October 17, 1993. A date that forever stinks in my book. That is the date that my Mom passed from this life to eternal life thanks to pancreatic cancer. Now, it doesn’t stink in that I know where Mom is and Who she is with. I look forward to the day when I rejoin her and am in the presence of my Lord and Savior. It does stink that for the past 22 years on this planet, I have not had the wise counsel of my Mother to help guide me along life’s journey.
However, as I remember her life on this anniversary of her death, I want to pass along a few things she taught me. Mom was my best friend (until, rightly so, Peggy came along and took over that role). Mom was a fighter for her family. She had to be. Divorced and with three boys under the age of 6 in the early 1960’s, she was on the “cutting edge” of the changing culture. Not by her choice, and I won’t go into details behind the decision to get divorced, only to say that the grounds were biblical. She did find love in the person of my Dad (yes, he adopted us boys after he married Mom, and I PROUDLY carry the name Blount), and yes there is a happy ending to that part of her life (and ours), but it was not without its struggles.
This pine cone comes from a tree overlooking Mom’s grave site in Anniston, AL. I’ve had it for too many years to even want to count. It serves as a memorial to my Mom. When I look at it, I am filled with a sense of loss and love.
Lessons I learned from my Mom include:
1. Fight the good fight for your family.
Do what is necessary for their own good. Even if they don’t realize it at the time. Be willing to “take the hits” so that your kids don’t have to.
2. Support your family in every way.
Not just financially, but emotionally, spiritually, physically…you name it. Mom was always my biggest cheerleader. I believed with all my heart that I could accomplish ANYTHING I set my mind to, because Mom drilled that in my head from the very early years in my life.
3. Sacrificing for you family is not truly a sacrifice.
Yes, Mom sacrificed a lot for us boys (and for my sister when we adopted her my senior year of high school). But, to her, it wasn’t a sacrifice, it was a labor of love. She went without lots of “stuff” that she would have liked to have had, to have enjoyed even. But she enjoyed seeing her children grow and flourish and explore life, even if and especially if, that meant she had to do without something herself.
4. Love your family.
In spite of our sins, in spite of the way we mistreated Mom at times, in spite of our ungrateful attitudes, snide remarks, and general snakiness, Mom showered us with love. Eve when we thought she was crazy and didn’t know what she was talking about (come on, we’ve all been through that phase in our teenage years…some of us are still stuck in that phase. Others of us were amazed at how smart our parents became after we got in our 20’s or got married, etc.)
So, if I appear to be a little more melancholy today or this weekend, please understand. I miss my Mom. I love her more today than I did even 22 years ago as I held her hand while she drew her final breath on this earth. I also know that she would kick my butt if I were to stay in that melancholy frame of mind, so I will smile and go on with the life with which God has blessed me. I learned some valuable lessons from Mom, and I am trying to pas them along not just to my kids and grandkids, but to anyone who cares to listen to what I have to say.