Editor’s note: the following was sent to The Morning Star, in response to our request for Mother’s Day stories. Lee Reynolds sent this in memory of her mother, Ethel May Finch (March 20, 1926-February 28, 2012).
In the last year I have experienced the miracle of giving birth to twins and the profound finality as my mother left this world. In birth and death, I have discovered there can be joy and amazing insights into the mysteries of the universe. Where do these special souls come from and where do they go once their body stops working? This spring, as grief envelopes my heart, I’ve been pondering my life’s purpose. The legacy my mom left behind still lingers and I can only hope to leave such a footprint on the world. I feel really honoured to have had this gentle soul as my mother.
She was such a kind, loving, generous and funny person. She had the ability to make everyone she met feel like they were her best friend. I have three sisters and we all feel we were her favourite. She had endured so much in her almost 86 years on earth. The depression, the Second World War, loss of two husbands, raising children often as a single mother, and dementia later in her life. Despite it all, she would wake up each day and try to brighten other people’s lives.
After she passed, my sisters and I dealt with the earthly stuff. A home full of furniture, household goods and boxes of old letters, cards and keepsakes. Again and again we marvelled over the fact that mom was continuing to teach us valuable lessons and was reaching out, letting us know how much she loved us. In one box she had kept clippings of bible verses from the newspaper and several notebooks which recorded the things she was praying about daily. It was amazing how she recorded our family’s history with her prayers and she didn’t just pray for her inner circle but whatever was going on in the world was also recorded in those books.
She was constantly sending out positive, light-filled energy into the world. As I sat bereft and lonely, reading one of her notebooks, a phrase she had written, underlined and highlighted appeared on the page. It said simply, “love one another.” I got shivers as I read those words as though she was sitting right next to me and whispering “this is all that matters.” In our day-to-day life we often get caught up with the minutia of living and we forget the importance and simplicity of doing this one thing.
So this Mother’s Day I don’t have anyone to buy flowers and cards for but I have the words that she lived her life by. Something is shifting inside of me. Everyone is my sister, my brother, my father, my mother, my family. We may not be genetically related but at our core we want the same thing. If I keep these words foremost in every action and conscious intention, my mom would be proud of me and in that way she continues to live on.
Last Saturday I took my 11-month-old twin daughters to my son’s soccer game. The babies don’t get out much so they were bright eyed and curious as they crawled around our blanket. Suddenly, my normally reserved Kate crawled over to the mom next to us who was sitting on a beach towel. Kate crawled right up to her, patted the beach towel a couple of times and then laid her little head down and started to suck her thumb, looking very peaceful and relaxed. At first I was a bit shocked at how easy she looked lying next to this other mom and then my next instinct was to tell her to come back because she didn’t belong there; then I smiled and thought of my mom. Even as tiny as Kate is she too is teaching me, and perhaps the next generation gets it…we are all connected. Loving one another is what it is all about.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, peace be with you.