Friday, March 29, 2013

Who She Would Be

My mother was the inspiration for many of my parenting columns. When she passed away in March and I attempted to honor her life in a eulogy, all my words ran screaming out the back door (without closing it, by the way, and not caring at all that we were heating the entire neighborhood!)

But when I stopped to listen, I could hear her voice, guiding me like she always had. 

Who She Would Be

When Jacquelen Kathryn Hesson was born on October 3, 1940, the autumn leaves on the sidewalk outside her Baltimore hospital window … danced.

They twirled and spun and rose up the swirling fall breezes,
trying to “sneak-a-peek” at the pink-faced new life inside.

They rustled their dry crimson skirts in gentle whispers and curiously wondered,
Who would she be?”

Tucked in the arms of a young mother, etched forever in the heart of a brave soldier, and secure in the solid embrace of an honored stepfather,

She would be Loved.

Clasped in the small grasp of her big sister’s hand,

She would be Treasured.

With long, graceful fingers that skated across silky keyboards … expertly coaxing from clunky organ pipes the joyous strains of prayer and praise,

She would be Gifted.

Standing at the altar, poised in white and a wide, brilliant smile,

She would be Beautiful.

One, two, three, four, five, SIX times, she would thank God with all her heart for granting her her most fervent wish of all,

She would be … Mom.

Don’t fight with your brother, say grace before dinner, it’s never THAT bad.
Stop kicking your brother, ask for help, clean your room, wash your face, talk to God like He’s your friend. The best ice cream is any ice cream,
And STOP yelling, punching, kicking, biting, and fighting. with. your. brother.

She would be a Teacher.

Mass every Sunday, A Eucharistic Minister in this very church, Never raising her voice, and always, always kind to everyone,

She would be an Example.

Leaving her home to take final care of both her parents, constantly providing them comfort, support and love, and holding their hands at the very end,

She would be Selfless.
And she would be Grateful.

Basking in the smiles and achievements of her 8 grandchildren … In their own words,
She … would Rock!

Surrounded by her children as they crowded into tiny hospital rooms, slept on cots beside her bed, left their homes to take care of her, and sheltered and comforted her in her final care.

Waiting patiently for her son, while he hurriedly drove for hours to get to her … so he could hold her hand at the very end.

She would be Cherished.
And WE would be Grateful.

When Jacquelen Kathryn Hesson Arrage departed on March 6, 2013, the frigid winter winds howling outside her window were chased away by impatient, spring breezes that playfully tumbled against the frosted glass and whispered curiously, “Who was she?”

And in that exact moment,
She was Home.
And she was Loved.