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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Dusty Memories, Mother's Day 2020


In photos of dusty albums
A well-dressed child
Unruly hair
somehow gathered in a short curled-upped pony tail
A smile, always a smile
On her baby girl, me ...
Gathering flowers from the jungle where they lived
Chasing after a dog, a bird, maybe a monkey
Who knows?
Where is Mother?
Behind the camera? 
An old wind-up of sorts ...
Black and white photographs
Forever sketched, forever remembered
She makes sure her child is in perfect pose
Natural, never forced.
Happy, always happy.
A reflection of her

I hear her laughter
Her giggles
The sound of her bare feet on fallen leaves
As she runs through the maze of coconut trees
Chasing after the child she calls her Busy Bee.

Mother is beautiful, full of energy
Fearless ...
Strong ...
Brave ...
Meek ...
And Wise ...
She takes care of her household
Clothes are handmade
Food is abundant, 
though they say we are poor
Water is fresh, drawn from a well
And the fruit from the garden
Is shared with family and friends

Mother never complains
Though it is always hot
She says "but we have an ocean,"
Though there are no roads
She says, "but we have transportation."
Though the jungle is fierce
She has made it a home.

My mother is old now, she needs my help. And I'm honored to give it to her. She no longer cooks, but she cleans here and there. Her eyes are failing, and her glasses, sitting precariously  on top of her twitchy nose, is no help at all. But she wears them nonetheless. Her cataract surgery was suddenly deemed nonessential in this age of COVID 19, so that was placed on hold. Good thing she's patient. 

Sadly, her hearing is diminishing. Of course, she says we've just stopped talking clearly. "Pronounce your words," she reminds us. It irritates me somewhat until I realize she's grateful when I take her to her doctor for hearing tests, eye check ups and all that other stuff doctors are needed for. 

Sitting around and doing nothing is not her thing, but the heat of the day has taken away her  strength to work in her beloved garden. She leaves that up to me now. Not a wise thing,  I suppose, but I'm learning. I garden by the seat of my pants, so to speak. Toss a seed in the ground and hope it grows. 

Mom could have been wealthy but WW2 took away material things; Five houses, acres of land confiscated; three years a POW, no schooling till later when she was able to attend clothing designer school (yes, in the jungle), and then, when her mom witnessed a murder (as it was told to me), she and her family made a quick escape to New Guinea. They had nothing. 

She worked hard, built a house with her bare hands, raised her family in New Guinea, then Holland, Australia, and finally in the USA. 

She's tired now, she says, her legs hurt, her hands suffer with arthritis, but if the Lord allows it she has one more move to a new earthly-forever home, something we're trying to make happen for her. Our house of fourteen years has been a burden, we need to let it go. 

And then finally one day soon she'll go to that heavenly shore. Wait ... Pause. She's not quite ready for that. She says she still has purpose here, God's work is never done.

She's wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, teacher, part-time caregiver of her ailing husband, and most important a strong and faithful witness of her Lord Jesus Christ. At 82, and after two strokes, she's still comforting her neighbors and bringing God's Word whenever she has the chance. And, by the way, we're not ready to let her go. She knows that. Oh yes, she knows that. 

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  1. What a sweet way to honor your Mom along with the two+ years of caregiving you have faithfully provided her.

  2. Touching tribute. It is hard seeing our parents decline, but an honor to be there for them through it all