Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Birthday Remembrance



Today my mother would have been 94. An impossible age for me to imagine. She died at 59. I think of all the birthdays she has missed. I think of all that these 34 years have brought. Her daughter's marriage, two grandchildren now in their twenties, and in the wider world: Watergate, Nixon's resignation, the end of the Vietnam War, videos and dvds and cds and cell phones. Her last vote was cast for George McGovern. When she died, most of her brothers and sisters, as well as my dad's, were living. Now just one of her sisters is still alive.

I think that had she lived, she would still be full of curiosity, she would still delight in young people, she'd be hoping for a Democratic win, she'd be baking bread, and playing solitaire, and probably watching Grey's Anatomy and Lost with such pleasure. We'd be exchanging book titles. My kids would spend tons of time with her. She'd be telling them stories of me when I was little, and about Tom and I when we first met, and what an advocate she was for long-haired hippies, and how important family is. She'd be going to communion at her Episcopal Church. She would delight in women ministers.

This is her high school graduation picture when she was 16 (!!) years old. They started young in those days. By the time she was 20 she was a registered nurse. I wish she were around to tell me about the forties on the home front. And how she and my father met. Oh, I have a million unanswered questions and a sadness in my heart that never goes away.

13 comments:

  1. Nan, what a lovely post about your mother. I too know that sadness you describe. My mother would have been 93 at the beginning of August this year and she too died at 59. My son was nearly 2 when she died, so she enjoyed his baby years, but of course he can't remember her.

    How I would love her to be still with us. Sadly my Dad died 9 months after she did, he never really got over her death.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fortunately my Mom lived to be 89, but I still miss her. I think we all have a special spot in our hearts for our mothers.
    She died way too young and miss way too much of her DD's life!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy birthday to your Mum - a fellow Virgoan! (Mine's Aug 31st) It's lovely to see such a beautiful a photo of her - don't you two look alike? :-) I have some old photos of my Dad (who was 90 in July), but I don't have any means of uploading them at the moment. I love old photos - especially the ones where there is some kind of activity going on. It's like a window into an era that's gone forever. Your Mum sounds like she was a wonderful woman - and I'm sure she's very proud of you!

    Speaking of bygone eras, have you ever seen 'The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon'? These are films of real people in Edwardian times across the North of England, that were found in a shop basement in the 1990's. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0445886/

    Btw, just in case you don't read the comment I left about 'Perfect Strangers' on my blog,I'm wondering if you've seen Poliakoff's 'Caught On a train (1980)? I seem to remember you said you liked Foyle's War and this stars Peggy Ashcroft and a young Michael Kitchen (Foyle).' I think you might like it.

    Sorry this is so long, I've rambled on a bit!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thinking of you today. My mother died when she was only 63 and there are so many things I wish she would have been able to enjoy.
    Kim x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nan, your mother couldn't have a better tribute than a daughter who could write what you've written here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am sorry you have been without your Mother for so long, that you have missed out on knowing all those things about her, all those things she *knew*. And Nan - I love that photograph of her - she looks so spunky!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a lovely tribute to your mom. I don't think you ever told me she was a nurse. She raised a very special daughter. I know you miss her. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a wonderful, thought-filled post about your mother. I think she sounds like an amazing lady. No wonder you turned out so well. love and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful tribute to your mom, Nan. I just loved every single word. And what a fabulous photograph.

    And, I know that sadness, too. It never does go away and the reminders are constantly there. Have you read Anna Quindlen's essays in Loud and clear about her mother? I related to a lot of what she had to say about grief. I'm fortunate to still have both parents (and step-parents) living, but I found myself nodding my head several times as I read her thoughts about grief.

    Yesterday was Shaylyn's first day of kindergarten. Rachel would've been so excited and proud...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nan, what a lovely tribute to your mother. She was way too young when you lost her, and you were way too young to lose a mother. There are so many "would haves..." I kept a list of those after my father passed away, because we kept saying "he would have loved this or that..." It's a precious list. But you're right, the pain never goes away, and we miss them every single day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Your comments mean so much to me. Thank you for sharing your own stories with me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you so very much for pointing out this post to me. Your mother sounds like a magnificent person. My father died at age 54, so I know some of the frustrations of a parent not knowing grandchildren and not knowing historical events that would have impressed him. The loss of these relationships is so keen. I cannot tell me parents the ways in which I have decidedly become like them.

    What an eloquent post and what a wonderful mother you have (I use the present tense deliberately because the relationship does not die entirely).

    ReplyDelete
  13. And I thank you for coming over to read the post. It means so much to me.

    ReplyDelete

Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.