Memories of Mom

Mom and her ever present smile.

I awoke today thinking about my mom and the remarkable person that she was.  I don’t think about her every day anymore, but she is never too far from my thoughts.  She’s been gone for almost a year and a half now, but her positive influence will be with my brothers and me for the rest of our lives.

I don’t feel sadness or regret.  Mom lived a full life and touched so many people in her ninety-two years.  The main thing I feel is gratitude for being so lucky to have amazing parents.

Mom was the best person I ever knew—that is not hyperbole.  She was always cheerful and positive, and her kind nature was 100% real.  She was a great listener, and people gravitated to her because of this quality.

Mom loved her family, and she took great pride in introducing her sons wherever we went.  One of the stories I like to tell about her was when I came over to visit after I had moved out of the house.  When I arrived, a plumber was doing some work for my parents.  Mom insisted on bringing me down to the bathroom to meet him.  The befuddled expression on his face still makes me laugh.  Little did he know that working on the toilet also meant meeting the family.

Mom flanked by her four sons: Bill, Jim, Tom, and Pete, during our last family reunion in Trinidad, CA

Even after Mom moved into a care home, she always wanted to introduce me to the workers and the other residents, though she couldn’t recall any of their names.  So many conversations started with, “Have you met my son?”

She also loved her grandchildren.  Nothing cheered her up more than to listen to a story about Maureen, Nat, Tim, Kevin, or Ryan.  She delighted in seeing photos of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I used to show her from my phone.

Mom and her five grandchildren. Back row: Nat, Maureen, and Tim.
Front row: Ryan, Grandma, and Kevin
Mom with her two great grandchildren, Everest and Elizabeth (Bess)

Christmastime often meant my parents would be heading back to Minnesota to spend the holidays with my brother Tom and his family for two weeks.  One beautiful story my brother passed on to me was how Mom would always make time to do something special with each grandchild on these trips.

Two lasting memories stick out in my head above all the rest: (1) Mom’s marriage to Dad.  They loved and respected each other with all their hearts.  They shared a love for the outdoors and were always roaming about the country in their motor home during their retirement years. (2) Mom’s faith.  Mom’s relationship with God was everything to her.  She lived her life in the most Christian manner, but she never tried to shove her beliefs down anyone’s throat.

Mom and I shared a lot of great times during the later years of her life because Dad had passed, and my brothers all lived a great distance away.

I treasure one particular trip that I made with Mom for a medical appointment in Oregon.  It was one of the most enjoyable five-hour car rides I ever experienced.  Even though Mom was in her eighties by then, she told me stories I had never heard before.

These stories were precious to me because Mom shared her feelings about her courtship with Dad.  She remembered coming home following a party and telling her mom (my grandmother) that she had met a man she could see herself marrying.  The problem was this man, who later became my dad, was going away to school.

Mom wasn’t limiting her dates to one gentleman at this point in her life.  She told me about another guy who she was seeing that was getting serious about her.  When my dad found out about Mom’s other suitor, Dad stepped up his game and made sure she knew how he felt about her.  One great quality about Dad—there was never any question about what he believed about anything.

One of my remembrances of Mom in her final year is also a special memory.  Mom had moved into the memory care portion of her care home, and my visits with her became more challenging.  She slept a lot more, and her mind was not as sharp.  I visited her every Wednesday and Sunday throughout her stay there.  I tried to find ways to keep Mom engaged mentally.  One way I did this was by retelling her the stories that she had told me over the years.  She often didn’t remember them anymore, but she’d laugh and brighten up while she was listening.

Mom used to keep volumes of notebooks where she would record what was going on in her life over the years.  Much of the material she wrote about was routine, in nature.  Mom would record anything from a dentist appointment to running into a friend at the marsh on her walk.  I’d read her writing back to her, and she’d listen until she’d fall asleep.  I realized that we had switched roles, and she was no longer the one reading bedtime stories to me. 

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30 thoughts on “Memories of Mom

  1. You have a lovely, kind heart Pete. This was a delightful story to start me day. Your mother sounds like a marvelous woman and I noted that you had three brothers and I have three sisters. Big families are grand.

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    1. petespringerauthor July 1, 2019 — 9:14 pm

      Thank you, Roberta. When you’re a young kid, you take life for granted. As I got older, I realized how lucky I was. When I became a teacher, I had more empathy for my students who came from dysfunctional situations.

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  2. A lovely tribute to your mother, Pete. The storytelling memories are the best, aren’t they?

