This is for all of those people out there who no longer have mothers. For us old guys, of course, but especially for those younger people who lost their moms when they were way too young. I know how difficult it must be being inundated with all the advertisements at this time of year. The constant wishes... only to be turned into "I'm sorry." Don DiJulia, the AD at St. Joe's, gave the best advice when he told me "we're all rookies when it comes to losing our mothers, no matter the age."
I was lucky enough to have a great Mom... aka Ma. I hope you were too. I keep a County Mayo sticker on the bumper of my Dodge Charger to remind me of her, as she always had one on her car. Don't let the last name fool you -- she was "thoroughbred Irish", as she and her mother liked to boast. I never had perogis or golumpkis growing up.... just a roast cooked for 12 hours (until it just fell off the bone) and seemingly every meal had potatoes. Like all good mothers you were first on her mind when she woke up, and the last thing on her mind when she went to sleep. All those meals, all those rides to CYO games, all the washing and ironing, all the handkerchiefs she would spit on to remove whatever it was you got on your face. All the love, altruism, selflessness. Always putting you before her.
If you were lucky you got one like I did that dispensed excellent Yoda-like advice at the drop of a hat (oh how I wish that once I had the things I threw away), or had a comeback no matter what you said or did (are your ears painted on?). Hopefully she let you fight some of your own battles, like the time I fought the Jewish kid down the street while the parish priest was in our house visiting, and then told you to invite the boy to the house for dinner the next week - which I did and we became best friends (a Philadelphia rowhouse brand of Catholicism?). She was there, whether you wanted her to be or not, at almost every significant moment in your life. Should it have felt like your world was falling apart -- you knew there was one person who would always be on your corner. One caveat however - being in your corner didn't mean she told you wanted you wanted to hear.
At certain times in my life I would love to have just one more home cooked meal served up in the small kitchen, followed up by one of our endless conversations over Miller Lite and a Benson & Hedges Deluxe Ultra Lights. All gone now... oh how I wish that once I had.... ringing in my ear.
So for all of you out there -- don't think of how she died but celebrate how she lived. Say a prayer and remember at least one great memory, of either the lady who brought you into this world, or the lady who raised you. She is still worthy of that honor. But don't be too sad. You miss her, and I'm sure she misses you... but she is having supper with Lord now. By His cross, death and resurrection Christ conquered death. That is the consolation of Christianity. But don't think for a moment she's still not watching over you, and perhaps wondering what in God's name possessed him to do that. She may have retired the handkerchief by now though ;-)
TFB / 5-8-11 / AMDG