A day of remembrance

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I’m not sure why, but today hit me hard.

It’s been 18 years since my mom died. Maybe it was my aunt’s post about missing her sissy. Maybe it was the comments that revealed a certain specialness about my mom.

Nonetheless, there have been a wide range of tears shed over the last 12 or so hours. Most are happy, recalling the best parts of our lives together. But there were recollections of her cancer, the day the doctors told us it was terminal and that she had but a few weeks to live.

My mom and me in 1979, taken at a photo booth at Six Flags over Texas.

There was that Mother’s Day weekend of 2000, the last time I saw my mother alive. The overnight drive from Oklahoma City to western Kansas to spend what I was expecting were a few short hours with her. Seems the dying body is resilient, though, and she responded. She got better and better every hour, from the weak, “Hello,” upon my arrival to the stern and motherly, “You need to go back to Oklahoma; you have a new job, and you need to take care of that,” when it was time for me to leave.

Truth was, Mom couldn’t go in front of her boys. It was her way of protecting my brother and me, I guess, so I honored her wishes. A few days later, we all returned together to that same home as a community mourned and my family laid her to rest.

Mom was the third child of nine, the oldest sister, and they were raised on the family farm in Kearny County, Kansas. That was part of her life until her death, and she was awfully proud of her roots and her family. She still would be, if you ask me, and I understand why.

She was my biggest cheerleader and the one who could keep me in line with just a look. The one time I remember getting swatted, I jumped out of the way, and she hit her hand on the wall; I swore she broke her finger, and I still feel guilty about it today – some 45 years later.

My mom impacted many lives in her time on this Earth, and I’m so thankful to still see it some 18 years after she left it. I’m thankful for so many things, and maybe these tears have been the perfect reminder for me.


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