Encore Presentation- A Beam Of Love

I miss my mother every single day.  Lately, she has been even more in my mind than usual.  A few months ago, a dear friend passed away.  This friend was there to provide some “pinch hit” mothering when my own mother died.  As my friend wrestled with end stage Parkinson’s Disease, it felt like my beloved mother was slipping away from me again.  My mother’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago.  Tomorrow, she will have been dead for four years.  My grieving for my mother is amplified.  It is eating away at my spirit more viciously than usual.  On the other hand, even after all this time, the light of her joy, laughter, and love is the coziest comfort imaginable. 

Because of that succor, I thought I would re-publish a blog piece I posted soon after her death.  Those of you who knew my mom will understand and enjoy remembering her this way.  For those of you who didn’t know my mom, perhaps this re-publication will remind you that, in the worst of times, there can always be joy and love.

A Beam Of Love

In the wee hours of the morning on September 2, my mother found her way out of this life.  After over a year of struggling on her path towards the next life, she fell asleep.  When she awoke, I am sure she found herself in God’s dwelling place instead of in the nursing home.

All my mother’s life, she lived joyously and richly. She squeezed every drop of enjoyment and meaning out of every day.  She was almost always happy.  It wasn’t that her life was always wonderful or exciting or fun.  It wasn’t even that she had a particularly exotic or interesting life.  Most people would say that her life was pretty conventional. She was a daughter and a sister and an aunt and a wife and a career woman and a mother and a friend.   What made her so special was not so much what her life was, but how she lived it. 

My mother had a gift for satisfaction.  She collected fulfillment and meaning in her every action, even the most mundane experiences. When we were out driving somewhere and got off course, she’d often say, “I never get lost; I just have adventures.”  I think that pretty much summed up how she approached life, way beyond just how she approached a road trip. Wherever she was going in life and whatever she did, she was determined to find happiness and pleasure in the process.

She was the kind of person who attracted other people. She was an interesting and interested person.  She was curious about all kinds of things and embraced opportunities to learn.  She relished good, meaty conversations.  She was an excellent listener. She knew how to make people feel safe.  She heard what you said and what you didn’t say.  She heard what was underneath your words.  I don’t believe there was ever anyone who knew her who did not love her.  She constantly sowed love and harvested relationships as she rollicked through her day-to-day existence.  She valued those relationships and nurtured them.  Even in the nursing home in her very compromised state, she radiated a kindness and joy that attracted people. 

On the other hand, she followed her own heart in living her own life.  She did what she believed was right and followed the paths that brought her happiness. She used to say that she liked herself and she liked her own company.  She had a busy mind that was always tooling away happily, creating thought and considering possibilities.  I used to say she was her own occupational therapist because she could figure out alternate ways to do almost everything when her mobility started to desert her.   She owned a home computer before most people did and, even in her eighties, she embraced new technology that added interest to her life. 

She had courage of conviction.  She walked her life with God as her guide.  She held firm in her convictions and relied on her relationship with God to support her in her journey.  She believed in miracles and in prayer. 

She loved God.  She loved life. She loved other people.  She loved herself.  In short, she was a joyful beam of love, illuminating and warming everyone with whom she came in contact. 

Now this beam of love has faded into the next life, leaving this life darker and colder and considerably less sparkling.  The thought of going on with my journey without her physically by my side seems unconscionable.  Considering all the memories we shared, all the things she taught me, and all the gifts she gave me, it is inaccurate to say I will ever be traveling through this life without her.  All that she was is embedded in me and will be with me forever. I want to honor all she was and all that made her beam by carrying on her legacy of loving, joyful living.  

It seems that now I will have to grow towards the joy on my own, without her walking in tandem with me. I don’t know yet how I am going to do that.  It helps to know that she has found the greatest Joy of all. 

Madonna flowers at church on 8/22/21- would have been Mom’s 90th birthday.
Flowers from the altar on 8/22
Happy birthday in Heaven, Momma!

9 thoughts on “Encore Presentation- A Beam Of Love”

  1. Dorry, this is not only a beautiful tribute to a loving and wonderful person but an incredible testament to the daughter she left behind. You are an amazing legacy in your gifted writing, your intelligence, compassion and beauty. I know she is so proud of you and the life you are living.
    I remember your Mom fondly. It’s funny that what we take for granted as kids seems, in retrospect, really amazing. I think in particular of your Moms career in the 60’s in a field that was not an easy field, and not particularly a field for women. She worked hard and yet was always so kind and welcoming to the large “brat pack” that roamed our neighborhood.

    1. Aaaaw, Theresa, I do not even know what to say in response to your very sweet words except thank you and happy birthday! It is interesting you made the comment about my mom’s choice to have a career at a time when most women were not working outside the home. I am writing a book now about my mother that definitely addresses this facet of her life and choices!

  2. Your mom is the person I miss most in retirement! Our Summers working together were my favorite times! How we got any work done is a wonder! We were always sitting knee to knee talking about our lives, our children and grandkids! She gave the best advice and always kept a close eye on me should my union activity get out of hand! She got to see me step away from that and I think gave a sigh of relief knowing my mental health was better for it.
    I absolutely love reading your blogs and I know she would be so incredibly proud of you!

    1. Thanks, Bonnie! I know Momma loved you and “mothered” you, also. I’m so incredibly grateful to have been her daughter.

  3. Still just as beautiful a tribute as it was four years ago. I felt like I knew your mum through your beautiful writings. At the time, my heart ached for you, and maybe selfishly a bit for me. For I knew one day, I too would have to face this loss. Yesterday my mum found out she has Parkinson’s and dementia. Though they are in the early stages, I’ve seen a decline this year in her health. First her ceiling collapsed during the three day freeze and she had to shift in to her best friends one bedroom apartment. Then she fell and broke her hip. So much has happened this year and I have been waiting anxiously for our borders to open because I just want to hold her tight. Sorry to have unloaded all this, I think your blog just hit home with me. Take care my beautiful friend. Keep sharing your talent as a writer. You are appreciated ❤️Shari

    1. Oh, Shari! I am so sorry about this news about your precious mother. It is especially awful that it should happen at a time when you cannot travel to be with her. I hope you can soon spend time with her IRL because having that communication by touch and body language and eye contact is so valuable! I cherish that time I had with my mom, even in those last months when her verbal communication and cognitive ability were so limited. For every painful memory, I remember a time when she looked at me in a certain way or smiled or held my hand in a way that conveyed pure love. My love and prayers go to you! 😘❤️🙏🏻

      1. Thank you Dorry, you have such a beautiful soul. Those do sound like special memories to treasure. Your beautiful words, and the way you live your life touches so many people. I get so much joy from your writings. Keep on inspiring people and being the lovely friend you are❤️

  4. I am behind on my emails so just read this blog about your mother today. It is beautiful and also reminds me of my mother who was such a joy and inspiration even though her life was very difficult at times. I so admire your writings. You can put thoughts into words so beautifully. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

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