Three Things I Miss Most about My Mom

Written By: Kim - May• 11•13

It has been 11 years since my Mom passed away. In celebration of Mom’s everywhere, here’s a post remembering the woman who gave birth to and raised me. While I miss many things about my Mom, here are my top three.

Marie Wickline and me, Savannah, GA, 1970

Marie Wickline and me, Savannah, GA, 1970

  1. Her gift of voice. Kids now do not really understand how loud a mother’s voice can be. We had old school cell phones: Mom yelling throughout the neighborhood for you to come home for dinner. If you could not hear your Mom’s voice, then you must have left the neighborhood. There would be hell to pay when you finally showed up late. At the time my Mom died, she did not own a cell phone so there is no outgoing voicemail message I can call and listen to. And, quite frankly, even if she had, my Dad probably would have cancelled it by now anyway. He is pragmatic about paying a bill for something that is no longer necessary. I have old film and audio tapes that I am sure I could have converted so I could listen and watch. But, honestly, I am not sure how painful that would be.
  2. Her gift of possibility. My Mom told me that I could do and be anything I wanted. The oldest child of Italian immigrants, my Mom grew up in the depression. She lived through World War II while her parents ran a local grocery store. She raised her four children alone after her first marriage dissolved. She continued to raise the younger of the four and me, partially alone when my Dad was deployed with the US Army. Aside from the challenges she faced, she gave me unconditional love and raised me with good self esteem. I saw her attend junior college classes in her 50s. I saw her stand by her man through his struggle with alcoholism, his eventual win and conversion to Catholicism. Anything is possible.
  3. Her gift of faith. My mother had a good life, but she also had a realistic life. Ups and downs were simply part of it. She handled them well whether that meant private anguish or public gracefulness.

Other than literally hearing my Mom’s voice, the two things that I miss the most have never really left me. She instilled in me the gift of possibility and faith. Perhaps that is why she used to remind me: “With God, all things are possible.”

For those of you who still have your Mom around, give her an extra hug for those of us who are now motherless. And thank her again for all that she has done for you. You never really understand that until you become a Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

How Facebook Helps Us Process Grief

Written By: Kim - Apr• 13•13

It’s been a sad week in my Facebook world. Last Sunday evening, a high school friend passed away after a short, three-month battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). In for foot surgery one Facebook post, diagnosed with ALL, then dead in less than about three months. Not only has it been a roller coaster for her family and close friends, those of us waiting for news were praying for it to be good. I had never even heard of this aggressive form of cancer until now. Her death impacted me despite the fact that I was not a close friend. She was a mom, a wife and a US Air Force Airman. That tender spot I have for military folks never really goes away.

©Mike Howard, 2011

©Mike Howard, 2011

Then, later in the week, another friend flew across country to be with her dying mother. The only good news out of this story is that all of her siblings and grandchildren were there when her mom passed away. We should all be so lucky.

The final sad event was when another friend’s dog passed away. This is the dog that my friend had since before she had children of her own. Honestly, after that post and the other events of the week (including a friend’s scare when they could not locate his wife’s EMT crew after an emergency call), I was afraid to look at Facebook. I just didn’t think I could process any more sad news in the space of a week.

If I were a country song writer, I would have the next hit on my hands.

Before online capabilities and then social media sites, we had to learn the news the old fashioned way: letters or phone calls. Now, you go to your Facebook page and you never know what you will find.

So, like everyone connected to these friends, I am processing the information, sharing their grief and trying to be of some comfort. I can only hope that the outpouring of love from friends help ease their burden of grief just a little.

Hug your loved ones and family a little tighter. None of us never know how long we truly have. Here’s to seeing our loved ones, including our pets, on the other side.