A Mother's Legacy
This Monday January 12th will be the first anniversary of my mothers passing. Being my 200th post I wanted to dedicate it to her. She was the reason I started this blog. It has been therapeutic for me to write about the grieving process with everyone and your support has helped me to heal. I have been thinking about what her legacy is to me and my family. In what light would I view her life to have been and what influence did it have in shaping who I am. My mother was born on St. Joseph’s day, thus her name Josephine. I was told she was a very happy, bubbly baby and would make her mother laugh and laugh. Her mother stopped laughing when she was two years old. She died from stomach cancer. Her older siblings took care of her, but she always missed her mother she told me. She graduated 2nd in her class, had an IQ of genius. She grew into a beautiful woman who was also a ballerina. My mother married my father at the young age of 20. Being a Catholic woman in those days meant for the most part that you stayed home and began a family. By the time she was 25 she had 4 children. The first three all a year apart. When the 4th child arrived, she had a nervous breakdown. I know I would have. All that work without much of a support system around her. I think she may have had a case of post partum psychosis or manic depression, those diseases can have psychotic episodes, I guess I will really never know for sure. She was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As we grew up she endured many years of shock therapy and did the Thorazine shuffle as I call it. Heavily medicated. One time she attempted to take her own life because she could not stand what was going on with her. She did not want to be sick, who would. The grace of God saved her and she continued on this path of illness until 1989. My brother Jim had taken my mother to Pembroke Hospital and she received a new treatment. They just put her on Lithium. When she came home we saw a new person emerging. It was like watching someone come out of a state of darkness and back into the light. She never went back into a Mental Institution again. She became much more functional than before, we would go out to lunch, we would go shopping together. She would take care of herself like never before. She enjoyed her 10 grandchildren. Living on a disability income she still bought them all a gift at Christmas. The last 19 years with her were the best years of our lives together. So to get back to her legacy, I can see it clearly now. She was the greatest teacher I have ever had in my life. She taught me to be brave and endure what life hands you. Acceptance of others who are different from the norm and love them all the same. Today I work with the disabled. I learned forgiveness for not having the perfect childhood and realized she was really the victim not me as I often felt that way because she was not June Cleaver. She thought me compassion as she shared a story with me once. While in the Mental Institution suffering herself, she told me of a day where she saw another women screaming and suffering. She went to her room and said a prayer for her. That touched me in more ways than I can say. Even in the end of her days in the nursing home she demonstrated dignity to me. When they would come around and put bibs on them to eat, she asked me to buy her an apron. When I did you would have thought I bought her gold. I will never forget how happy she was to get such a simple item. I guess she also put gratitude in a whole new light for me. She also had a great sense of humor, I enjoyed many a laugh with her. So having thought about my mother’s legacy it is truly a beautiful one, one of Mother that taught me more than she will ever know. She has also left us with a big and beautiful family, 6 children, 10 grandchildren and one great granddaughter and her spirit lives on in all of us. My brother Jim gave me the song I put on the video. He really was the best son a Mom could ask for. He took care of her everyday. He always finds songs that we all can relate to our Mom. Thanks Jim for everything :) It is Sadie by James Taylor. I hope it plays well for you. If any parts pause or skip. I found playing it once and then rewinding it helps.
Thank you for visiting my blog and reading this special post.