Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Inspirational Woman

How do you put into words the love you feel for the most inspirational person in your life? How can you possibly describe someone who has changed your life, shown you who you want to be, and been an incredible source of strength, wisdom, faith, love and devotion? It seems an impossible task to me, but to honor my mother, I will try.

To know her is to love her. She moves through life like a soft, and yet bright, golden light. She is warm, and kind. She laughs easily and often, making strangers immediately feel comfortable around her. She is fun and vivacious and would still describe herself as a tomboy even though she looks beautiful, feminine, and put together. She is uber dramatic and animated with large expressive eyes and grand, sweeping gestures. She is a nature and animal lover. She has even been called "the doggy whisperer" because she has such a kinship with them. She sings like an angel (with perfect pitch, too) and has been in the church choir for 35 years and countless musicals. Her hands are strong and gentle and have been well used over her 68 years. Whether cooking a delicious meal for her husband and six children, working in the garden, changing babies and grandbabies diapers, doing laundry, rubbing a child's back, feeling a feverish forehead, or serving a warm meal to the homeless, you can feel the love in everything that she does. She is always there. Ever available. Willing to listen, comfort, and help.

She has not had the easiest life, but you would never guess it by talking with her. My oldest sister died when she was nine years old from complications of Turner Syndrome. Even though I was not yet alive, my mother talked about her often and made sure that we all knew about her, and never forgot her. I remember asking mom if in her grief she ever became angry with God. She responded, "Oh no. I always knew that she didn't belong to me. None of you kids do. You all belong to God. I am just grateful I was able to have her for 9 years." She has amazing faith. It is her faith that truly defines her.

Two years ago on New Year's Eve she was diagnosed with end stage Multiple Myeloma. She was not expected to make it more than 6 months. She, however, knew something the doctors did not. While she was unconscious in the hospital she talked with Jesus. Jesus told mom that she had more work to do, He needed her, and asked if she would come back. She, of course, said yes.

She is doing miraculously well now (and is famous for saying, "I am really healthy! Well, except for the terminal disease, Hahaha!"), and doing God's work as she takes care of my dad who has Alzheimer's. Moreover, this past year she invited my 40 year old brother to come and live with them when he was depressed and out of work. She really is an angel here on earth.

You see, she has a theory. Life is not easy. It is not supposed to be easy. She believes we are given challenges that are intended to help us strengthen our weaknesses in order to be worthy of heaven when we die. She figures she has been given the task of taking care of my dad with Alzheimer's because she always felt her biggest weakness was impatience. This is her ultimate test of patience. And I can be the first to attest she is passing with flying colors.

Mom can be described as warm, kind, loving, humble, generous, beautiful, smart, emotional, fun, thoughtful, and caring. Some even call her Saint Gloria, but it makes her incredibly uncomfortable. She will be the first to point out her failings and weaknesses, which to me, makes her an even more perfect and relateable mother.
Still, I feel that I am not describing her accurately just yet. How do I convey the fun, silly, tomboy side of her personality? What if I told you that she drives around on a Spree scooter in summer with her dog propped in between her legs? How about I tell you about the time she and her granddaughters were zipping up and down the sidewalk on their push scooters, laughing and screaming even when mom flipped over onto her head? Hmmm. Perhaps if I tell you the story of my mom and dad canoeing down a river 10 years ago, then carrying the canoe over their heads up a muddy bank, and falling, sliding all the way back down the bank into the water, laughing the whole time? Maybe if I tell you that as a kid she would challenged the neighbor boy to a "peeing in the snow" contest and got really angry when he could pee his name and she couldn't? Or maybe that she would climb the trees, hike the trails, swim in the lake, camp in the tent, sled down the hill, and jump in the leaves right along with us? Would that do it? Hmmph.

I have heard people say, "Oh no! I'm turning into my mother!"  If only I could be so lucky. She lives her life as an example. She doesn't tell you how to live, she shows you. She doesn't tell you how to love people, she shows you. She doesn't tell you how to have faith. She shows you.

She is the most amazing, and influential person in my life. She is my mom.

This post was in participation with Hump Day Hmm.


My Mom in Wordless Wednesday


painted maypole said...

what a great lady, and a great tribute. what a lucky girl you are (and a lucky mom she is to have you) no wonder you're so cool! :)

Mommy Lutchi said...

gorgeous photos og your mama.

Mine is up at Hope You can visit me too. TC

Family Adventure said...

