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May 9, 2021 · OPINION

A mother’s gifts provide foundation for how we live

Stock Photo
By Don Bachmann
Stops Along the Way

Mother’s Day, for most of us, is a special day on which we honor our mother for all she has done for us. We usually take that loved one to dinner, buy her flowers and cards, and gather the entire family around in celebration. It is a deserved expression of love.

However, for many of us, we can only honor Mother’s Day in remembrance of a loved one who has passed. I believe that it is right that we do this, that we stop and reflect upon what was given to each of us. Besides the gift of life, most of us would say our mothers gave us the gift of family.

As in most families, we tend to remember mostly the good, but we also remember some of the bad times – times that inflicted wounds that were hard to heal. And, in most instances, the healing salve was a mother’s love.

My mother loved her children and had the ability to make each of us feel special and gave each of us special gifts. To my sister she gave faith, to my brother unconditional love, and to me she gave the gift of forgiveness. She once told me that no matter what trespass I might have committed, if I was sincere in my contrition, I could always count on two things. One was God’s forgiveness and the other was hers.

Over time, I believe that I might have tested the boundaries of her forgiveness. She once told me, “If it wasn’t for you, I would have remained a brunette twenty years longer.” And, when I kidded her by calling her the “silver streak” for her graying hair, her response was sharp, “You stop that right now, or you’ll never make it to Heaven.” My mother was always there for me and her family, and she never gave up on any of us.

What special gift did your mother share with you? Was it a sense of belonging? Was it her example? Was it some word of wisdom? Was it merely a smile of unconditional love? For me it was all that and more. She taught me about how to live life and how to leave it.

At the end of her life, when she was in hospice care, her moments of lucidity became less frequent. All that any of us could do was to try and bring her some comfort by being with her, by sitting next to her and by holding her hand. It was during one of these moments that she opened her eyes, smiled at me, stroked my hand and said, “Take care of one another and be kind.” In a moment, she drifted off again, and after a while I came to a realization that, in fact, I wasn’t holding her hand, but rather, she was holding mine and was trying to comfort me.

This is I what I remember of her; I remember her simple truth – the embodiment of how she lived her life. “Take care of one another and be kind.”

As a final thought on this Mother’s Day, we all want to believe that we have made a positive difference in the lives of others. As I reflect upon my mother’s life I can say she made a difference in my life and the lives of our family. I pray that you all have such thoughts and memories on this very special day.

The columnist lives near Orlean.
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