It’s been four Mother’s Days since my mother passed. She was 102 and like everything else in her life, left it on her own terms. I miss her terribly. I miss the twice a week calls, the frequent visits across the country, and the many hours in her sauna-like apartment listening to stories. These stories ultimately formed the foundation of my novel series on her life’s journey.
As most of us do, each Mother’s Day I sent cards (a lot of them), flowers, candy, clothing, family photos, and I can’t remember what else. Besides acknowledging her love and devotion to me on that day, I always thanked her for having me on my birthday. This often made her laugh.
Somewhere in my twenties, I started sending a poem to her along with every gift. Pretty soon I was also sending poems for Christmas and her birthday (January 9th). Whether good or bad, they were sincere and always appreciated. After all, she was a great mom.
After she passed, we gathered to go through her apartment. There in her file cabinet was a two-inch thick folder with all the poems I had written to her (even a few to both my parents). There were over 150 poems, I’m sure everyone I had ever written! There was a small batch, maybe two-dozen, separated from the others. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why.
Those in this group were spread out over all the years (I dated each) and every occasion. In reading what I wrote, these seemed to be some of my better works (minus my lousy spelling and grammar). In the end, I assumed these were her favorites. I based this on the fact that she frequently re-read books and articles she found especially interesting or moving.
At the celebration of her life some months later, I produced a booklet for the attendees. Besides an unabridged obituary, photos, and some of the wit and witticisms she regularly sent family and friends. I included a few of my poems from that special group, believing in my heart, that they were her favorites.
I also included a part of the first chapter from what would become Where Courage Began, the first in my series honoring not only my mother’s life but the lives of that entire generation. Though, as a humble woman who sought no recognition, my hope would be that those pages and the books that followed would have found their way into that batch of special poems.