A Mother’s Echoing Words

Days before my mother died, she turned to me and, eyes moist with both sadness and gratitude, she shared her dying thought. “The best thing I ever did in my life was to have you kids.”

These words have been echoing in my head over the past two weeks since my husband Frank has had serious health challenges. Our children have supported us through these tough times. 

Frank’s recovering, and over the past few evenings, we’ve relaxed by looking at old 8mm films of our kids. Watching how our son made sure he safely drove his little sisters who were in the back of a lawn tractor trailer, supported his recent devotion to the family. I was also happy to see him, as a three-year-old, fearlessly jumping off the diving board into the deep pool. These times call for courage.

We also saw our elder daughter being brave. As a little tike, she jumped off the dock into the deep lake. As a young woman, she showed astounding courage when she hiked the Appalachian trail, mostly alone, and traveled to Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer where she set up a library. Her wisdom and strength supported her through her dad’s difficult recovery.

Our youngest, always entertaining, steals the show in our home movies. These days we welcome her stories which always keep our spirits up. I also took note of how, as a little girl, she studied the mechanics of the Jack-in-the-Box. Jack’s popping up might be scary for most two-year-olds, but she powered through, figuring out how to operate it and contemplating its various mechanical parts. Those same skills and her medical background have been a help during this ordeal.

My husband and I also saw how the five of us depended on one another. We trudged through deep snow, the strongest of us taking turns to pull the little ones in the sled. We communicated until we chose just the right Christmas tree. We shared the responsibilities of cutting it down and hauling it back so we could share the joy of decorating it. We gained strength from one another.  

I’d like to acknowledge that “families” don’t need to be composed of blood relatives and can take many forms, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming column. And motherhood, or parenthood to include fathers, isn’t for everyone. But we are all happier being part of a community.

These days, I frequently glance heavenward, my mother’s passing words echoing in my head and heart. I’m filled with gratitude for the strength and courage we gain from one another and the wisdom and humor we can give back. It makes life more precious than ever.

2 Replies to “A Mother’s Echoing Words”

Debbie Gille

Very well said Amy. Reflections for us all


Thank you, Deb. I do like my columns to make readers reflect on their own lives. I appreciate the comment.

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