By Jeannine, Canada
I grew up in a family with five siblings. In total we had three girls and three boys. I was fifth youngest.
I remember the day so well, back in 1974. I was nine years old at the time. Mom was in the kitchen and had told me to go wake my father, as he was sleeping in well past the time he normally did. As I made my way to the bedroom, she must have realized something was wrong and ran past me, yelling at me to stay out. Too late, I saw his body lying on the bed. He had died of a brain aneurysm in his sleep. That day changed our family’s life. My mother’s most of all.
She was a widow at forty-six years old with six children, from age sixteen years all the way to seven years. She had no family close by, as she and my father had travelled across the country and settled in the west. I look back now and cannot imagine how my mother did what she did. She was a strong, determined woman with some very good friends who were her support when she needed it. My mother stayed out west for us. We were all still in school and this was our home. She was able to stay home on the pension that my father had and it wasn’t much. We children never once felt that we were struggling (though I am sure we did). She made sure we had a nice home, food on the table and dressed in clean clothes. And when we wanted the clothes that our friends wore, well, that is when we started the part-time jobs in order to have the luxuries that Mom could not afford. She made us all go to church (we were Catholic) and we had a curfew. Oh how I wish I had the understanding of what she did for us while I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I fully appreciated what my mother did for us all.
My mother died of leukemia in 2003. She was in an early stage of Alzheimer’s also and it was so sad to see a woman who had great knowledge, was witty and could hold a great conversation drop to the dark depths that Alzheimer’s produces.
There are times when I miss my mother so much. I picture her sitting at the kitchen table after dinner, with a cup of tea in her hand, having a conversation with whomever decided to stick around after dinner. To this day I think back and smile, as I was quite fortunate to have decided to stick around.
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Copyright Ark Stories 2011