"When I write stories I am like someone who is in her own country, walking along streets that she has known since she was a child, between walls and trees that are hers." --Natalia Ginsburg

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Constant Life

(Aunt Dina and Mom in younger years)

This morning in Church we were asked to share a memory of our Mom in honor of Mothers' Day. One of my first memories is of being in the living room pretending to fly as I jumped from the furniture. I am probably younger than four. I can hear Mom in the kitchen singing as she does the laundry. I can smell the laundry soap and bleach and hear the rhythm of the old washing machine beating the laundry clean. (I can smell molasses cookies baking too, but when I told Mom about this memory years ago she said it would not have been the same day).
This is the strongest memory of my Mom? Surely I loved my mother for more than doing laundry and making cookies? Then I realized--whether she was doing laundry, baking cookies, finding a jam jar for the hundredth bouquet of limp dandelions, or holding the bucket while I was sick—she was a constant presence. It is her presence that is the memory.
When she died it was painful. Who do you turn to when the one you have always turned to is gone? In the first few months I would reach for the phone to ask or tell her something. When I drove home on the weekend and walked through the door—my heart would strain to hear her footsteps in the kitchen or her voice calling out hello. I missed the warmth of her touch.
When people came to visit and offer sympathy to the family---everyone said the same things about her-- whether they knew her as Sister, Aunt, Friend, Neighbor, Jean, Jean-the-bean, or Mrs Ness. They spoke of her kindness and patience, her gentle spirit and laughed about that little bit of mischief in her. Even Dad as her husband and we as her children and grandchildren knew her the same way. All of these relationships were very different, but her character was obvious and constant throughout. What a blessing that was to me.

It has been almost eight years since Mom died. After the grief lifted I realized she is still with me, just differently. She is here in the results of her love and sharing her faith in God. She is here--in the example she lived. She is here in the smiles of family and friends. As her life was constant, so is her memory.


  1. I love the picture you chose to accompany this entry, of "the girls" when they were younger. I have a similar picture of their older selves in which I believe they are dancing with one another... I'll have to see if I can find it.

    Maybe I'll print a copy of this, with your permission, to give to Grammy although I know it will probably move her to tears even more quickly than it did me.

    I's hard to believe its been that long since her passing. She is remembered with a warm smile and alot of love... <3

  2. Thanks Sam...feel free to print whatever you want for Aunt Dina...I did give her a framed copy of the picture a few years ago. I wasn't sure if you meant the writing or the picture.