Sunday, March 12, 2017
My mom loved pictures. She was known to run to 60 minute photo the morning after a wedding, a shower, or any event to get her pictures developed. She never really got on board with digital photos, much preferring the tangible pictures. Toward the end of her life, she craved pictures - the walls of her room were covered with them. Flipping through pictures of family and friends on “FacePage” wasn’t enough for her. Me, being of the digital age, couldn’t understand this obsession, but as I looked through all of the family photos, I realized something. My mother knew pictures told a story, and these snapshots, tangible or those engraved in our minds, is how she is leaving all of us evidence of her love. “We keep this love in a photograph. We make these memories for ourselves, where our eyes are never closing, hearts are never broken, time’s forever frozen still. We won’t ever be alone”. The story of my mom’s life and her love for all of us is present in every picture, every memory, frozen in time, a bittersweet reminder of our moments with her. My mom’s love was fierce and loyal and gentle and generous and thoughtful. These are her gifts to us.
My mother had a fierce kind of love. I saw this watching her with her brother Joe and sisters Patti and Joann. I saw this as they all cared for Nana and Poppy. This was evident in her concern for her grandson and granddaughters. Courtney and Cearra were always on her mind. She loved them fiercely and unconditionally. Nothing made her happier than spending time with her girls. She was keenly interested in what they were doing and was more than happy to share her opinion on their decisions. In fact, mom had very set ideas of what we should ALL be doing with our lives. However, regardless if she agreed with our decisions or not, she would unfailingly support them even if she thought they were “dopey”. Everything my mother did, she did with purpose and force.
My mother had a loyal kind of love. Family always came first and she believed that you “Show Up!”. It didn’t matter how significant or insignificant the event, you couldn’t keep her away. She was a presence, a force of nature. Other than family, nothing expressed her loyalty more than her friendships. My mother never met a stranger and she would quickly envelop her friends into her family. In fact, there was no line between friend and family. To my mother, they were the one and the same. My mother knew how blessed she was to be surrounded by such an amazing group of friends and she spent her life making sure that they knew how thankful she was for them. She was more than just a mother and a grandmother, aunt or sister. She was a true friend.
My mother had a gentle, sensitive kind of love. Hugs, kisses, backrubs, smoothing my hair back from my forehead. Her love was communicated through touch. I can remember how as a child she took such gentle care of me when I was sick or skinned my knee or fought with a friend. I saw this gentleness when she cared for her granddaughters, how she would scoop them up when they would cry, rub their backs and sing to them. If you hurt, she hurt too. I can remember teasing her my whole life because she was always so quick to cry. Sometimes she wouldn’t make it past “hello” on the phone before the tears started. She cried when she was happy and she cried when she was sad. Her love was communicated through her tears and her smile and laugh. Her gentle nature was also illustrated by her love of animals. She may have forgotten someone’s name, but she always remembered the names of your pets.
My mother had a generous and thoughtful kind of love. She rarely thought of herself first. You all were always on her mind. Buying little tokens from the dollar store. Sending a card in the mail. Remembering important events even though she was so far away. All of these acts of kindness and generosity were her way of loving us. She was incredibly giving with her time as well. She would often drive the little old ladies from St. Hugh’s around to run their errands. She was compelled to give whatever she could. When I would visit her, I would bring her her favorite kind of cookie or candy. When I would come back to visit a few days later she would have none left. I would ask, “Mom, where’s all the candy I brought you?” and she would answer “Oh everyone who came in my room, I gave them some.” My mother was the most thoughtful person I have ever met and her compassion was not reserved just for her friends and family. She instilled in me generosity, consideration and compassion for anyone in need, and I am so proud to have learned that from her.
In each picture, time is frozen, our hearts are never broken, our eyes are never closing. In each picture we have a memory of my mother, her life and her love for all of us. When you look at pictures of my mother, when you think of her, please remember that these were her gifts to us. Know she is always with you.
I love you, mom.