Thursday, December 09, 2010

This Woman I Know

She was born in 1920 into rural, eastern Pennsylvania poverty. A bit of farming and some occasional work in the steel mills was the only income for the family. Her mother was, at best, inconsistent – moving from one man to the next. As an adolescent she chose to live with her grandparents and her two younger sisters chose to stay with their mother. Separation.
The teenage years are cloudy. She married a guy when she was 18 and they had a child soon after, followed by 2 more kids within 3 years. She was 21, had 3 children and her husband was starting to drink.
This woman faced the facts and did whatever was necessary to keep her children fed, clothed, schooled and churched. She made sandwiches every morning to sell down at the mill – 5 cents. She made sandwiches everyday to send to school for her children’s lunches. She had dinner waiting when they all came home. Not sure what they ate.
I also knew her husband and her children. They loved her with love so large that it could not be expressed.
Those kids began to grow up in a home in which the husband to stock of himself and stopped drinking. This sweet woman and her newly sober husband decided to have another child. It happened. He was a big and healthy baby.
Although he no longer drank her husband continued to smoke. This killed him at the age of 48. Now this sweet woman was a widow with a 16 year-old son and she didn’t know how to drive. Holy shit.
She was beautiful, inexperienced and shy and weird guys began to ask her to go out for dinner. This made her most uncomfortable. Within a year she stopped it all. She was going to be a widow.
She quickly learned to drive and began living a remarkably independent and productive life. She lived alone in a nice apartment. She traveled. She blossomed. She visited her children, grandchildren and, soon enough, her great-grandchildren.
And then This Woman I Knew grew old. She began forgetting things like how to make an egg or brew coffee. She needed help to go to the bathroom. Her legs could no longer support her. She lived her life in a wheel chair.
This Woman I Knew made me read the Bible and pressed my shirts and pants everyday. This Woman I Knew is missing – missing in our culture.

Goodnight Mom – Oh My How I Love You!


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