My mother had a hard life

I woke up to a fascinating, no, more than fascinating, soul-stirring, comment on one of my blog posts. Although I had planned to do another post about our recent trip to New Orleans, in keeping with my intention when I started this blog of writing about what was on my mind when I woke up, I am sharing this story with you.

When I arose this morning, I checked my iPhone for email and found this blog comment to moderate by a new reader, Roseanne, who wrote, “. . .I was just lying here looking for sleep, when my Mother came into my thoughts. I got up and put into the computer ‘My Mom had a very hard life ‘ and found your blog. I’m going to put it in my favorites and follow you. I have never done anything like this before. . .”

I retraced her steps and found the post I had written about my Dad and his mother.

But Roseanne’s words struck a cord with me, because even though I had never written about it, my mom had a hard life, as most of my loyal followers might imagine.

When she was young my mother often had to care for her two younger siblings because her mother suffered from heart disease and was quite ill a lot of the time. Then my father was sent to Germany in the army and Mom had their first child, my oldest sister, while he was thousands of miles away. A few years (and children) later, Annie was born with severe brain damage and Mom, along with Dad, took care of her every day for 51 years. Annie died shortly after Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  Mom went directly from caring for her daughter to caring for her husband. She never got a break. Not one. That’s one of the hardest things I’m dealing with now in the throes of my grief.

So the fact that Roseanne found me by searching for those terms had me take notice. Thank you, Roseanne.

But Roseanne wasn’t the first person who found me recently. A few days ago I got a couple of comments from a person named Kathy and her brother Kenneth on my “Remembering Grandma” post that I had written about my mom’s mother. They recognized the Adams’ name and the house that my grandmother grew up in.

It turns out that they are distant relatives. Their grandfather Adams was my great-grandfather’s brother. They have remained in the same basic location that my, and their, Adams’ family set down roots when they came to Ohio from New York sometime in the 1820s. We are talking about meeting each other in the near future. It is an exciting find for an amateur genealogist like myself, and even more stirring for my heart that has found new family, albeit extended, after experiencing  the painful sense of loss of family following the deaths of my parents. I only wish I could tell my mom. She would have been thrilled to know. Thank you, Kathy and Kenny.

My new “cousin” Kathy wrote me and said, “I just have to say that I think my Grandma Adams up in heaven was pushing for us to meet. There were so many events leading up to me finding your blog and things that occurred afterwards that led me to believe it was not ‘just a coincidence.'”

I wrote her back and said that I believed my grandmother, in cahoots with my mother, may have had something to do with it too. Isn’t it a nice idea to think about loved ones plotting and scheming in Heaven, trying to find a way to break through the veil of life that separates us?

Now, I realize some of you will agree with me whole-heartedly, and some of you will think this is a bunch of bunky and I should devote my active imagination to more production purposes like writing a novel, perhaps. And I’ll be honest and say that I have been all over the map in what I believe about after life.

I can say, though, that when you lose someone you love dearly, it can make you want to believe. And belief, after all, is a choice we make. Belief, according to dictionary.com is, by definition, “confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.” If there was proof, you wouldn’t need to believe. You would simply know. It is something we can choose to do.

My mom believed in the power of prayer. And in the thinning of the veil from this life to the next. As she was near the end of her days in a bed at Hospice I told her, “I’m going to miss talking to you, Mom. I’m going to have to find another way to talk to you.” And she replied, “Yes. You will.”

So I’ll repeat the question I asked in my very first blog post, that I read again today while I was looking for what I actually said about the purpose of my blog:

“Mom are you out there?”

Grandms_Lemmons_Mom_Sharon-2013-03-11
Anna Adams Lemmon (my grandmother) with Mary Lemmon Smith (my mother on right) and Sharon (my aunt in the middle) on the Adams’ family farm circa 1939.

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27 thoughts on “My mother had a hard life”

  1. I should know better than to read your blog posts in public places. I’m sitting in the university library trying to hide the tears that want to pour down my face. This is beautiful on so many levels. I’m not sure what I believe either, but at the same time I do think that spirit lives on somehow, and that the universe works to help make some things happen, like meeting long lost relatives, or finding the bloggers who you need to find. I found you and your blog long ago, and I’m so glad I did. Thank you for all of your words.

  2. What always strikes me when I read your words, Christine, whether on your blog or in your book about Annie, is the heart of you. Your mother surely did have a hard life and yet, and yet, she also had so much to be proud of. Whenever she looked at you, before or now, from the other side of the veil, I know she saw a woman that she was proud to know. A woman with a heart that can hurt and heal through sharing. A woman who inspires others to feel, a woman who sees beauty in the midst of chaos and who holds on to hope, even when it seems like a threadbare vision. A woman your mother looks upon and things “well done”. Well done indeed.

  3. Hi Christine … it’s interesting how things come to pass, and what happens is meant to be … life is like that. We are left and we can learn from those lessons …

    What lovely coincidences … and I do hope you meet your new found relatives soon …

    Times were tough – but your mother certainly had her fair share … I’m glad you’ve told Annie’s story and let us share some snippets of your parents’ life … we can only learn too …

    Thank you for posting the photo of your grandmother with her two daughters … With thoughts – Hilary

  4. Yes Christine… your Mom, Dad, Grandmother, and I am sure they had a great reunion too and plotting plenty … 🙂 And I loved Joss’s comment …… You already know what I think.. and your Mum is no longer working hard… but I am sure she is sending you plenty of love..
    Sending you my thoughts
    Sue x

  5. Caring – loving – every day for 51 years. I am stunned.

    My son was born just fine – it’s outside circumstances that gave us hell. But to be born with intensive needs… Cannot imagine.

    Your mother truly was a saint because I can tell you straight, I am just not so sure I could have continued on.

    You come from great stock.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Raising children is a challenge in and of itself. I think we took a lot of what our parents did for granted as it was just life as we knew it. I wish I would have paid more attention to more things, and had the foresight to ask my mom a lot of questions that will now always remain unanswered.

  6. I don’t believe it’s bunky. This post is really heart-swelling, Christine. Tried to imagine what your mother experienced during her life. Also thinking about something I read recently about how grief is sometimes passed down through the generations. We carry our ancestor’s grief in some ways. Would you say this is true for you or not?

    1. I don’t know about the grief passed down through generations. I suppose it is possible. I know that the work I do on genealogy combined with my empathic nature has given me some difficult moments. Good question.

    1. I know. The internet has made this whole genealogical thing much easier. I started it before we had access to internet, if you can believe those days ever existed. 🙂

  7. My mom hard a very hard life too. Raising 9 children at 30 years of age after my father died. Not until I had my only child at 36, did I realize the full extent of my mom’s suffering and sacrifice. Over the years her parenting flaws have taken a back seat to those skills which made her a survivor. Her legacy to me, and my daughter, is that women have the strength to go forward no matter the curve balls life throws at us. And though her demonstration of love could so often be skewed, I know she did put our needs before her own.

    My dad died when I was one. I only had my mom. She did her best…and I prefer to remember only that…until the day I join her. 🙂

      1. Human…the operative word. We often forget that we are indeed made of flesh and bones. Fortunately for us our thoughts and memories lift us out of ourselves and into the spiritual and sublime.

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