My mother is resiliency personified. Strength, determination, and the embodiment of “keep moving forward”. She’s known grief I’ve never had to endure; losing her father, stepfather, and mother all by the time she was 32 and then burying her eldest child a few years ago. Through all of her 60+ years, my mom keeps moving forward, weights unseen though certainly carried.
She raised four daughters while her husband’s career required long hours and frequent travel, and did so outside of the community in which she was raised – different from her mother and grandmothers before her. My mother grew up with her cousins as playmates and best friends, large family gatherings, and a quieter lifestyle. After marriage, she moved from the mining/farming ancestral home to the Philly suburbs of her husband’s family. She raised us in a household of love, peace, structure, and comfort. Never did I ever doubt her love for us or her ability to be both a fierce protector and nurturer.
My mother gives of her time, energy, and love with everything she has – rarely asking for anything in return. She just gets stuff done, and if you don’t do something quick enough, then she’s gonna end up doing it because you took too long. She will do whatever she can to lessen her daughters’ anxiety, stress, or worry sometimes to the point of exhausting herself when she thinks we don’t notice. She rarely asks for help likely because she’s spent so much of her life getting things done herself, without a backup system.
She’s kind, thoughtful, funny, and strict when needed. She braids her granddaughters’ hair, drives her 90+ year-old neighbor to her doctors’ appointments, and makes birthday cakes by scratch. She’d buy extra holiday gifts while teaching so that no child felt left out. She thinks of and puts others before herself, unless it’s a Friday night pre-COVID cause then she’s out shopping at the mall and watching a murder mystery episode.
As much as she is gentle and nurturing, Mama D can be fiercely stubborn. She once unplugged the TV and turned it around because she’d figured out that was why I asked to stay home from school. While she’ll help her grandkids with their fairy gardens, she’ll also hide their semi-smart phones so that they find something else to occupy their time. She will confront her adult children in the face of mental illness concerns and help them face a future path that’s not always easy but worth the journey forward.
I love my mother for all the reasons stated above, but mainly for her unflinching strength in the midst of grief. She’s mourned the passing of her beloved parents (her father when she was but 16) and placed her daughter’s ashes in the same cemetery plot where her mother rests. Others may have crumbled from life’s struggles, but not Mommy Marcia/Marsha. She kept moving forward with her arms open and her heart fierce.