The month or so between February 19th and March 23rd is a tough one for me and it just got tougher this week. No wonder I have been in a depression. The challenges during this time include my father’s passing on March 2, 2012, and our stubborn but precious dog, Joie, passed on February 28, 2013.
Yesterday would have been my Mother’s 93rd birthday. Unfortunately, she passed away from cancer two weeks before her 70th. It has been 23 years and our relationship was rocky; however, at the end of the day she was my Mom and I still love and miss her.
On Thursday I found out that Del, the Mom of an old friend, passed away. She was more than just my friend’s Mom, she was my friend and, she was a “Mom” to me as well.
My friend and I had the same first and middle names, we were the same age, our birthdays were four days apart, and we lived four houses apart. Oh, and our Moms became best of friends as well. We got so that we felt as comfortable with the other one’s mother as our own.
Del may have been a petite woman but she stuffed a lot of love, strength, wisdom, and Hootspa in that small package. She would tell it like was and wouldn’t hold back but at the same time she would be there if you needed a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen or something to make you laugh.
I remember when I drove from Vancouver, BC to Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada) on my first solo road trip in 1980. Del and her husband lived in the small community of Merritt, BC, and I was staying there on my way out and way back. I had mentioned I would only be there for a half day and night on the way but had set 3 – 4 days on the trip home to spend with her. She apparently cried when she got my note the next morning saying thanks and I would see her in 10 days. She was so happy to have me there. Our time together was very special!
There is another lady, Lois, who we lost a few years ago on February 19th, who was also an “other Mother” for me. They had five daughters (my friend was the second youngest or daughter No. 4) and I was thought of as daughter No. 4 1/2!
Lois was very much the same as Del. She had a huge presence in our town with working at the library and later in life for the Heritage Society. Every young person seemed to know her, whether it was through her daughters or the library, she was known for her kindness and fierce pride in where she lived.
One of my favourite memories was riding on a float for “The Friends of the Library”, which Lois was part of. It was to set up to raise money for a new library. While daughter Number 4 doesn’t remember this (though I thought she was involved but wasn’t), Lois recruited several of us to play nursery rhyme characters. I was on crutches at the time from a knee injury so I was Mother Goose, sitting on top of the truck we used as the float. We built a huge book on the truck and covered the rest of it in kleenex flowers which took hours to make! The best part of it was finding out we won our category and seeing “Mom” up there getting the trophy.
These two ladies taught me a lot about caring for other people’s kids. I don’t mean in the sense of babysitting, but in having the heart of a mother for others. My Mom had that trait too for many of our friends. She would come home from a long day at work, see which friends were there and ask who was staying for dinner.
I really believe that everyone should have at least one spare “Mom” for those times when you need someone and either your own Mom isn’t there or it is just something you need to share with someone else.
When I couldn’t have children of my own I was devastated. That is the one thing in life I wanted the most. People were even praying for me to no avail. Then one day a good friend called me and said that she had been praying that morning for me regarding being a mother. She felt an answer come and had to call me right away to share it.
“If God gave you a child of your own, it would take away from what you give to so many of his other children who may have a mother but need someone with a mother’s heart.”
Those words really spoke to me and I remembered the examples I had seen in Del, Lois, and my own Mom. May they all rest in peace.
I dedicate this song to Del’s daughter as she deals with her grief.