The other day on Facebook I shared that my final memory of my mother was that in the hospital where she spent her last days. She was ravaged with cancer and in dire pain even with pain medication. Toward the very end I wasn't permitted to visit her. However, the time I was allowed in her room she had pushed me away after I hugged her because I was hurting her. It isn't the memory I want to hold on to, but it is there. As her last child, the youngest of eight, there's no doubt she had her reasons. My siblings have assured me, while it wasn't what I wanted, it is what our mother felt was best for me ... or her. It can't be changed now, but I can control those memories I choose to focus on. Typically, I do. It is just this year the scar seemed to be torn open. Recent circumstances refreshed that ancient wound.
So, how do I turn this around?
Mary C. Rapier loved to sing. She sang beautifully and filled our home with song. The song that has stuck in my head was this little diddy:
And this one:
Neither of these are probably what you were expecting. Mom sang in a barbershop choir, too. I'll be damned if I can remember one of those songs at the moment, though.
My mother taught me many things. Self preservation, for one. Survival on a nearly non-existent budget is another. I learned how to sew out of necessity. While I don't want to live without a lot of things, because of her survival skills I know that we can.
She bestowed upon me the knowledge that a house doesn't have to be spotless to be clean or healthy. Hand-me-downs are totally acceptable and should be appreciated (My entire home is furnished with such items but you wouldn't know that except that I told you.)
Mary C. instilled in us not only respect for ourselves, but respect for others. She was a human rights activist and feminist without advertising it. Having the label wasn't required. She lived by the very rules she preached -- without being preachy.
Once, I overheard her telling a friend a pearl of wisdom and it has been engrained in my DNA since. "A woman should be able to dress how ever she chooses and not be attacked or raped." That statement was made by my mother in the 70s. Another thing I remember hearing was her talking to one of my brothers about being mindful of how they treat girls. "Think of how you want your sisters to be treated. That is how you treat other women."
I didn't have a lot of years with my mom, but she has left her legacy with me. For that, I am eternally grateful.
|Mom didn't love being photographed.|
This was taken at my 8th Grade Graduation 1979
I have few photos of us together. I cherish this even if my glasses are huge.