I was looking for a picture of my mom for Mother’s Day. I didn’t find one until yesterday. This is my mama in 1970. She was 23 almost 24. I was 4 almost 5. My sister was 2 almost 3. My dad would have been 28 almost 29. This was at our house in Columbus, Indiana.
I thought it was weird I couldn’t find one. I don’t think I have a picture of us together. Maybe as when I was kid.
Ma and I had a very complicated and complex relationship. I think mostly it was because I was born the day after her 19th birthday, and I don’t think I was the present she expected. It was very difficult situation for her being an unwed mother in 1965. She and my pop were married in October 1966. I was there.
We weren’t always on the same page. Communication wasn’t our thing though we did try. It usually ended up in a fight.
The last fight we ever had was about communication, love, acceptance and those sorts of things. She told me it was too late for for her too change which made me cry. And in the next breath she told me it wasn’t too late for me to change which made me cry even more. She told me I still had a chance to have a normal life.
When she ask me not long before she died if I was going to marry Rebecca. My answer must have been right because she never said another word about it. I said Yes, I love her. She makes me happy. She became the supportive mom a guy would like to have when he meets the woman of his dreams. Making me second guess decisions was one of her favorite things to do. She must have been pleased because she announced the impending nuptials to my sister and to the family, though the proposal had not yet been made.
She kept me at arm’s length from different people over the years. I thought it was because she was trying to control my life. As I’ve gotten older my position has changed some. Anyone who knows me in person knows that I have struggled with autism related issues my entire life. At times they have been completely disabling. I think it was her best effort to protect me from the pain of being me causes.
I know I had a cooler childhood than any other kids had. Mom loved adventures. We would go just anywhere and do just about any thing when I was in grade school. We went all over the place. It would take a book to share it all.
She had this burgundy Ventura with an 8 track player. We listened to Wings a lot. It was the 8 tack player or the radio was on. Mom was the first person to encourage me to explore music. And so I did. Mom was bought me my first Warren Zevon 45 rpm. She encouraged me to write. She had me reading Steinbeck, Hemingway, Shakespeare, and others before I was 10 years old. And so there I was… a Renaissance man in the fifth grade.
She encouraged me to follow my dreams. She and dad both encouraged me as a child and into adulthood not to become a victim of the time clock.
I was cleaning out mom’s house after she’d passed. I found boxes and boxes tucked here and there filled with newspapers that had my stories in them. I had no idea she’d kept them all. She’d even found some online that had been picked up by other news outlets. Some I didn’t even know about. Finding those made me cry. Cry more actually. I’ve never been one to hold the tears in. Mom always said it was okay to cry.
I knew she had some but I didn’t know she had them all. She’d been collecting them for for more than 20 years. Apparently she shared them with her friends which is something else I didn’t know.
I even found old tapes of me on the radio from years before. Cassette tapes of course.
Mom passed on the evening of April 7, 2011. I had been talking to her and my sister on the telephone. Yes it was a telephone not a cell phone. We hung up at 9 p.m. The last thing my mom and I said to each other was “I love you.” Those are the final words my mom took to eternity from her son, and the words I will take to eternity from my mom. My sister called back at 9:32 to let me know mom had passed. It was later discovered she had a blood clot. In 32 minutes she was gone.
We’d had a wonderful conversation about this and that. It was really great. We’d made plans for me to visit in a few days. And then she was gone. Just like that.
Tell the people you love that love them. Don’t wait. There is no tomorrow. There is today. Live it like there no other day coming. Cherish every moment with the ones you love,and even the ones you don’t.
Don’t waste time if their is someone you need to mend a bridge with…do it now. As a burner of many bridges I would suggest passing on that. It rarely works out as well as you think it will.
Whether I know you in real life or through social media, remember I love you and hope only the best for you always. May you know joy and happiness.
Love always, John.