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Saluting strong women

View from Hickory Heights

I knew the commandment – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” I had no idea there were so many other verses that reference honoring your parents. A book that I have that helps me find Bible verses when I need them revealed six other verses – some in the Old Testament and some in the New Testament. I guess the Lord really wanted us to remember them fondly.

This weekend is Mother’s Day – the day we honor our mothers for all they have done for us. Whether your mother is still with you, or whether she is resting from her labors, it is time to remember the days she spent taking care of you.

Some of you are in the time where you are taking care of your mother. That is a very hard stage. When my mother was nearing her last, I was still working. I recall getting calls at school that my mother’s health was in danger. Often, I had to be excused from my classroom to deal with what was happening.

I recall vividly getting the call to come to the hospital immediately. I drove down worrying about what I would find. My mother was all right, but she needed care. I was asked to sign a paper for her because she was deemed incapable of making that decision. That was a hard for me. Although I had the documents to prove that I could do it, it was hard for me to make that decision. I authorized a blood transfusion.

Following that transfusion, I assessed her condition and vowed I would not put her through that again. She was no stronger or better after the blood was given.

I was taking care of my mother and determined that I would be as good to her as she had always been to me.

I am a mother, too. I remember when I found out that I was pregnant. I was so happy to think that I was going to have a baby. I loved every minute of motherhood right up to the present.

Once you are a mother, you are always the mom. Even though your children are grown and on their own, you still care for them. No, you do not interfere in their lives, but you support them, you listen to their problems, you pray for their needs.

As I am in the winter of my life, I know that I have to take care of myself. With my husband gone, the responsibility is mine.

I often think that if I died it would be some time before anyone discovered it. I recently participated in tests provided by the Warren General Hospital to assess my health. All of the tests were given free of charge.

The lady who sat next to me waiting my turn, said she had friends who would not participate because they did not want to know if anything was wrong. I think that is the wrong attitude. Many of the things they find can be corrected with a change in diet or subtle changes in life style. I would rather know if something is going on with my health.

Eleven years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. If I had not gone to that screening, I would never have known anything was wrong. The spot was small and it was buried deeply. They were able to remove it. Thankfully, I have been able to live a normal life since.

Oh, the things I would have missed out on if I had not dealt with what was going on. I would never have seen my grandchildren graduate. I would never have taken them to New York City and seen the wonder in their eyes. I would never have done all the traveling that I have done. I would never have gotten married a second time. All of these things have made my life fulfilling.

Today I celebrate my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother. I was able to enjoy all of them. There are things I recall about them all.

Great-grandma was in her seventies and rather sedentary when I knew her. She loved plants. In her garden she had an abundance of tulips – some of which she brought with her from Holland. She also had rhubarb. I think that was how I learned to like rhubarb.

My own grandmother was a tall lady with long legs. I take after her, although I did not inherit her beautiful skin. I remember her sewing clothes for herself and for me.

I wish had her sewing machine with the electric pedal that grandpa put on it. She was also an excellent baker. I benefitted from her baking. She made many cookies and coffeecakes.

My mother was a strong woman. She survived in an era when single mothers were a rarity. My father left us before I was two years old so I have no memory of him.

She was a very giving lady who never missed an opportunity to help someone.

My children remember grandma bringing fresh fruits from the nearby farm stands. She also brought ham loaf – that everyone enjoyed. When mom arrived the children always hurried out to help her bring in her things.

Oh, the memories. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Remember your mother and the memories you made.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact her at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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