Sometimes I find myself looking at pictures of my Mom and I stare into those blue eyes. The years made her eyes change shape some, but not the colour. Before Mom passed away this January 1st she didn’t have much hair remaining. But her eyes stayed the bluest of light blue. I didn’t get my mother’s eyes. Mine are of a darker hue, but no matter the colour I got her ability to shed tears!
I have great memories of Mom. I needed to write some to help me not forget. One of the funny ones we kids sometimes mention is when we see our childhood pics, Our haircuts, the ones she gave to us kids were not good at all. Yes, we laugh as we see the crooked odd shaped cuts. I think she practiced on us kids before trying out to be a hairdressing helper! That job didn’t seem to last long!
I also remember Mom at the swimming pool. In my young days we camped a lot and the criteria of a good campground for us was a place for swimming. And once in every while she would join in the pool too. What I picture in my mind now is an attractive woman who could really make the backstroke seem like an event! My Dad was often the limelight in the family, performing on stage. Yet in the pool Mom wanted the world to notice how much white water splash she could create? There she was kicking with gusto doing the backstroke and the mighty splash made by her legs got all our intention.
Then there were times when we would be in the car for long drives. Every drive in those days seemed like non-ending. Mom knew how to keep the peace between us three children; yep, we would need comic books. We had comic book after comic book. Boxes of comics. I read everything from Donald Duck to Goofy to Captain America to Mad magazine. My ultimate favourite was always the Incredible Hulk. One day I wanted green muscles too! Dad and Mom always sat in adult-like in the front. Sometimes we kids would each sing a song for them, like Canadian Idol or something, and they would judge our voices. I lost most of the sing-offs usually. Gerald, my little brother, would win even over the talented baby of the family, with a gravely rendition of Jeremiah was a Bullfrog. To hear him sing it would make them and my sister and I laugh out loud.
I smile now at some of the memories of those growing up times. Christmas was magical at our place. We sometimes sang in front of the tree too. We had Black Peter to talk about (Dutch custom). My dad finally ruined my belief in Santa for me when at the table he said, “Shhh listen, you hear that sound? It must be Santa coming down the chimney!” I am sure I saw fingers tapping on the table, his fingers. That’s when I knew that the gifts had to be bought. I sometimes went looking and inadvertently found some of them before ‘the day!’ No matter, I loved the Christmas gifts, all of them, especially the New York Ranger Jersey, and the goalie glove. That reminds me of all the driving Mom did in those days, to youth group and to those awful early morning hockey practices. And then if I close my eyes and imagine, I think I can hear her loud voice shouting from the stands every time I would touch the puck, which wasn’t often!
I could go on and on, but you’d stop reading.
Before Mom passed away I wrote her some of my memories of her and my proud feelings of being her son. She was on her hospital bed in the living room of our farmhouse when I said, “Mom, I want to read this thing I wrote to you.” It didn’t take long for her light blue eyes to shed tears and of course my dark blue eyes followed suit. I read it out loud to her because I wanted her to never forget how she impacted our lives. I was proud of the whole life she lived. It must be such a battle when our health fails to feel lost and of little use (read useless). Admittedly it was hard for me to see Mom, a proud woman, loose her health, her quick wit and her laugh. It was still Mom in that bed, but it was not Mom at her best. My memories of her are more of Mom at her best and they comfort me even if I remember the pain of the last months of Mom’s life.
I miss Mom. I saw the obituary today wrote by my brother and printed in the local paper, I was so sad for a moment. I stared into that picture of Mom. I saw those big blue eyes stare back at me. The picture you see here was the last solo pic I took of Mom. Do you see those eyes shining? I do. If eyes could talk and I know they do, her eyes would say, “I love you Peter!” (Sometimes she would say, I Love you boy!) I can hear her voice shouting that from heaven’s stands. That’s why I am going to look at my photos again and again, to hear those words to her boy and remember.