exploring life and love with pictures and words

My Mother . . . myself

Mary in HB Valentine's weekend 2010 201

I woke up this morning to drizzly gloomy skies, a reflection of my heart and mind, it seems summer is taking her own sweet time. Generally, the weather alone cannot get me down, but today would have been my mom’s 76th birthday, and I was hoping for sunshine and blue skies to celebrate her warmth, her kindness and gentle spirit.  Seven years have passed and more than ever, I would love to visit with my mom.  I do talk with her every day, on the beach trail during my morning or evening walks, in my car driving home from anywhere, and lying in my bed at night. I ask her to help me with difficult decisions, and sometimes I cry because I miss her. I have stared at my ceiling in the dark, searching for answers and asked, What should I do?  I know what she would say, Pray and go to church.

Growing up, religion was a huge part of our lives. We attended  mass every Sunday without fail. As a teen, I remember walking to church with my siblings after long days at the beach, all of us fresh out of the shower, tanned with wet hair. I found peace in the rhythm of the rituals and the singing of hymns. As a young mother I took my own children to church but found it increasingly difficult to attend. Life grew busier . . . . and I grew restless.

For reasons I cannot explain or justify, I made choices that damaged relationships and changed the course of my life. During this time, I stopped going to church. My mom never nagged or lectured me, instead when I seemed overwhelmed or upset by the problems I had created, she would tell me she was praying for me, and suggest that I do it too. Having lost my faith, and feeling stubborn I would shake my head. Occasionally when she was running off to church she would say, You know, you can come with me? I would reply . . . I know. But I would not go.

Overtime I softened to the idea of stepping inside a church. A few times I attended mass with my mom on our infamous Vegas trips. Another time, our whole family, in Milwaukee for my Grandma’s 90th birthday, attended mass together. I remember glancing down the pew at my mom; she was literally glowing, full of light. Sometimes I think faith is a special kind of giftedness. My mom had that gift.

During the fifteen months she lived with cancer, I went to mass a few more times with her. I begged God for a miracle. I know my mom prayed and prayed for a miracle too. As faithful as she was and as much as she believed in heaven and life everlasting, she absolutely did not want to die and leave her family behind. However, she accepted her fate with grace. In her last days of hospice, priests were at our family home every day. We five kids sat on her bed, praying with her, and for her, until she finally found peace.

I still do not attend mass regularly. However, I find solace visiting churches, lighting candles, sitting alone and listening. I imagine my mom’s glow and smile. I continue to struggle with faith, and God, reconciling what I was taught with what I have learned and experienced in adulthood. I do believe we are all connected in some way and we have an obligation to maintain every connection with integrity, acceptance and love.

I do follow my mother’s advice, Pray and go to church . . . I go to the ocean, I walk in the canyon, I spend time with my family and friends, I listen to the tiny wisdom of my grandson Luca, I lend a helping hand wherever I am needed, whenever I can, and I practice gratitude daily. After all, this is what my mother taught me.

The sun did emerge late this afternoon, creating an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect  for celebrating my mom, a woman of admirable faith and immeasurable grace, even in the last moments of her life as she left behind her most precious gift, her family.

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

xoc

30 Responses to “My Mother . . . myself”

  1. busy lady

    A wonderful tribute to your mom. Sometimes it is hard to understand why God leads us on such hard paths, but suffering has a way of making us more like Jesus. God bless you go through this special, difficult time!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Lori Lynn Oja

    A beautiful tribute to your Mother.
    I had falling out of my faith when she was taken at such a young age. The memories are held close to my heart and just try and keep the good ones.
    I do pray every night, but still ask myself why on many a thing. You are a part of your Mom and she will always be in your heart! God Bless

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  3. peter farrell

    very inspiring Christine, my mam is still here but my dad passed a couple of years ago, your words resonate with me.Happy Birthday to your Mom

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. judy

    Basil has taken the dogs for a quick walk. Many times now he will come home and see that I am crying while sitting at my computer. I will just say, “I am reading Christine Amo’s Blog” and he understands.

    Mom and dad are back in HB and we are all excited for her to go back to St. Simon and Jude and go to mass and see all of their friends. She even has a special container to put the eucharist in to give my dad.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Bare Naked in Public

      I know you share many of the family church memories. I had to laugh when you wrote Christine Amo. Forgotten how many people called me Amo. Sweet. Glad your mom and dad are back. ⭕️❌⭕️

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  5. judy

    Most people don’t know that Sue is actually just Sue(although everyone else calls her Susy) I refer to her as Sueamo. One name. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Helen Duffy

    I felt like I could have written this. It resonated loudly for me. (especially the candle lighting and motherly advice.)

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. calensariel

    There is a growing number of us in the same place as you when it comes to faith. “I do believe we are all connected in some way and we have an obligation to maintain every connection with integrity, acceptance and love.” Some of us find church in surroundings other than buildings. Just like you to at the beach. It sounds like ritual feeds your soul. I don’t know if you’re aware of these guys or not, but you can go here and have your own little ritual every day if you wish. http://www.gratefulness.org/ That was a beautiful tribute to your mom.

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  8. ladymeritaten

    Such a beautiful thought. My mom just passed three weeks ago and though religion was never a huge part of our lives (my brother was too fundamentalist for a while), it is faith that she is here with me that’s keeping me going.

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  9. hbvicki

    I got turned on to your blog via Lori Ambrose Facebook, and am so stoked I did. My husband, Larry, and I , both went to Edison, hung out with basically same group as you, and it is so refreshing to read the things in life you’ve gone through. So many of us are and have gone through similar things, and I truly love reading about your trials and tribulations. This recent article hits the spot, as my mom passed 3 years ago this past Mothers Day (right?), and I miss being able to talk and hash things out with her ( we’ve got 4 kids ages 19-28), for her advice and just thoughts. So, besides this article, most of yours totally hit home. And I truly enjoy reading your thoughts. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Bare Naked in Public

      So glad you enjoy the blog. I’m so appreciative of anyone who stops by to read and comment. Connecting is what life is all about. So sorry about your mom. ❌⭕️💕💕

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  10. jmd12340

    As always, your writing touches my heart. You admit your feelings that most of us tend to keep bottled up inside. Thank you for being you.

    Liked by 1 person

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  11. Virginia

    Reminds me of my mom! She sings and squeaks but it’s her way of feeling HIS love. I am grateful to have her near. Again, beautiful words and a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

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