My mother is dead. She died suddenly, just a few months after the diagnosis of “major heart damage” left us reeling. It’s ironic isn’t it, that in a world filled with danger and disease, we never really expect anyone to die? What I expected was to see her sitting at her word processor banging out her column, or wandering in the garden picking flowers until she was at least in her nineties like her Aunt Martha. I didn’t expect to see her in a casket at age 67.
My mother is dead. It has taken me five years to be able to type those words. There is still an ache in my heart and a void in my life that can’t be filled by anyone else. But Mother lives on in my life and in the lives of others because she wrote her thoughts and feelings on a blank piece of paper and shared them with the world. I not only have all of the letters that she wrote to me while I was away from 1976 until 1992, but I have hundreds of newspaper and magazine clippings of her articles and columns.
I had forgotten just how much Mother wrote until I began to clean out her things. I laughed and cried, and cried some more as I read her words. She left copies of her newspaper columns, magazine articles, short stories and her notes for the novel we were writing together. Some of the work she left was scribbled on scraps of paper. Some was neatly typed on her old standard typewriter. I have boxes and boxes of her work that I am slowly sorting through.
I’d forgotten how Mother wrote. As I read her manuscripts, no matter what the form, one thing reaches out to me over and over again- mother’s own style and personality. She wrote with warmth and sincerity and conviction. Those emotions still live in her words. She loved people and she shared that love in her words.
My mother was a generous woman who shared the ups and downs of her life through her newspaper column. She suffered from serious bouts of depression, but she wasn’t afraid to share this information in an effort to help others. She was always interested in the health and well being of others. One of her medical information articles won an award from the American Optometric Association.
We all learned a lot about Mother’s childhood from her column. She wrote about her memories of playing in the woods of Oklahoma and learning about nature from her father. She wrote about her brother’s death at age nine. She wrote about her grandfather’s relationships with the Indians. Sometimes Mother’s columns were a revelation to me. I never knew her nickname, or that her mother suffered from depression, or that her grandfather carved wood, until I read about it in her column.
I had also forgotten how many people read Mother’s words. The simplest conversation turns to fond memories when her name is mentioned. People tell me how much they enjoyed her work, how her advice affected them, how they looked forward to her next column.
My mother is dead, but her spirit, through her words, lives on. And so it is that I have decided to try my hand at blogging. Perhaps my words will touch someone’s life, my views will change someone’s mind, my love will change someone’s heart. I’m just an old country woman who likes to dig in the dirt and watch other people from her front porch. I’m just a teacher who is really a kid at heart. I’m just a woman who wishes to pass on the blessings she’s been given. So…this is the “view from here”. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.