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Lilacs and Remembering Mom

Friday, May 11, 2018

I have several lilac bushes that are in full bloom right now, and they are so beautiful. I try to walk by them each day and stop and smell their wonderful scent. I have a few varieties...the traditional light purple, white, a light pink Moscow, and one called Sensation that is dark purple with a white edge.

Each time I smell them, I'm reminded of my childhood, because we had a large purple lilac bush in our yard. I remember helping my Mom cut some of the stems to bring inside and putting them in a vase on top of the television, to bring some of that nice fragrance indoors.

Since the lilacs bloom around Mother's day, and they remind me of my Mother, I thought I'd write a blog just to share a few memories of her. Also, since my last blog was about family conflict, I didn't want to leave the impression that my family was always fighting or in turmoil. Probably like most families, we've had our ups and downs. Thinking of my Mom is always a bit bittersweet, because she was truly a loving and caring mother who did her very best for us. But because she passed away when I was barely a teenager, it's hard to think of her without being sad too. Even though that was about 40 years ago...well, it has always made Mother's day difficult for me. And because I never had children, I always dreaded Mother's day a bit. I hate when store clerks tell me "Happy Mother's Day," because I'm not a mother and haven't had a mother for a long time, and I didn't want to be reminded of my loss, which honestly I still feel to this day.

But, I'm trying to change my thinking a bit this year. I am now older than the age at which my mother died. So, when I think that she never lived as long as I have, and I think of all the things she went through in her life, I realize how lucky I really am. She had a lot more trials and tribulations than I had, even though I was orphaned when she died...my father had died when I was 5. But that meant she became a widow when she was in her early 40s. Now that I'm married and older than her, I can't imagine the heartbreak of losing a husband at such a young age. And, she had seven children to raise at the time, the youngest just a year old when she became a widow. My goodness...the strength she had to muster to carry on after that.

Her early life was also difficult. She was born in England, and witnessed World War II. She was in the Women's Land Army. She met my father, an American in the Army stationed in England, at a dance, and became a War bride. My oldest sister was born in England, and then they moved back to America when the war ended. My mother never saw anyone in her family again after moving to America. I think of the courage it must have taken, to leave everything she knew in her native country to come here, live with her in-laws, and raise a family. I remember her telling me how difficult it was to learn the money and making change. Also she faced some discrimination, and people teasing her for her accent. I think of how hard it must have been when her parents died, but she couldn't afford to return back to England for visits or funerals. She would talk on the phone occasionally, but even that was expensive, so maybe once a year. My mother also lost a child of about 4 years old, when he was hit by a car...a drunk driver that drove up onto a sidewalk. It was long before I was born, but I imagine the heartache of that loss. And with seven remaining children, and all that goes along with raising kids, she certainly had plenty of trials and tribulations. All the illnesses, accidents, temper tantrums, school problems, boy/girl problems, etc., times seven...ugh.
But, my mother wasn't one to complain, and that's what I'm remembering the most lately. She was a quiet woman, who was incredibly kind to everyone, and had a good sense of humor. She was very accepting of whatever life threw at her, and just dealt with it. She had a saying that she would tell me when I would complain about something being unfair....she would say, "Life isn't fair, get over it!" And if I look at her life, I can understand that now. Much of her life wasn't fair, and she managed to get over it, and do it with grace.

So when I stop and smell the lilacs, I think of my Mom. I could write so much more, but the bottom line is that she was a kind woman, a strong woman, and a survivor in so many ways. And when I get to feeling that life isn't fair...I need to remember that it isn't supposed to be, and get over it! And then I remember her laugh, her silly songs, and remember that a cup of tea makes everything better too. Stop and smell the lilacs, and be grateful for each day. I've been given more days than her, and she would want me to enjoy them. I so wish she were here to enjoy them with me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you so much for sharing this part of your love story.
    1173 days ago
    Awwww, such a beautiful, poignant memorial to your Mom. My Mom passed on 02 Nov. 2017 so this is my 1st Mother's day w/o her. So very sad. BUT then I hear her voice saying just remember me. Smile. That's what I want. That makes me happy. So, that's what I am going to try to do.

