18 Jul Son Speaks of the Mother He Lost – So Well Spoken
Extracted from Congressman Mark Sanford’s weekly email posts:
Remembering My Mother: Steve Jobs was eloquent in his Stanford graduation address for many things…but one of his most poignant points was on the way that death gave meaning, urgency, and such great value to life. In part, the blessing of life was to be indeed treasured because life in this world was limited and finite.
And while we may know this intellectually, sometimes life’s many chapters are hard to accept at a heart level.
Such is the case for me this morning.
My mom died at about 6 am.
She was at the farm, surrounded by family. She was 93 and an incredible lady.
I speak often of my dad and his influence in my life, less so of my mom…but on this occasion let me say the obvious…she had no less hand in blessing and guiding my life. She was the steady and constantly nurturing and supportive force in the family, and I know I join each of my siblings in awareness and thanks for what that meant.
She was radiant in her joy for life and warmth for others.
Among her many accomplishments – Fulbright scholar and more – by far her proudest accomplishment was her family. She lived for it and showed us the way on what joy in real love and sacrifice really looked like.
It’s frightening to think of the number of meals cooked, sheets washed, corners cleaned, diapers changed, bedtime prayers made, Boy Scout, cross country, football, soccer and track meets attended, school functions….times one thousand other things that went into building the lives of me and my three siblings, her 12 grandchildren, her many friends…or any of the 1,000 people we all brought back with us to the farm over the years!
In short, her efforts, her love and zest for life, her warmth, her smile, and much more will sorely be missed by all who were blessed to know her.
So, as I too frequently do, let me leave you with a thought…well actually in this case two.
One, if yours are still with you…hug your parent today. Express how much they mean to you. Though I am fiercely independent and a conservative, I don’t buy into the fiction of the self-made man. Every one of us gets a critical hand at multiple points in life, by a loved one, a good friend…or even a chance acquaintance. To say the obvious, the greatest of hand ups and sacrifices made for most of us are by our parents. Look for a way to say thank you. On a day like today, I am thinking on how I could have said this more often and more clearly.
Two, hug your siblings. There can be all sorts of dynamics here, some good…some not so much so, but bottom line is that they are the longest riders in sharing this journey called life. No one will know you longer. My siblings and I had a powerful conversation this morning about mom and life and more, and the obvious hit me in how much they mean to me.
My sister has been especially strong in helping mom through life’s last chapter. If you see Sarah, pat her on the back…she has been remarkable in the way she has lived sacrifice, care, and love to mom.
My sister also made me cry last night when she told me she had whispered to mom that there was an incredibly handsome young surgeon waiting to greet her at the gates of heaven. Indeed my dad was, and long has he been waiting.
We will all be there soon. Godspeed to mom until we meet again. Godspeed to each of you on this day….