Memories of Mom

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eleven years ago Tuesday, my world changed forever.

On that cold January day back in 2005, my mother drew her final breath. It seems like a century ago, and it seems like just last week.

To some people, my mother might have seemed like just an ordinary woman. To those who knew her even a little, it was clear that she was extraordinary. To me, she was my hero from the day I was born, although it took many years for me to realize just how brave she truly was.

I've written about my mother in this space before. I was born three months before her 15th birthday. She was unmarried, dirt-poor and had to be frightened beyond measure. Yet she made the choice to give me life and to raise me, and for that I am forever grateful.

Lest any of you readers think for one moment that I somehow suffered because my mother was so young, please don't waste your sympathy on me. My mother made sure that I had everything I needed, even if that meant she had to do without. She always thought of her children first, and although I'm sure being such a young mother was incredibly difficult for her, she didn't allow me to suffer for it.

My mother was the smartest person I have ever known. She was incredibly "book-smart," although her formal education ended after the eighth grade. I truly believe that she could have been anything that she wanted to be under the right circumstances, in the right environment: a doctor, a lawyer, a novelist. She easily could have been a newspaper editor; she was much smarter than I am.

Mom also had common sense. She could read people and she was nobody's fool. And although she could be the sweetest woman you ever met, you did not want to tick her off. Heaven help you if you did.

One thing I will never forget about Mom was her sarcastic sense of humor. Ironically, some of the most sarcastic and hilarious things she ever said were when she was mad enough to spit nails. And I'm hear to tell you, you better not laugh.

Once when I was in junior high school, I failed to lock my locker between classes. To teach me a lesson, I suppose, the principal took all of my books and told me I couldn't have them back until my mother wrote him a note explaining that she understood why he took them. Now, as an adult, I don't entirely fault the principal, but my mother was less than pleased. I was in the room when she called and told him, in so many words: "I won't be writing a note, because I DON'T understand." I got my books back.

I wonder what Mom would be like if she were still here. She would only be 61 now, still relatively young. I wonder what she would think of her great-grandchildren. I wish they had the opportunity to know her.

Still, when I think about Mom, my heart is filled with gratitude. Rather than lament the fact that she left us too early, I choose to be thankful for the time we had with her. She left a living legacy in her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and she left us with countless precious memories. As long as we have those memories, she will never be truly gone.

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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County News. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.