In Honor of my Mother, I would like to re-post an article I wrote on the 3rd anniversary of my Mother’s death. Funny how ever a few months can change ones perspective on life. Although I still miss her fiercely, the depth of my grief has abated somewhat. I hope you can read my words about my Mother and they make you smile. She was truly an amazing woman.
My Mom, Phyllis Louise Mueller – taken circa 1950
I don’t really want to write this particular topic. Even though it has been 3 years, it is still too painful, too raw, to talk about. However, I feel like I am doing my mother a disservice. I haven’t been able to really talk about her since she died – 3 years ago today. My mother was my best friend – we talked nearly every single day… generally for hours. I still feel guilty – that somehow the events that were going on in my life (I was having some significant life issues then), caused her to have the massive heart attack that ended her life. I even told her that morning that I felt she was having a heart attack – she had told me she wasn’t feeling well and her symptoms just sent up red flags. I absolutely hate that I was right. I hate that I didn’t do more to get her in to the hospital. Who knows – it could have been a life or death difference. I hate that a few hours later my dad called to tell me I needed to get up there, and I knew she had already died – but he didn’t say that, just told me that I needed to hurry. I hate that my children were only 7, 5, 2 and 1 then – and they will have next to no memory of their grandma. I hate… I hate… I hate that she is gone.
There is so much to be happy about though, and I have to cling to those thoughts. It’s just hard some days, when I desperately wish I could call her up and talk. I see a hummingbird at my feeder and I think of her, or the first robin of the year. My children do or say things and my first thought is to share it with her – it is hard sometimes to balance the sadness I feel with the joy in my life. Her little idiosyncracies, which could drive me absolutely batty, also could be endearing once you understood why she acted or behaved the way she did. The fact that I have some of those traits or behaviors myself doesn’t help. I can’t really throw a stone in a glass house.
My Mom was quirky and funny. I can remember laughing so hard I couldn’t even breathe over things she had said. She had this near obsession with April Fool’s Day and always made it a point to get someone good on that day. Her best joke was one she played on my nephew – where she called him up and told him she had just seen on the news that wild horses were running down his street. He was quite young, and apparently ran out in the street looking for them. Although I have to admit the year she got me in college was pretty good too. April 1st happened to fall on a Saturday my Sophomore year and she called up at an unearthly hour to tell me that the Goodyear blimp was outside my dorm and she was pretty sure she could see my window. I woke up my roommate and we scrambled to the window – blearily looking out into the sky (we had a late night). We, of course, didn’t see anything and I could hear my Mom’s laughter as I went back to the phone. She was laughing so hard she was crying.
She didn’t have an easy time of it growing up – she had to go to the farm during the summers because she was the only girl. Both her parents worked so she wasn’t allowed to stay in the city unchaperoned. At the farm she had to work from morning until night. She was always resentful of this, feeling her brothers had an easy time of life, when she had to work. I think this resentment manifested itself in a different way as I was growing up. She didn’t want me to HAVE to work, so she did most of the housework. I went off to college not even knowing how to work a washing machine (don’t worry, that was quickly remedied). I don’t think she really intended for me to have a soft life, but more she didn’t want me to have to deal with life she had. Mom and Dad tried to give us kids everything. She was always conscientious of how many gifts and how much she spent on each person – trying to be fair. Sometimes this drove us crazy – but now that I understand her more, I see that it was an unconscious way for her to deal with the unfairness she perceived in her own childhood.
My mom knew how to comfort me in a way no one else can. I was beside myself when I discovered I was pregnant with my 4th child. To say he was a surprise is an understatement. My 3rd wasn’t even a year old yet, and I met the news with tears and dismay. I called her to break the news and just started sobbing. I can remember distinctly her words to me – that God wouldn’t give me more than I can handle and He was blessing me. She went on to tell me that I was a good mother, actually a great mother. She was so impressed by my kids and how I handle them. She brought a fresh new batch of tears to my eyes just in her appraisal of me. It was her support that got me through the pregnancy and birth of my youngest. He is such a joy. He was an easy baby, and I remember my Mom’s words – that he was a blessing.
My Mom was fiercely opinionated though and I know that caused her grief. She ostracized quite a few people in her life, some of which she regretted. She was a protective mother, which led to some issues in mine and my siblings life – but I have to forgive her for I know, even if misguided, she meant only for us to have the best possible life. My Dad was her everything – she begged God to take her before my Dad because she didn’t think she could emotionally carry the weight of it. She tried to gently prepare me for the time when she would no longer be here on earth, but I would hear nothing of it – it was a thought I couldn’t deal with. I was hoping she would just live forever.
I wish I could do more to honor her – I’m still not doing her justice in this post. I haven’t realized how much I have tried to squelch my feelings for her. She was a huge part of my life, and it hurts to let it out. Maybe as time goes on and I learn how to deal with my emotions I can share with you some more of my good memories. I wanted this post more lighthearted, but it turned out to trigger some deeper feelings. I have dissolved into tears several times in this writing. I wish that wasn’t the case, because tears were not a normal part of my life with my Mom. I would prefer it is I could leave you such a great feeling in your heart about her that you wish you could have known her. Maybe you can read from this and see that she was such a great Mom, that even after 3 years I still miss her. I love you Mom. I am so thankful that you were not only my Mom, but my friend as well. I hope you know that you truly shaped me into the woman I am today. I hope you are as proud of me, as I am of you. R.I.P.