THE WAY I SEE IT: Thinking about mother, belatedly
In May 17 issue, Russell County News By Barbara Sharp Zimmerman, Columnist
I didn’t write about Mothers last week, when the topic certainly would have been appropriate. I’m not sure why, except that 17 years after my Mother’s death, I still miss her tremendously and just thinking about her often makes me very sad.
It saddens me when I think of something she would have known that I would like to know now. It makes me sad when I see some pretty dress or piece of jewelry that she would have liked and I could now get for her.
It makes me sad to know that she did not get to see her grandchildren all grown up, nor enjoy the score of great-grandchildren she would have by now. It makes me sad to know that she was in pain when she died, and that she was too young to die.
I regret the times as an adult when I was short or impatient with my Mother. I realize now, with grown children of my own, that she was simply loving me as her child and not trying to control my life. And I wish I had made a better effort to understand her time-proven point of view, as I do now in my dotage.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I rejoice in the time I had with my Mother. The way she seemed to light up a room. The way she got along with people – making quick friends of strangers. The way she could cook without a recipe. The security I always felt when I was around her. The way she made our house a home.
Sina Mae Black was born the seventh of 14 children of Rev. J. F. and Cecil Haynes Black, who lived for many years on the old Columbia Road in Russell Springs. The family was dirt-poor and life was hard for the family, whose subsistence was dependent primarily on farming.
Mother was very smart and beautiful in her day. Family friend Kese Lawless used to tell me that Mother was better-looking than any of her children, and I agreed.
Perhaps because of her upbringing, she was not a romantic dreamer, but rather a pragmatic realist. The walls needed paint after a winter of coal fires? Get out the Kemtone. Wash tons of laundry on Mondays.
Plant a big garden, can lots of stuff for the winter. Short of money? Get a job. Go to church on Sunday. Welcome your friends like relatives, and your relatives like friends. Somebody new in the community? Invite them to dinner.
I have written a great deal about my Father, but it is not because I loved him more than my Mother. Rather, I think my Dad had a good, long life culminating at age 96 in a quick, peaceful death. I think of Mother’s life as more incomplete because I believe she died too soon.
Recently, my daughter and son-in-law presented me with the best Mother’s Day gift I have ever received: a framed ultra-sound photo of my first grandchild, due this fall. I hope I live long enough to see this child grow up. I hope I live long enough that my children won’t grieve because they think I died too soon.
But when I am gone, I hope that my children will remember how much I loved them and worked to provide a warm, stable home for them. I hope they will remember the big family dinners we had at our house. I hope that they will remember all the good times together, and sort of forget all the not-so-good times. I hope they remember me as fondly as I remember my Mother.
But I hope they won’t miss me as much as I miss my Mother, especially on Mother’s Day.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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Jamestown KY 42629