Yet another “Note” from my FB site- Al-Vis 7/26/2013
I reposted this last year and will re-post again. It is rather dark, so if you are expecting dancing cats please don’t read it.
But it is heartfelt, from MY heart. Life doesn’t always give us what we expect, but there is often no reason to be ungrateful for what we do get. In my mom’s case she got 5 loving children, and several loving grandchildren. She beamed with pride whenever we visited those grandchildren.
So tho parts of this are dark, please don’t think of it that way. Think of it as a realistic, though maybe overly realistic, thank you note. A thank you note to God, and a thank you note and love letter to a woman who only had to look to us, her children, when love was nowhere else to be found.
My mother Louise Reynolds passed into God’s Kingdom sixteen years ago this summer. We were at the Sampler Inn in Ocean Grove when she collapsed, and was pronounced brain dead at the emergency room a little while later.
This is a re-post from last year’s Mothers Day, and it goes out to all of my female friends, moms or not, because I have had so many “mother’ figures in my life, though only one true mother who sacrificed so many for me and my siblings.
And again, a caveat: It is a bit emotional, but I hope it makes up for in sincerity any darkness it conveys.
You’ve been up in heaven fifteen years now. Fifteen years since I called the ambulance at that restaurant in Ocean Grove, for what turned out to be a fatal brain hemorrhage.
The last time you looked at me in the emergency room you were in so much pain I’m not even sure you recognized me. Then a few days later you were gone. There was no way for either of us to know that would be the last time we’d ever see each other.
When you met dad there was no way to know what an austere and difficult life was in front of you. You were used to living frugally, being a child of the depression, but I’m sure you thought that, by marrying a lawyer, your financial outlook was good. You would be wrong.
You married someone who hadn’t the slightest idea of how take care of anyone, financially or otherwise, including himself. Living from fee to fee, borrowing money for groceries in between, and constantly trying to figure out which utility to have shut off that month because you couldn’t pay it.
Later on after we were all moved out you moved into that senior citizens apt together. You couldn’t stand living with him but you did anyway, at least until his health declined to the point to where he had to be put into a nursing home.
Then one day, the day after the 1991 Clearwater Festival, in fact, you called me to tell me that he was dying at St Peter’s Hospital in New Brunswick. You didn’t want to go, and neither did anyone else in the family. I went, and sat with him in the emergency room as he passed.
You had your first child Gary at 19. You insides were so badly damaged that it would take ten years and several surgeries before you could have another, could have Pam, Michele me or Louis.
Later on when you realized what a cruel joke fate had played on you, when you found out that the financial and emotional support you sought in marrying dad would never come, you started drinking before dinner. When dad came home you two would fight and we would have to wait outside, hiding until the breaking glass, screaming, and sometimes bleeding, stopped.
But you never took it out on us, and in your later years as the pain of what life did to you subsided, you encouraged us and gave us the support no one ever gave you.
You relished in the warm glow of your grandkids, Pam’s and Michele’s children. You doted on them and in doing so were able to feel at least some of the normal feelings that a mother has for her children.
And so every year we would drive you down to Asheville to see Pam and her family, presents in hand for her kids. We would spend the next few days witnessing the happiness that we so rarely witnessed growing up.
And on most Sundays Michele would have us over so you could watch Ashley grow.
After you passed the family barely kept in touch. Michele moved to Florida a few years back, haven’t heard from her since, and Pam’s kids are grown now. Lou has kids, two boys, and I’m sure he passes the time with them trying to tell them what it was like being raised by you and dad. I hope he leaves out the part about us hiding in the backyard while you and dad fought
A few days after you last saw me in the emergency room we went to see you in the hospital, and this time Michele and Lou were with us. We gathered around, said “Let’s do it now” and then turned off the machine, turned off your life, flicked the switch on 72 years of hopes, dreams, disappointments, joys, hardships and on all that being Louise Reynolds was meant to be, and all that being a good mother was meant to be.
Someday that switch will flick off on us. As I look back I can’t see how I could ever complain about how hard life was for me, and how disappointed I might or might not be, knowing how hard it was for you and how life disappointed you.
We who grew up watching June Cleaver and Marion Cunningham used to look around us after turning off the TV and wonder why our moms couldn’t be like that. We were too young to realize that no one’s family was like that, but we still felt cheated.
But now I imagine how you must have felt after you realized the consequences of your decision. You might have been chasing after some Clark Gable- Claudette Colbert or some Myrna Loy-William Powell fantasy, and what you got was just as different.
But I also know that we were not part of that disappointment. You often told me later on in your life that you got your happiness from watching us grow up into good and productive people, that you didn’t need to be happy in any other way. I wasn’t sure if I believed that, but I know what I saw when we brought you down to see Pam’s kids, or spent a Sunday at Michele’s, or I told you about my latest musical projects.
And Denise and I will never be able to verify that personally, since we have no kids of our own (partly for medical reasons).
Anyway, happy Mother’s Day to you, mom, and to all the mothers out there. Especially to those who feel disappointed by their life in almost every other way, except by their love for their children. May God hold a special place for you in His kingdom, as we hold a special place in our hearts for you.