The Truth.....As Lived By My Momma
Today is Mother’s Day. The 9th one without my mother; Alma Suis.
This is one my favorite pictures of her. Not because of the photo quality or the background. Not because it was a special occasion. But because of her smile. We were sitting in her living room. I believe someone was playing her piano. I don’t remember who was there. All I remember is that smile.
My mother told me my entire life that God sent me here to take care of her. I didn’t do such a great job at first, but when I finally grew up, with everything in me, I tried my best to do right by her. But truth be told, she took care of me. In more ways than I can count.
Alma Suis was born on January 1st, 1921. The year of the Great Depression. For her little family that reality hit way before the rest of the world caught on. Their struggle actually WAS real. The impact of her early years carved personal truths that she carried with her the rest of her life. Truths that she lived by and passed on along to her children. Three of which I would like to share with you today.
#1 God Is The Answer
Regardless of the question, God is the answer. When I lived at home, I woke up to the sounds of her praying every morning. Not repetition, read off a wall prayer. Real, earnest, heartfelt, “I’m talking to GOD” prayers. Billy Graham cannot pray any better than my momma could. She prayed for everyone in our family; calling each of us out by name. She prayed about everything, teaching us all to pray too. It was moving and humbling to accidently eavesdrop on her conversations with God. She never wavered. The cancer came, again and again. She prayed. My father passed. She prayed. The Christian example and heritage she exhibited every day is one I fall extremely short of, but is also one I am so incredibly proud and thankful to have experienced. I shudder at the thought of where I would be today had it not been for her prayers. Even now I am confident that although I am not sure how Heaven works, she has found an audience with the Almighty and our names are still presented before Him; every day.
# 2 The Unspeakable Can Make You Unbreakable
My mother saw and experienced things as a child that would break your heart. And when presented with these challenges, some people turn bitter and resentful. They spend their lives trying to ‘make up’ for what they lost, or get what they deserve. She was just simply thankful. Thankful to have made it through and found a way, with the help of my father, to get out of that situation and have a wonderful and productive life. She was a survivor and she instilled quiet strength and determination in each of us. She taught me to not let obstacles sideline me. To push through when it hurt. To appreciate every day and make something out of it. To learn from my mistakes or mistakes of others and move forward. She taught me to never give up.
#3 Create Something Beautiful
I don’t know if it was a result of her drab and sparse upbringing, but my mother loved beauty. Not a vain type of beauty, but an appreciation for beauty. She loved her flower beds. My momma would work in her yard and her flowers for hours. She had immaculate flower beds all around the house. She always had the best yard in the neighborhood. She also loved to quilt and could take scraps of material and turn them into beautiful tapestries. I have one hanging on my wall today. She actually even enjoyed creating music and played the guitar!
She actually turned this love of making things beautiful into a career. She was a Beautician. As long as I can remember she had a beauty shop in her home. I grew up on the laps of her customers as they read books to me while sitting under the dryer. She loved her ‘ladies’ and worked in her shop right up until the end. In the weeks before she passed the only thing that brought her comfort was to take her to her shop and let her comb someone’s hair. It was so much a part of her that even though she didn’t know who we were, or maybe even who she was, she knew that she could still help make someone beautiful. Those of us who sat in that chair and let her repeatedly run the comb through our hair had our hearts break and swell at the same time. It was at the core of who she was.
I know today will be a day of many memories and posts and pictures of all the wonderful loving and beautiful moms in our lives. And that is awesome. There is not a one size fits all mold for motherhood. We all have to forge our own paths and do what we think is best. Some do better than others. I know for a few, today does not bring forth memories of happy times. For you, I grieve and am sorry.
For the rest, I join you in the joy of celebrating our mothers. If you are like me, the full appreciation of what that means did not come until adulthood was reached and/or we became mothers ourselves.
I am truly thankful and grateful for my mother. Anything good that I am today is a direct result of her love and commitment and unconditional support of me. There are not enough words or blog posts to adequately express my feelings for her and the void she created when she moved to Heaven.
I love you Momma.