Ode to my mom written upon her death in December 2009:

I have been nominated to write something about our Mom, by my brother’s Steve and Joe. The reason they gave me was because of my so called writing ability. I guess it was a mistake to write that article in the Monacan News, thanking my parents for what they have taught me. Now everyone thinks that I am a writer. Well Steve was always more poetic and Joe the individualist.

In that article I related how my parents have always taught me to be proud of my Indian Heritage. And how, they instilled in me the Indian approach to Life; a respect and love for nature; the principles of truth, honesty, generosity, equality, and brotherhood, as a guide for my conduct in everyday affairs.

I do not know how good my writing is, or how well, I will be able to articulate my feelings. However, I do know that if it wasn’t for my mom always reminding me to use correct English, and encouraging me to read and write, I would not be writing this.

Too often, we are remembered by our occupations. We can use the words like Model, Den Mother, Telephone Operator, Hotel Owner, to describe Mom’s occupations, but this isn’t who she was. These were additional duties to her primary job of being a Mother. Mom was a Mother who provided comfort, discipline, kindness, love, protection and understanding. She was a Mother, who gave unconditional love to her three sons, even when we made mistakes.

And at times, felt that she failed as a Mother. But she still loved us unconditionally. And Mom, you did not fail us as a Mother.She encouraged and supported us to take risks, for she knew that the greatest danger in life is to risk nothing. By risking nothing we may think we are safe and are avoiding pain. But, oh, how boring a life we would lead and what a lie our life would be. Only through risk can we feel, learn, grow, live and love. She wanted us to love, to live life on our terms. She wanted us to believe in our self. For, she knew that if we believe in our self, so too would other believe in us. She did not want us to be carbon copies of anyone. Yes, she may have been disappointed when we faltered.

She taught us that everything that happens can teach us a lesson of Life. Happiness, sadness, advancements, setbacks, the greatest moments of grandeur, and those of sheer stupidity, forges us into the individuals that we have become. For without these test, our Life would be just like a Merry-go-round, Dull and pointless!

She took great interest in our Indian Heritage. Never seeking or expecting recognition, she was glad to make anonymous donations to the Monacan Nation. Just this past October, she gave several boxes full of sewing books, supplies and material to the Tribe. Sewing and quilting was something that she was very good at, until the arthritis in her hands became too painful for her. Yes, it was hard for her to let all of these sewing supplies go, for she never gave up hope of one day being able to sew again. However, I suspect that this past October she realize that her time remaining was growing shorter and these things could be better utilized by the Tribe than by sitting in the sewing room.

There are many things my Mom taught me; I would like to share 26 of them.

Admit your mistakes

Be happy

Continue to learn something new each day

Delight in the small things

Enjoy your family and friends

Follow your own path, while doing no harm

Give thanks for all that you have, all that you experience, the good and the bad

Hug often

It is easier to be helpful than harmful

Jump for joy as often as possible.

Know your limitations, and then expand them

Laugh from the belly, and often

Miracles are real, they happen every day

Never intentionally harm someone

Opportunities to do good are always present

Plant as many trees, and flowers that you can

Quiet time, spent alone is important

Respect tradition, respect the Earth, and take responsibility for your actions

Smiles are free, give them often

Take no one for granted, for tomorrow the may be gone

Use every second and every word wisely, neither can be retrieved

Visit family and friends often

Welcome big problems, for they help us grow and may also disguise big opportunities

Xmas is the time for families and gentle falling snow

Zoos are fun

I loved my Mother, she was my friend

My Mother, my friend has walked on

What more can I say

The poem ends

Softly as it began

I love my Mother, she was my friend

Good Night, God Bless, I Love you

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