Posted by: bree1972 | May 5, 2011

For Mama – Part II

I wrote a little about my mom last year about this time, and with Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, I find my thoughts are turning to her even more each day than usual. Everytime I try to write a tribute to her, the emotion of putting into words what she meant to me overcomes my attempts.  But I’ll start out today again – and we’ll see where it goes.

I was an only child, growing up in the 50’s and 60’s – in a home filled with love.  After I was born, the only time my mother worked outside the home – for more than a short while –  was when college tuition for me was looming.  College was never an option for my mom, and though her professional skills were limited, her mind was sharp.  During my Senior year in high school, Mom announced one day she was going to run for office in our little town of Sylvester.  The position was Tax Receiver for Worth County – Mama was good with numbers, and she figured she could handle that job.  She was the first female to ever run for the office, and she and Daddy spent nights and weekends going door to door in our little community – seeking votes.  When the ballots were counted, she had won –  surprising herself more than anyone else.

After I married and had babies, she became a doting grandmother.  When I divorced and became a single parent, she and my dad were my anchors.  When my dad retired, the five of us went on a year-in-the-planning trip across the U.S.  My dad rented one of those “custom” vans (this was in the 80’s), and we toured Dollywood, rode to the top of the St. Louis Arch, watched Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone, viewed the glaciers in Banff National Park in Alberto Canada, saw how movies are made in Hollywood at Universal Studios, were awed by the traffic in Los Angeles, and attended a church service one morning sitting on a rim of the Grand Canyon.  We were gone a month, and each day of that month is remembered often by Jason, Blake and me when we are reminiscing about their Mema and Granddaddy. 

Seeing me married to Ted brought her happiness – and she once again added “mother-in-law” to her other roles.  When my dad passed away suddenly in 1996, she was beyond grief.  He was the love of her life, and she never recovered from losing him.  I think she realized that in order to keep living, she had to remake her life, and she surprised all of us by doing that.  Everything my dad had done in the past, she took on – paying the bills, taking care of the house (catching her one day on top of a ladder painting a bedroom almost threw me into cardiac arrest), tending the yard.  She did it all to stay busy, and her favorite thing to do was ride the mower and cut the grass.  She often told me how much it meant to be able to get outside, climb on that mower, and make the yard “pretty”.   When she fell and broke her hip and leg, her first words to the ER doctor were, “When can I mow again?”  She never made it back on that mower, and from that day her health began to decline.

She visited us at the lake often, but never would stay more than two nights – claiming she “had to get back home to Daddy”.  As the years passed and worries began about whether she could continue to live alone, she let us know in no uncertain terms that “I will NOT go into an assisted living home unless I absolutely HAVE to – and I don’t plan to HAVE to.”  She told me a million times, “I’d like the Banks boys (the funeral directors in Sylvester –  who have been in business forever) to come get me from my own home.”  Following a devastating stroke, then six days at home with hospice (she had everything spelled out in a Living Will for just such a happening), her request became a reality.  She passed away peacefully – the afternoon of her 86th birthday – in the den she and my daddy had shared for so many years.

My mother taught me to work hard, to be honest, and to help others.  She taught me patience, compassion, and unconditional love.  I grieve most for that love, because on this earth, the love of a mother is like no other.  She loved me whether I was good or bad, moody or sweet, angry or happy.  Her love never wavered – never.  I love my boys that same way.  Isn’t it strange how seldom we realize what losing that kind of love will mean until it’s gone.

When Jason and Blair married, Mama insisted that she walk down the aisle be to seated with the family - not be rolled in her wheelchair. The aisle of the huge church in Atlanta was so long we fretted that she'd never hold out to walk that far - even with a walker. In the end, we rolled her halfway down the aisle and seated her before the wedding guests began to arrive. At the appointed moment, Blake (who was Jason's best man) and Jason came down the aisle for her. She had no idea Jason was coming, and I wish I had a photograph of her face when she looked up and saw both "her boys" standing there. This picture is one I cherish.


Ted's daughter, Julie, made her a great-grandmother with the birth of Jordan.


Dancing with Blake at Jason & Blair's wedding.


After a wild ride. Jason said she screamed at him the whole time to "slow down", but between screams she laughed herself silly.

There is a not a day that goes by I don’t wish I could pick up the phone and talk to her – to just say hello, or to ask about a recipe, or for her advice or opinion on something I need help deciding.  Even though my thoughts of her now are more happy memories than sad ones, I miss her terribly.  But I know – without a doubt in my mind – that we’ll all see each other again – in God’s time.  And that makes me smile.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.  I love you.


My beautiful Mama.



  1. What a beautiful tribute to your Mama. I have tears in my eyes after reading this blog tonight. I’m sure she was and is still very proud of you. Happy Mother’s Day, Bree and to all of your blog friends.

