Mother is a real person first

Mother is a real person first

I’ve wanted to write this column for many years, but have not had the unction or the freedom to sit down and do so. I decided several months ago that I would tackle my inner thoughts on mothers and sons and daughters while my health and mind were still up for the challenge. Let me add here before I delve in that I know all family dynamics are not the same.

With that taken into consideration, and with much prayerful anticipation, I have been reading many articles and at least three books dealing with the issue of motherhood. I also need to be truthful and say right away that I never understood my own mother and that our relationship is not a model for good ideas on overcoming limitations and hurts. Only when my mother was dying in the hospital in Beaumont did I begin to have some real understanding of who she was, who she thought she was, where she had been, where she wanted to go, and how she understood the world.

Our hospice team member, Corkey Holt, for whom I will be eternally grateful, gave me some guidelines, and I must say they helped to make sense of what was happening. Mother lasted 13 days and nights after a massive stroke and coronary suffered at the same time. The medical team said almost every day that they were doubtful if she could last another day or another shift.

Corkey said that often a patient up in age as mother was would go through periods of life with unfinished business. In many cases, she thought the Lord was giving them an opportunity to complete their worldly tasks. Some wait for a particular person to show up, to say a special goodbye, or for an important date to arrive. Mother died 19 minutes into her 87th birthday, and believe this or not, I had surmised for days that she would last until her birthday. She was stubborn to the end.

We as children, do not see our parents, and especially our mothers, as real people who have had real lives, loved real folks, and still believe themselves to be individuals with purpose. We only think of them in terms of our mother. A friend sent me a slide show presentation the other day. It consisted of elderly people (both men and women) looking into a mirror, and while the bodies that housed their beings now were often old and wrinkled, the image looking back from the mirror was a beautiful young man or woman just beginning life’s journey. It dawned on me that we really do see ourselves like that. I don’t think of myself as a nearly 75-year-old grandmother. I still see a high school girl, or a young mother, starting out to conquer the world.

A friend sent me an email and asked me to read it to see what I made of it. I did, and after only two sentences, I realized that it was from her oldest daughter and she was being very mean to her mother, demanding certain attentions be given to her and her two children. My friend works a full time job, cares for a large house and huge lawn, a pond, a dog, and a very ill husband. The daughter demanded that the mother drive four and one half hours one way to see her grandson compete in an event. My friend could simply not leave the husband for more than 10-12 hours on a Saturday and tried to explain that fact. The daughter tried heaping mounds of guilt on her mother and asked questions like, “How will he know you love him?” “You do other things. I see them on social media.” “All of the other grandparents will be present.” She wasn’t able to see her mother as a real person with a real life, many responsibilities, and a plate full of work and need.

I suggest that perhaps this Mother’s Day might be a really good time to either write or tell your mother that you know she is a real person and that she has wants, needs, desires, plans and hopes, no matter her age, and that you want to be more responsible in acknowledging these throughout the year. Let’s get mom out of the box we put her in so very long ago and try to know the woman she really is. It will be a blessing to everyone, and she will appreciate it.

Let me add quickly that if your own mother is deceased or out of the area, choose a mom that needs some love and attention and adopt her for the holiday. Happy Mother’s Day to all of our readers.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.