Saturday, April 13, 2013

If Its Not One Thing, It's A Mother

Thelma Lucile Durham O'Shaughnessy circa 1953

Dusty was looking forward to spending Easter with her daughter and her two young grandsons but aware the day was due to wear her out she decided to hit the sack, which actually was the living room couch, early.

Taking her Stardust Hotel mug from the drain board, the same mug she had bought home from that ridiculous trip she and her husband had won to Vegas many years ago, she filled it with recently reheated coffee leftover from the  morning.

Being 12 hours old, it was bitter and on the crappy side since she switched from her usual Folgers to the house brand at Aldis's to save a few bucks, but she really didn't mind. As long as it was hot, black  and in ample supply she was satisfied.

Coming back through the dining room she grabbed her Harlequin of the week paperback, her green metal ashtray and a fresh pack of fags. She always called them "fags" in her head but she learned the hard way not to call them that in public. People were so touchy nowadays.

She arranged the pillows at enough of a slope to allow her to read but not so much that she'd get short of breath. Damn emphysema really pissed her off some nights. With her cigarette lit, her book in hand, her coffee on a makeshift end table created from one of the dining room chairs with a broken leg, too unstable to hold anyone but perfect for her evening props, she settled in for a quiet smoke and a simple minded read.

Sometime after that and before Easter sunrise of 1998, she died.

And now 15 years later I can easily say...I miss her my mother more than ever. At 67 she was entirely too young yet on the other hand she had lived a very long and often very tough life. If anyone deserved a rest it was she.

But still, being selfish, I will imagine from time to time how much fun it would be to have her around still. No, not with her COPD,  no one should have to live endless years with that, as unfortunately our father did, but man it sure would be fun to have her with us as a relatively healthy 82 year old.

I can see her tearing up the drive in an old Pinto (she and dad always had an eye for fine autos). I can hear her arguing with my GK Allana, who would be in shock after meeting the Matriarch of Arguing Purely for the Sake of. And I can see she and I wearing each others clothes, neither of us with any sense of style totally embarrassing the rest of the clan with our mommy "tennis" shoes, our men's T-shirts obtained at K-Marts last Blue Light Special and our stained used-to-be-white socks.

So yes, sure am missing her. Can't wait to hook up with her again, sit with her at the old Formica covered kitchen  table and share what's left of the reheated, scummy topped coffee.

All in good time.


  1. Yes she was way too young. So happy there are now laws that prevent smoking in public places. And to think the government used to put cigarettes in C-rations for armed forces.

    Smoking is like taking your money and lighty a match to it and watching it burn, but that would be healthier.

    I can relate to the t-shirts, blue light special too.

  2. Donna --- The love between a mother and daughter is hard for some to understand. I believe it's the one relationship that can endure being pulled to the edge and back, then the two who were at odds are soon laughing so hard about their problems because that's what moms and daughters do. They begin to realize, over the years, that they are more than related, they RELATE to one another. I loved your story. Brought tears to my eyes. I lost my mom to breast cancer in 2006 and she was 57, much too soon to say goodbye and I think of her often as well. One day we will get to be with them again!


  3. I was in my mid-30's when both my parents died. It is, of course, life's most dramatic, and hurtful, experience. I'll never forget that feeling of 'life suddenly becoming serious'; for someone as irresponsible as me, it was quite a shock!

  4. I miss Mom too sweet seester. But her and dad and Aunt B, they are around the table, having coffee and "fags" and enjoying getting caught up on all that has happened since Mom made her trip home. Our mom would be so proud how the 5 of us stick together & love each other, with you at the helm. You have a way with words seester, it is your gift from Him. Mom is proud.

  5. Loved the way you worded the memory-- made it real to me

  6. Hugs for you, lady.

    The missing doesn't go away, it just changes and becomes more bearable. My mom is first my mom and second my best friend - I know she won't be here forever, but just choose to believe she is invincible - so I won't have to try and live without her....

  7. I love the photo! She looks like she would be fun to be around!

  8. Your Mom was a real beauty, such a lovely smile.

    Your story made me cry and thank my lucky stars that my tough, determined, opinionated, stubborn Irish Mother is still with me. Think I shall call her and let her know her tough, determined, opinionated and stubborn Irish daughter loves her!

  9. Holy cow!! That was an amazing read!! While the subject is an unbearably sad one, your way of writing it was amazing. Have you ever thought of writing? Seriously writing? I would be your first customer!! I have wished MANY times that I lived closer to you, because I would be a regular customer to your farm store. And !!!SOAP!!!! don't EVEN get me started there. I would buy your soap and would beg you to show me how to make it. But, alas, I am many hours away in Kentucky :( LOVE your blog!! I look forward to reading it everyday.

  10. Donna I've been reading your blog since we met a few weeks ago...yes. ALL THE WAY from the beginning. I find myself making a cup of tea and sitting with my laptop instead of one of the books from the stack beside my chair. I had to tell you this post touched my heart and made me cry with the raw emotion I could feel you had. It is so reassuring to know our heavenly father promises us our family for eternity in the afterlife...and I'm glad you can feel that too
    Shannon Marie