Mom was born to a man some would call a West Virginia hillbilly and a Virginia mountain girl in 1957. She was the youngest of 3 children. Because of the age difference between her and her siblings, she was practically raised like an only child. It stood to reason with her that she would raise only one child.
Mom was an interesting lady. She was extremely intelligent. Mom was not the athletic type, but she excelled in music and academics. She never finished college, but she had a thirst for knowledge. While I was in high school, she took some medical terminology courses. She also went back to college when she was in her late 40s. Some physical setbacks led her to discontinue her education, but she would find herself learning new languages in her 60s through an app on her phone. She also spent a great deal of time on Pinterest, looking up the latest craft ideas.
Mom was not a social butterfly, by any means. Her lifelong struggle with mental health led her to avoid a lot of social interaction. In her last 2 years of life, she pushed herself to come to church and even volunteered to serve as a greeter (I think she may have been motivated by the fact that her only child was the pastor). She didn’t allow a lot of people in, but she did love her family deeply and made room for her church family, her aide, her neighbor, and a few very close friends.
Because Mom knew what it was like to hurt physically and emotionally, she knew how to empathize with others who did. Mom always said she didn’t do so well in managerial positions, but those who worked with her remember her for her deep compassion and loving spirit. She wasn’t well known, but she left a mark with those who knew her.
Mom’s greatest role, second to mother, was being “the Meemaw” as my son, Austin, called her. Her humor came out most with the oldest grandkids. She was fairly serious, but she found a way to let her hair down when the oldest grandkids were around.
Ministry moved me around a lot, so I didn’t see Mom a whole lot between 1998 and 2015. When I settled back in South Carolina, I encouraged her to move down here. I’m glad I did. I wish her health would not have taken a nosedive after she moved here, but we had a lot of good talks, visits, and rides to appointments and church. We were able to talk on a more transparent level in these last 7 1/2 years.
I must say I miss the phone calls, visits, and the listening ear she always provided. I would roll my eyes frequently as she believed I could do anything, especially what I wasn’t gifted at doing. She always wanted to cheer me on, and she was good at consoling me when things didn’t go so well.
The picture in this post was from December 1989. Mom was Assistant Customer Service Manager for a Food Lion in Chesapeake, VA. That picture was taken at the work Christmas party. Mom wasn’t much for events like that, but I sure did have fun. My round little 9 year old self imagined Mom would live forever. I never thought she would leave us at age 65.
Today, the 42 year old version of that 9 year old boy pays tribute to you on your first Mother’s Day in Heaven. Thank you for working hard, for persevering through difficulty, and loving me the way you did! I miss you, but I know I will see you again. Until we meet again!
Matthew (aka “Buddy”)
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