Friday, April 5, 2013

I Remember Momma

If today had been Saturday or Sunday, I may have gotten through it without any thought as to what today is. But because it is a workday, the first thing I did was look at my Microsoft Outlook and saw that it is April 5, 2013—five years since my mother passed away.

As many moms and their daughters fair, we had our ups and downs. In my younger years, there were times that we always seemed to be mad at one another and either fighting or not speaking to each other. "When I grew up", I thought, "if I have a daughter, we will be great friends. I won't be fighting with her all the time. I will never go weeks without speaking." (Hmmm. Like I said, as many moms and daughters fair. . .) But Momma was great after I moved away and got married. She never tried to interfere in my marriage but was always there when I needed her even when I moved away from the state that I grew up in and lived 20 hours from home.

I was born in her later years and the picture that I still have of her in my mind's eye was about the time she turned 50 years old, right about the age that I am now. She looked "old" to me then, but everyone always commented on how young she looked—too young to have grand children. When I came home over the years or she came to visit me, I was always momentarily shocked at how old she looked to me. My minds eye still expected to see 50, but I saw 60, 70 and then 80. The picture above is one of my favorite pictures of her. I think that it was one of her passport pictures. It was a British Passport—she never did become a US Citizen. She was 24 years old.

Momma was a beautiful woman. Daddy always tells the story about how he and a buddy were on leave in London during their WWII adventure. Back in those days, the movie theaters in England had ushers that sat you. Daddy’s friend asked the usher to sit them next to a couple of pretty girls—maybe money changed hands—maybe not—but that was the day my parents met. She was his souvenir from the war.

He asked her to marry him in a letter after he got home to Indiana. I never thought to ask her what gave her the courage to move half way around the world to a farm town in Indiana where she only knew one person who in reality she could not have known really well. She left her family in England, flew to the United States and barely a few days later was married in a ceremony planned by her future mother and sister-in-law.

She only got to go home to see her parents occasionally. Money and vacation time had to be saved up. When my two older sisters were young, she took them with her and when my twin and I were born she took us twice. Her father died in the late seventies and her mother died in the nineties at 80 something. But Momma stopped going to England to see her after the Alzheimer's got bad and she couldn't remember who Momma was. I know how dreadful that feels.

First there was the forgetfulness of where things were or getting us girls' names mixed up—but that was normal in our household especially for my twin and I. But then she couldn't remember friends she had known forever when they came to visit and then she couldn't remember my twin and I. She remembered my older sisters somewhat longer and she remembered my Dad the longest. Even after the Alzheimer's and Parkinson's had done its worst, she would still smile when she heard my father's voice.

I can't believe it has been five years. I miss you, Momma.
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