    1173 days ago
    Your blog brought me to tears. :') What a wonderful way to honor your mother this Mother's Day!
    1173 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    Your blog is such a beautiful tribute to your mother. I think of our mothers who lived through WWII, all of them were survivors of some sort. I think back and imagine my grandmother who left her home of Austria back when she was teenager on her own. Met my grandfather and started a life here in America without hardly speaking any English or even knowing anything about America. It's a wonder how they all survived back then. Things were rough, but it gave them character, and your Mom definitely passed that character on to you.

    You also are a survivor and have made your way and I think that says a lot. It's nice to have memories that will be ours forever and lilacs seem to be the trigger for you.
    1173 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/12/2018 1:18:55 PM
  • EISSA7
    What a beautiful tribute to your Mom! Lilacs remind me of my Mom, my childhood home, and the fact that I was loved. Like you, Mother’s Day is difficult for me as I have lost my Mom, my Mother in Law, and have no children.....but, I have so much in my life to be grateful for.
    1173 days ago
    Beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing! It sounds like your mother was an extraordinary woman and she holds such a special place in your heart. I can’t even fathom going through half of what she had to deal with-she sounds very strong and to do it all with grace as you mentioned is even more amazing! You should be so proud! And I’m sure what you have learned from her has made you the strong and graceful woman you are as well! Celebrate your mother this weekend and relish in the memories you have with her! The lilac bushes are beautiful!
    1173 days ago
    1173 days ago
    Such a beautiful tribute to your mother! emoticon

    We have a lilac tree in our yard too. It's the color of the flowers on the right in the last picture, a light lilac color! Ours just bloomed and is mostly done now. They're all wilting. We don't like to cut the flowers, since they don't last very long. And we learned our lesson about letting anyone else cut them. One year, these guys said they wanted some for a wedding, and took ALL of them, and cut our tree way back. They left it looking funny, and it is only now recovering from that, even though that was years and years ago. Also, the next year, they were back again wanting more for another wedding at their church, and my mom put her foot down! She said, "No way!" Only she gets to cut it back, and that suits her. I'm glad we don't pick the flowers anymore.

    I think life isn't always fair. The best we can do is to help make it more fair for the people and animals we run across. Otherwise, we're part of the problem, right? My mom used to say something that really bothered me. She would say, "How does it feel to want?", whenever I confessed that I liked or wanted something. I think it was overly harsh, but I guess she was cranky from working too hard or something and taking it out on me. I don't think you should do that to your kids, really. Because then who can they talk with? It shuts your kids down, and they develop problems communicating, which I did! I started having a lot of temper tantrums after she started in on her "How does it feel to want?" business. "Not very good, lady!" But I think your mom meant well. I'm not so sure of my mom, but I try not to think about her doing that. It's in the past. We could leave it in the past.

    It must have been so hard to leave everything behind like your mother did. I can't imagine loving a guy that much. He would have to be very special! It's too bad that you didn't have longer with your dad, because he probably was a very special man.

    Mother's Day is hard for me, because it really reminds me that I haven't had any children. Growing up, I always wondered about people who chose not to have kids. I thought they were very weird and miserly, actually. But that's not exactly why I haven't had kids. I have a lot of baggage to take into a relationship, from past hurts. And I sort of made a vow that I wouldn't date anyone until my health has significantly improved, which hasn't happened yet. I think sometimes when you're in a relationship, you let your health slide or you put others needs before your own. I don't want to do that. I want to get well, so I'm investing in myself. If that's selfish, oh well! That's my choice. I think healthy moms make better parents too.
    1173 days ago
  • LINDA!
    This is a wonderful love letter to your dear mother. How sad that you lost both of your parents at an early age. I am happy that you have good memories of your loving mother. She sounds like a gracious and kind woman. How sad that she had such pain in her short life. emoticon
    1173 days ago
  • 2DAWN4
    Thanks for sharing part of your mother's story with us!
    1173 days ago
    1173 days ago
  • MSGAIL618
    Beautiful! I miss my mom so much
    1173 days ago
  • ZRIE014
    thanks. i enjoyed. have a nice weekend.
    1173 days ago
    What a lovely tribute to your mother
    1173 days ago
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