I hope you are doing well, Today my Mother would have been 75 yrs old. She was my inspiration for this blog. How I miss her, but now I try to stay focused on the good memories, the laughs, and her beautiful smile. The other day I was spring cleaning one of my closets and I found a bag of her things from the nursing home. I pulled out one of her night shirts she slept in. It still has her scent, oh how I held it in my arms and up to my face, I felt both sad and happy at the same time, hard to explain really. I put it back in the bag and there it will stay, the scent too, hopefully forever! After she passed away I began thinking about what her legacy is to me and my family. In what light would I view her life to have been and what influence did it have in shaping who I am. This is what my thoughts are on her legacy.
My mother was born on St. Joseph’s day, thus her name Josephine. Her nickname was Dolly. I was told she was a very happy, bubbly baby and would make her mother laugh and laugh. Her mother stopped laughing when she was two years old. She died from stomach cancer. Her older siblings took care of her, but she always missed having her mother she told me. She graduated 2nd in her class, had an IQ of genius. She grew into a beautiful woman who was also a ballerina. My mother married my father at the young age of 20. Being a Catholic woman in those days meant for the most part that you stayed home and began a family. By the time she was 25 she had 4 children. The first three all a year apart. When the 4th child arrived, she had a nervous breakdown. She was Paranoid Schizophrenic. Lookng back now I think she may have had a case of post postpartum psychosis, you'll understand why as you read on. As we grew up she endured many years of shock therapy and was heavily medicated with Thorazine. Two times she attempted to take her own life because she could not stand what was going on with her. She did not want to be sick like that, who would. The grace of God saved her and she continued on this path of illness until 1989. My brother had taken my mother to Pembroke Hospital and she received a new treatment. They just put her on Lithium. When she came home we saw a new person emerging. It was like watching someone come out of a state of darkness and back into the light. She never went back into a Mental Institution again. She became much more functional than before, we would go out to lunch, we would go shopping together. She took care of herself like never before. She enjoyed her 10 grandchildren. The last 19 years with her were the best years of our lives together. So to get back to her legacy, I can see it clearly now. She was the greatest teacher I have ever had in my life. She taught me to be brave and endure what life hands you. Acceptance of others who are different from the norm and love them all the same. I learned forgiveness for not having the perfect childhood and realized she was really the victim, not me, as I often felt sorry for myself growing up because she was not June Cleaver. She thought me compassion as she shared a story with me once. While in the Mental Institution suffering herself, she told me of a day where she saw another women screaming and suffering. She went to her room and said a prayer for her. That touched me in more ways than I can say, that is true compassion. Even in the end of her days in the nursing home she demonstrated dignity. When they would come around and put bibs on them to eat, she asked me to buy her an apron. When I did you would have thought I bought her gold. I will never forget how happy she was to get such a simple item. So she put gratitude in a whole new light for me as well. She had a great sense of humor and I enjoyed many a laugh with her, how I miss that so much today. So to me my Mother’s legacy is truly a beautiful one, one of a Mother that taught me more than she will ever know and taught me well . She will never really be gone because she has left behind a big and beautiful family, and her spirit lives on in all of us.
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