By the time my mother had me she was tired and feeling worn out by a hard life and had turned to drinking to try to block out the pain of it. When we were alone was the best times of my childhood though since these were the times she would pass on her wisdom to me.
Once when we were watching tv together it showed a scene of a mother and daughter who had a nice house, both were happy and well fed and were walking toward a beautiful lake view. My mom smiled at it and looked at me and said to look at that. She said that even though our life was hard that in our hearts that this was us and how she wanted it for us. While she could not give me that beautiful house by the lake that idea is in my heart forever. Knowing her love was that great was enough for me even though we lived much differently then that beautiful idea.
She had always taught me that there is a difference between the things that happen to you and who you are. When you are a woman or child you do not have much control over your life or what happens in it. She always said not to let those things become who you are. That idea has sustained me and gave me strength though many hard times in my life.
Many people who met my mother saw a worn out woman who drank too much but I always saw her as the strong beautiful woman of her dreams. Much happened in her life and her whole world was tossed upside down when her village was captured by the Japanese and they were taken over there for a while. That was not the start of it but it was a major turning point where she suddenly found her life out of her control and never quite able to bring it back to what she wanted. In her heart though she kept that fire of her dreams alive and passed it on to me.
She named my daughters for me and died soon after my youngest was born. My youngest turns 16 this summer. It was having the 4 girls in 3 years (the middle 2 are twins) that made me so tired and not realize how my marriage had changed. At first I believed it was just temporary but eventual realized that my marriage was truly bad and decided to get out. I knew that my family would not provide any sort of support and I would need to do it alone and that scared me at first. I knew I would end up with nothing but my daughters and it would be hard.
We did end up losing everything. We are just beginning to "bounce back" and it was worth all the hard times we went through. I remember one point during this time that really hurt. One of my sisters had written me a letter and said many things but what hurt most was where she talked about my mom. She said that if my mother had been alive that she would have died of shame at me and my daughters ending up in a homeless shelter as we tried to get free.
It made me realize how special those times I shared with my mother truly were. It was my mother who gave me that strength I needed to get through those dark times. I know in my heart that if she had been alive during that time she would not have said I looked like a disgusting homeless person but would have said 'You go, girl!" It was my mother who gave me the strength and courage to do what I knew needed to be done.
Those few moments of sharing with my mother helped me change my world for the better and what I try to do with my own daughters. I honor my mother's memory today by saying that even if your own mother never got a chance to tell you this herself, she meant it in her heart. You are truly special.