Remembering Mom

First thing – happy Mother’s Day! I hope you’re spending quality time with your mom and if you are a mom, I hope your kids are spending time with you.

My mother died almost four years ago, so I won’t be spending real time with her, but she is definitely in my heart and my head today.

She died, in part, because of that wicked woman Hurricane Katrina. She survived the storm, then the arduous post-storm temporary relocation from her nursing home in suburban New Orleans, which no longer had electricity, running water or food, to another nursing home a few hundred miles away. But she died the next day. We were unable to return her home for a funeral for another six weeks.

My sister and I regularly speak before groups of people as part of our jobs (I’m in media and she is a teacher and a Mary Kay consultant), but delivering a three-minute eulogy to our family and friends was a first for us. I did all the talking and I held it together till the last sentence.

This is part of what I said at her funeral. (I’m using my sister’s initials here because I never post real names of family on this blog).

When we met with Father Ralph a few days ago, he pointed us in a wonderful direction for today. He said this should be a celebration of Mom’s life.

A M and I are so lucky to have had her as our mother, and there are so many things we could say about her. But in my mind, four things stand out above the rest:

1) She had a great sense of humor …. She loved a good laugh. One of A M’s last memories of her was a few days before Katrina. Mom was sitting there at the nursing home laughing. A M doesn’t really know what she was laughing at, but she was having a good ole laugh.

2) Mom loved to travel. And with the evacuation to north Louisiana and her return here in this casket, she traveled more during her last three days of life and the weeks since her death than she had traveled in decades. She is probably having a good laugh about that right now.

3) Mom paid me and A M the greatest compliment a mother could pay a child … many times. She married late in life, especially for her generation, at age 39. She told us many times, including at her 94th birthday party, that her life really didn’t begin till she was in her 40s, when she had us.

4) One of the most important things in life is family. Up until the last year or so, she kept up with what was going on in your lives … the cousins, your kids, your grandkids. The Mary Kay sisters, the red car ... she even got to ride in the red Mary Kay car and she was aware of things that day.

And it means a lot to A M and I that you are here sharing this day with us.

Mom, we love you.

Mom read the daily newspaper, cover to cover, right into her late 80s. I don’t know if there is a heaven and if there is one, I don’t know if they have internet access. But if there is and if they do, she might be reading this blog, so …

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.