  2. Sweet tribute to your Mom, makes me think of my own mother who I lost in 1984…Love you Momma. Thanks Bree

  3. Brenda, What a nice tribute to your mom. I find Mother’s Day to be bitter-sweet. My mom lived with us for 17 years after my dad passed away. When she passed away 4 years ago she left a huge hole in our lives. But what wonderful memories!

  4. The tears are flowing Bree. Beautiful tribute. My mom was my best friend and we had so many happy times together and I still to this day find myself wanting to give her a quick call on the phone.

  5. Stealing a pic, mom, and thanks again for the teary stuff:). Love ya!

  6. Beautiful tribute. She sounds and looks beautiful. I know she loved you right back and what a wonderful life she had. She and your Dad are surely proud of you.

  7. That was beautiful Brenda. When I saw that picture of Jason in the car, I saw YOU. You look so much like your mom. Once again, it’s hard to drink coffee with a lump in your throat. Maybe it was the birth of my new grandson last Sunday, but it brought back thoughts of my own mom, wishing she was here to meet her great grandchildren. I know she would have loved them as much as I do. Happy Mother’s Day Mom, and to you Brenda and all the moms here.

  8. Brenda,

    Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful memories with me and all your many readers. Just the thought brings back so many memories of my mother who seperated from this life to go on to be with the Lord on December 1, 1983, my brother’s 44th birthday. Her almost lifelong best friend, and our second mother, left us on October 6, 2000, my 62nd birthday. I miss them so much, but I know I’ll be joining them in what will be less than an instant for them.

    My mother-in-law’s 5 children and 5 spouces will be celebrating Mother’s Day with her on Sunday. She was 91 years old on February 2 of this and we are so fortunate to still have her with us.

  9. My mom and I speak on the phone every day, she is 89. I cherish every day we have. She is moving to Albany from Florida next month – hooray!

  10. This is a beautiful tribute for a wonderful mom, Bree. I lost my mom when I was 13 so the memories aren’t as strong as they used to be. I know she played a big part in making me who I am. Would love for her to see her grandkids too.

    Have a wonderful Mother’s Day yourself! Did you put that on your to-do list for Sunday or is it too full with packing?

  11. Beautiful tribute, another “fan” crying. My mom passed away in ’98, she is on my mind so very often. My dad passed away last October. It has been a long, sad winter, but I do realize he is in a better place. He fought Alzheimer’s for over 8 years. I miss seeing him.

  12. Beautiful tribute and a beautiful woman inside and out! You learned your lessons from a master. I’m sure she is smiling on you now.

  13. What a beautiful tribute. You are so fortunate to have had your mother for so long. She must be looking down and thinking how proud of you she is. God Bless and have a beautiful Mother’s Day.

  14. Yes, yes, what a beautiful tribute. Tears flowing here too…. I lost my mom at age 17, before we could become friends again. You were so lucky to have her as long as you did and as already noted, I’m sure she’s very, very proud of you and happy with how your life turned out.

  15. I’m going to have to start reading your columns before I put on makeup! You said so much of what I feel for my Mom, and said it so lovingly. It’s a beautiful tribute – you did good! And I know exactly what you mean about calling her – I have picked up the phone and dialed.
    I’m sure that Jason and Blake feel the same about you! Happy Mother’s Day to you and all! How wonderful to have sweet memories.

  16. You have always had a wonderful way with words. I could have practically inserted my Mom’s name into your words because of the many parallels. What a beautiful tribute. And I miss my Mom too.

  17. God bless you Brenda. It’s hard to know what to say after such a beautiful tribute to your mom. My mom and Mother-in-law are both still here and I am so lucky they are. I know both my grandmas, Muriel and Emma, and good friend Winnie, are throwing kisses at me from Jesus lap. Happy Mother’s Day to all Mommies in heaven and on earth.

  18. Dear Bree,
    I see you everywhere in your mama’s face. This is an awesome accomplishment in your memoir of your mother. This is the type of writing I teach — the one that comes straight from the heart and finds itself on paper! And see, like I told you, you already know how to do that.

    I want to tell you though that I learned at the IWWG workshops that the mother-daughter story (and I had two moms, with great mystery surrounding one) is the HARDEST, BUT FIRST STORY we all must write; You have done so magnificently. I sat in the workshops and cried warm, hot tears for several years BEFORE my mother stories began and it was longer than that before I felt the encompassing peace of 4 mothers’ arms wrapped around me and safely at home and at rest within my own family, daughters and grandchildren.

    I am so happy for you for the mother you have; I am happy for me for the mothers I have.

  19. Happy Mother’s Day to you. What a very sweet Mother you had. Thank you for sharing about her with us readers.

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