There was a time in my life when I thought she was mousy, hopelessly behind the times, irredeemably out of style.
Now I know she is impossibly brave, incredibly beautiful, a survivor with amazing courage.
Mom is 87, and undergoing one of the most difficult transitions of her life: She’s moving from the house she’s lived in for 50 years, moving away from memories and trinkets and the stuff that has surrounded her like a comforter all these years. Moving away, to a retirement home.
It was hard when my dad died five years ago. Hard to live without the man she’d married when she was 18, when she was just a young girl, and he was off to war, and they’d lived through a Depression already, and the future was not at all secure.
But there was love.
“My darling” he would call her, in letters to home. And she lived with his parents, and worked, and waited for Hitler, then Japan, to fall so he could come back.
And then there were kids: My sister, then me, then 10 years later, another girl. “I’ve learned you can never have too many daughters,” one aunt wrote to them. And that was a good thing.
It isn’t easy to leave a home, especially for the unknown, for the inevitable decline, the one she’d seen her mother go through. It isn’t easy, but neither was Depression, or war, or building a life and raising a family. She has survived those, survived with courage and humor and a profound selflessness. I suspect she will this one, too.
Because there is love. Love from me, my sisters, her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. And most of all Love from God, the God who numbers the hairs on our heads, and knows our days.
It’s going to be ok, Mom.