A Thousand Miles

Thanksgiving is a few days away. I’ll spend it with my husband, calling our kids who live too far away to visit, remembering our mothers who have left this world. Neither Terry’s nor my mother lived to enjoy this day, but we did. And we remember and give thanks for the good times when my mother was healthy and his mother still had a steel-trap memory. We forget the bad times when my mother was dying from lung cancer and his mother slipping into dementia.

For years, the two mommies, Terry and I celebrated a string of wonderful days. Mother’s Day, within a week of my mother’s birthday. His mother’s birthday in September. Our wedding anniversary  on May 11. We joined together in a group celebration with presents for each special day.

My mother was a reader, so any mystery, thriller or suspense story found its way onto her bookshelf. I’m a reader, too. I saved many of her favorites after she died. More I donated to the nursing home/rehab center/hospice where she spent her last days. Terry’s mother never met a crossword puzzle she couldn’t conquer.

We think of them all the time. We miss our mother’s who worked long and hard as single parents to raise us with solid values, a love of helping others, caring personalities. We remember times when we were good and bad, when we did or said things that hurt. We’d take back those words were it possible, but our mothers were bigger than both of us. They understood when we lashed, well, more me than Terry, and forgave us our thoughtless behavior.

On Thanksgiving we will fix their favorite holiday foods, cook more than we can eat at any one sitting and put aside leftovers for meals and snacking. We will tell stories we’ve told each other many times before. We’ll call the kids, tell them the same stories and keep tradition alive. We don’t have to be together to share memories. We just have to be willing to tell stories we don’t want forgotten.

I invite all of you to join us in spirit. Tell your parents, children, siblings you love them. Thanksgiving is coming soon. Say a special thanks the woman who gave you life. Without her, you wouldn’t be here. And if you weren’t here, you’d deny your friends and family the pleasure of your company.

When Terry and I take a walk before dinner, once again we’ll think how we’d walk a thousand miles to talk with our mother’s one more time.

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2 thoughts on “A Thousand Miles

  1. Again, Betsy, thank you. It has been a year of “mixed” blessings. Grace doesn’t always descend gently. But in this year, I will be grateful for a baby, a book, the start of my third year in this wonderful old co-op in this wonderful old neighborhood, friends and family almost too numerous to name, a brand new cousin for whom, inexplicably, my mother’s middle name–Inez–has been chosen. I have watched two dear cousins–both in their nineties–step from this life surrounded by more love than I’ve ever experienced. In this place where I live, every wall, every surface, is filled with photographs–most of them, even with the advent of my grandson–pictures of my mother and my aunts, none still living. We called them “The Queens.” And not one day has gone by, in the twenty years since my mother died, that I have not thought of her. I can’t say we had a good relationship over the years. I can say that in the last year of her life we made our peace and that, as she lay dying, her small bedroom was filled with enough love to heal our wounds and maybe all the world besides. Again, thank you.

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    • Dean, thank you for sharing your memories and your love for your family. One of the reasons I write some of these little essays is to see how others handle adversity, loss, love and aging. I love the previous generation being called “The Queens.” I may have to borrow that idea for a later story. I’ll give you credit…Be well. Happy Thanksgiving.

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