and I are her legacy; one beautifully flawed woman who nurtured two other beautifully flawed women trying their best just as their mom did. We make mistakes, we have faced many challenges, but we have Dorothy in our genes and in our hearts and minds. What an example she set to give us an unwavering guiding light. The constant reminder to do the right thing, to have integrity, to be kind to everyone, especially those less fortunate. I can still hear her say, “There but by the grace of God go I.” She taught us to lean on humor in tough times and to bloom wherever life leads us, no matter what, that we are stronger than anything put in our path. What a true gift of love.

Goofy gal.

6 thoughts on “Mother’s Day Thoughts and Lessons

  1. I was so glad to get to know your mom, “Heavy D”, and that she could stay with us for a cpl of years?!

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