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    1. petespringerauthor July 2, 2019 — 8:18 am

      Isn’t that the truth, Jennie? The notion of passing down stories from generation to generation is lovely, but I never pictured retelling stories to the person who told those tales to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is the truth, and am wonderful thing. I can only imagine retelling the stories to the teller. You did a good thing, Pete. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Your mom sounds wonderful. When my mom passed on (years ago), that’s when I started being comfortable with talking to odd sounds around me, figuring they were her, coming to visit. You have lovely memories of your mom, Pete.

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    1. petespringerauthor July 2, 2019 — 8:25 am

      It’s a neat thought to feel like our loved ones are still with us, either in body or spirit. I’m sure your mom would be proud of the excellent writer that you are, Jacqui.

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  4. A lovely tribute to your mom… Photos are great! 🙂

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    1. petespringerauthor July 2, 2019 — 9:07 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Kevin. Isn’t the best tribute to our parents to live our lives in the way that they would be proud?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure it is, my friend. But some kinds words never go astray. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I commend you for getting everyone organized for those group photos. They will be a treasure to all involved for years to come. Lovely post.

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    1. petespringerauthor July 2, 2019 — 3:33 pm

      We’ve been doing family reunions every three years for a long time now. My brothers and I managed to get spread out in all of the continental times zones, so each brother plans the reunion every twelve years. This was a wonderful tradition that our parents started, and one that we hope to continue into the next generation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My daughter’s father’s family does the same thing all over the country. My grandchildren have loved meeting cousins from all over. They go this year to Sacramento.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved this tribute to your mum, Pete. I too lost my 92 year old mum a couple of years ago. Hopefully the loss gets easier with time, but the first few years are the hardest I think.

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    1. petespringerauthor July 5, 2019 — 8:00 am

      Thank you, Stevie. My mom lived such a complete life. Of course I miss her, but it’s hard to have too much regret because I know she did everything she wanted in life. After raising her four boys, she got a degree in social work and helped dialysis patients.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A lovely tribute, Pete. Thanks for posting it on Stevie’s “Click and Run” feature else I would not have seen it.

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    1. petespringerauthor July 5, 2019 — 8:03 am

      Yes, it’s great that Stevie is so generous to allow others to do this. Thank you for reading my thoughts, Frank.

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  8. Lovely pictures of your mother. I’m on the other side of the world ( long story ) but my sister goes to Mum’s care home, sets up the ipad and we Facetime, it’s like being in the same room and the three of us put the world to rights. When a carer came in the room on Sunday she introduced her to me!

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    1. petespringerauthor July 5, 2019 — 8:10 am

      That’s beautiful, Janet. How sweet of your sister to facilitate your connection with your mom. FaceTime opens up a whole new world for the elderly. Many would never get to see their grandchildren and great grandchildren otherwise. Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful tribute to your mom Pete. I enjoy hearing stories about people growing up with wonderful moms, something I’ll never be able to write about. Count your blessings. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 8, 2019 — 8:15 pm

      I’m sorry that you didn’t have a nurturing mom, Debby. Every year I taught kids who had a messed up home life. It takes a strong will and a lot of character to overcome such a situation. I hope you take pride in knowing you have become a successful and good person.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Pete. It took decades to feel that way, but I’m finally there. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Such a coincidence that we were both remembering our Mums in the same week, for different reasons.
    Those family photos are a real legacy. I have no siblings, and never had children. My Mum had only me, so no grandchildren. So she lavished her love on pets instead, and on the children of her nieces and nephews.
    Like you, I also found our roles reversed, late in her life. I wrote about that too, in 2013.
    https://beetleypete.com/2013/06/13/looking-after-mum/
    I think I will reblog that post this week.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. petespringerauthor July 10, 2019 — 10:49 am

      Thanks for your comment, Pete, and for your regular entertaining and thoughtful blog posts. I read your blog posts daily, and I’m glad to have crossed paths with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a heart-warming post! Love that picture of your mom Pete, and that one with her great grandchildren is awesome! She was truly blessed…flanked with so many loving sons and grandchildren!
    We visited Trinidad Redwood park last year and stayed in those wood cabins in the forest. It was a wonderful experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 10, 2019 — 10:52 am

      We feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful area of the country. Glad that you got the opportunity to enjoy it, Balroop.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Delightful stories and a wonderful tribute to your mom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor July 28, 2019 — 2:05 pm

      She was indeed one of a kind, Bette. Hope things are well on the other side of the country.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Summer in Maine and all is well. Mom’s are indeed one of a kind and I’m so grateful for the years I had to spend with mine. Beautiful memories…

        Liked by 1 person

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