Gather memories while you may.
After my husband’s grandmother died, I realized how I treasured the small personal memories I had of her and I also realized how few those memories were. I didn’t want to lose even a tiny connection to my Grandma and I challenged my family to remember personal stories about her and share them now while she was alive.Sooo…
A guest post from my mom about her mom to inspire you to collect your own reminisces about your family:
I have given quite a bit of thought to what story I could tell about Mom. I could tell how I learned about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as I lay on the couch as a six year old recovering from the Mumps and listened to my Mother (I always called her Mother before I grew up and married) read those very exciting stories to me.
I could tell how I learned the wonderful story of the Sager Children in the magical book of On to Oregon as I sat beside her on the couch when I was nine years old. She read the book from cover to cover, not once but twice one long ago summer. I could tell how she and I lay side by side on the lawn at our house on Karcher Road outside of Nampa, Idaho and spent wonderful summer afternoons identifying the ever changing shapes of the clouds as they passed overhead.
I could retell the stories she and Dad told me of how they met and how she knew from the first moment she saw him that he was the man for her. I guess she knew what she was talking about because, even though she was only 14 when that magical moment occurred, she never wavered from that knowledge. Even now, 10 years after his death, he is still the man for her.
I could tell you how she taught me to make chocolate chip cookies and trusted me to help her make her famous fudge, both of which are family favorites to this day.
I could tell how one summer day, I was sitting on the floor beneath the kitchen table as she and a friend were peeling peaches. Mom told this lady, whose name I have long forgotten, that she had never smoked a cigarette or taken a drink of alcohol in her life. I was only about 10 years old at that time but I remember thinking, if my mother could do that, so could I. It was a promise I silently made to her that day and have kept without hesitation for 55 years.
Or, I could tell how she and I traveled all over the country during WWII, following Dad from one army camp to another. That might not seem like much of a journey to the younger generation today who jump on planes, with what appears to be no trepidation and fly not just across country but all over the world. But, long ago, young women did not just take off and travel by themselves, especially young women who had grown up in a small valley in Idaho and knew very little about the world. But, when I was not quite two, she and I boarded trains filled with soldiers traveling everywhere in preparation to serve our country. She was not much older than 18 – 19 at the most; traveling with a tiny child, to places she had never even heard of just short months before. With an old suitcase in one hand, her purse over her shoulder, and me on her hip, she and I forged a bond that has never weakened.
I won’t try to tell the adventures we had–some only dim remembrances by a small, blond girl with hair lovingly combed into long ringlets every morning by a mother who always insisted that she look her best no matter what the circumstances. Other memories are remembered only because she has told them to me, but they are the adventures and memories that are the foundation of our relationship. I won’t tell you about all of those remembrances even though they are important and treasured by me.
Instead, I will tell you of a woman who left her close knit family when she was only 15 years old to follow a man who would take her in more directions than she could ever imagine. I will tell you of a woman, who loved unconditionally not only her husband but her children, siblings, parents, friends and all who crossed her path with a love that didn’t falter, no matter what choices were made by them. She has always put others first, even when it was detrimental to her own well being.
Her life has truly been spent in service to others. She has been my rock, my pillar and my guidepost. All that is good in me, I owe to her and the not so good in me–she overlooks and just loves me. What else can I ask from my mother? She offers to me, as well as to all others, unconditional love. I owe her much and can only begin to repay her by holding her hand and walking with her into her final years.