Kathryn....such a touching post about your mother. I hope she reads it!!!

She looks beautiful, but, more importantly, she *sounds* so, so beautiful.


carmilevy said...

Thank you for sharing this incredibly inspirational view of a remarkable woman. How lucky we are to have your vision - you've made my day by sharing this.

I hope you'll drop by for a peek at my WW contribution:

I'd like to wish you a wonderful Wordless Wednesday!


Stephanie said...

That was one of the sweetest things I've ever read. I feel the same way about my mom... I love those pictures. Old pictures like that are usually the best.

Beck said...

I have tears in my eyes reading this - your mother sounds like a WONDERFUL woman.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the ticket to having a good life is accepting that life is not easy. Her life has been so difficult, but it sounds like she has made it very rich.


Laura said...

Oh my...what a wonderful post. What a wonderful mother, person, friend, angel on earth.

I send you and her hugs, positive vibes and prayers for all time.

dawn klinge said...

She is an inspiration. I love the photo where your mom looks like Scarlett O'Hara!

Julie Pippert said...

Lovely...she is lovely inside and out. What a beautiful, beautiful person to know and have in your life, what an example she sets with her beliefs and approach to life.

This was so sweet and loving.

Melissa said...

What a great post! See, you were up to it after all!

Thank you for sharing her with us.

Melissa said...

What a great post! See, you were up to it after all!

Thank you for sharing her with us.

Kellan said...

Kathryn, she is so beautiful and that was the most beautiful tribute I think I have ever read. It described her so thoroughly and lovingly and it depicted the love you have for her completely! It was written perfectly!! Well done and thank you so much for sharing your truly fabulous mother with us. See you soon. Kellan

Liv said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for posting and sharing with us a most fabulous woman.

Unknown said...

K I think that was the most wonderful tribute to motherhood in general I've ever read. I hope you mother knows how well she did raising you.

And, my dad had a similar death experience when he was two.

L. Lemanski said...

"Jesus told mom that she had more work to do, He needed her, and asked if she would come back. She, of course, said yes."

You know that saying--"God never gives us more than we can handle"? Well, with your mom it is simply not an empty platitude--it is reality.

Your mom is absolutely lovely. What a beautiful and moving tribute.

**"Liza"** said...

ohh those are photos of priceless photos..;)she is such a fabulous woman..;)
great shot! Happy WW!
mine is here

Homegrown Tribe said...

That is so special... you always have so enlightening and sweet things to say.

I LOVE #3 and oh my #5 looks just like you!

those pictures are beautiful and priceless!

miss_moneymaker said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I love the pictures! They look great!

BTW you have been tagged for a zodiac meme.

Blog said...

I'm so glad I got to stop by and read this special post! I hope your mom gets to read it, too. i LOVE the pic of her in the garbage can! Classic!

Momisodes said...

What an amazing tribute to an amazing woman. We all hope and aspire to be inspiring mothers like her, and moreover, to have incredible children like you... Beautiful from beginning to end, inside and out... :)

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I'm so sincerely sorry about your sister. And your Mom? Wow, what a beautiful tribute to a even MORE beautiful woman.

Those pictures spoke VOLUMES.


You say your not into family
history, well maybe I am rubbing
off on you a bit????????????
Very nicely written and great


You say your not into family
history, well maybe I am rubbing
off on you a bit????????????
Very nicely written and great

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a wonderful tribute! Your mother is lucky, as are you...great hearts!!

OHmommy said...

Those pictures.... beautiful!

What a doll!

girlymom said...

Kathryn- Again, you have me in tears- enough already! This is a beautiful tribute to your mom. She is someone we should all aspire to be more like. It is so nice that you have such a great relationship with your parents, through the good and bad, tough times and fun times- it builds great memories!

Anonymous said...

What an amazing tribute to your Mom. Did you share it or keep it quiet?

Rose said...

Thank you for sending me back here, a beautiful tribute to a beautiful mother. I definitely her in you. She must be very proud of you.

Cherish it. I can honestly say I miss my mother every day.


Anonymous said...


I really like the "shy girl" picture "on the fence" with your Mom and Dad.

I am 71, retired from New Mexico to Hawaii. I am in the early stages of Alzeimer's.

You are beautiful in the best sense of the word. (I would have said that even if I had known you before my Alzeimer's), and your blog is an inspiring work of art family art.

"Love you, love your Mom."

Let It said...

Hope this provides you with some sanity

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson