Last week I lost my Mother. She wasn’t my biological Mother but she was my Mother in every other way. She was actually my mother-in-law. At the age of 16, when I met and married my first husband, I gained the family I had never had. They took me in as if I was their own and loved me fully and without reservation. Part of losing your Mother is also to remember her love and that is what I’m writing about.
Mae (my Mother) was an amazing combination of wit, love, and strength. My biological mother never really knew how to fill that job. She loved me in her own way, but it was a painful experience. I love and honor her as my mother but, Mae was the one who truly knew what a Mother is and taught me. I know what it feels like to be adopted into an amazing family and, even after my first husband passed, I remained a part of the family, for which I am tremendously grateful.
Losing Your Mother
At the age of 95, Mae went to be with Jesus. So, I want to remember her love and honor her. Her strength started in her childhood when she contracted polio, lived through it and overcame the damage it had done to her body, leaving her with one leg shorter than other. In her twenties, she had breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy.She had pain throughout her life yet seldom complained. She raised 4 of her own children and then me. She had heart problems and her health wasn’t always the best, yet, she loved and lived fully.
Remembering Your Mother
As you see, my husband and I were very young when we married and Mae, with her husband, Del, (my second Father), supported us in our decision. We got married in Dothan, Alabama because my husband, Don, had enlisted in the Army and gone there for basic training. While he was still in boot camp, I traveled with Del and Mae to Louisiana for his graduation and then to Missouri to meet the family! It was quite the experience. Then, six months after we met, I traveled to Alabama where we were married. Don got orders to go to Korea and I could not accompany him, so two months later, I was home again and living with my biological Father who was a wonderful man and Father.
I got pregnant the first month of our marriage and ended up moving in with Mae and Del until Don came home a year later. In that time, I gave birth to our first son at the ripe old age of 17! I knew nothing about child-rearing. I didn’t know how to write a check or how to drive or cook. Patiently and lovingly, Mae taught me how to cook, clean, write a check, and what to do with a baby! We got along so well and I loved both of them deeply.
Don’s siblings also loved me and, as I said, I suddenly had the family I had always wanted. I am an only child so the whole experience was overwhelming at first. I didn’t know how to be teased and this family did a lot of it! I learned how to accept love and tease back.
After Don got home, we went to Colorado, then Texas, and back home as he was sent to Viet Nam for a year. Again, I lived with Mae and Del until I get my own place a few months later. But, I only moved about 5 houses away from them.
What A Mother Means
She and I were very close and her love for me was healing. She never pushed or prodded me. Instead, she simply lived her life and set an example for me. I had a great deal of hurt and bitterness and through all the years, she simply loved me out of all of it. For me, Mae represents what a Mother means and what a Mother is.
I also know that losing a mother is very hard. On the day of her funeral, I sat and thought about all the wonderful times we had together. She was not perfect but – she was really close! She and I could laugh and have fun together and we faced some hard trials together as well. When I met her, she filled an empty spot in my life. When she passed, the empty spot is gone but love and beautiful memories fill it up.
She was funny and made friends with everyone. She teased and was sarcastic but never in a mean or hurtful way. It was always funny and loving. That may sound impossible, but, for her, it was true! Her family was the center of her life and she wanted them with her as much as possible. Her favorite activity was to have everyone over to their tiny little house and cook enough food to feed us for two weeks. Nothing went to waste because she insisted on sending food home with everyone.
“She watches over the ways of her household and meets every need they have. Her sons and daughters arise in one accord to extol her virtues, and her husband arises to speak of her in glowing terms.” Proverbs 31:27-28 TPT
It wasn’t just family at their home. All the neighbors came as well. It was common to walk out the back door and see a couple of neighbors outside drinking tea, talking, and waiting for more people to show up. And, they did! Mae would then proceed to feed everyone. Even if she was worn out, she would still feed whoever came. Her spine and leg caused her great pain but it never stopped her. She and Del had a natural gift of hospitality. They knew how to make you feel welcome because you truly were.
What a Mother Is
Mae had a temper and she seldom let anyone see her cry. When I first met her, she was taking medication to calm her and, while Don was in Viet Nam, she spent time in the hospital for anxiety and heart problems. Later, in her life, she went off most of the medication except for her heart meds. She never went for long walks because of the pain in her back and legs. Yet, she loved and cared for her family and friends.
She refused to talk about church because of something that had happened to her at a church, yet made sure her kids attended when they were young. Later in her life, she and Del accepted Christ as their Savior. They were in Hope, Arizona for the winter and the chaplain there prayed with them and then let Don and I know. Since Don was a Pastor, he was sure we would be glad to know and we certainly were.
Whatever she lacked in outward spirituality, she more than made up for in sharing genuine love. I think it’s important that our children see our faults and flaws while also seeing us overcome them and live what we say we believe. It’s what a parent is and what a Mother is. While Mae didn’t talk about her faith, she lived it well.
“My son, obey your father’s godly instruction and follow your mother’s life-giving teaching.” Proverbs 6:20 TPT
Losing my Mother has been difficult. At the same time, I am so happy for her because she is with her Savior and all those she loved and missed so much – Del, Don, her family, friends, and Jesus. The flood of memories has brought comfort and smiles because of the joy associated with having her in my life. Remembering your Mother is so important in the healing process. Treasure the memories.
“Yahweh responds, “But how could a loving mother forget her nursing child and not deeply love the one she bore? Even if there is a mother who forgets her child, I could never, no never, forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 TPT
Mae Elizabeth Wright was truly my Mother, friend, and mentor. I also realize, because of my biological mother, that there are many of you who don’t have a true Mother. I’m not alone in my experience with my biological mother. You may have pain and perhaps even rejection. I encourage you to seek healing and peace in Christ. His is the ultimate love and will never hurt or reject you. Also, look for those around you who can help you, perhaps even fill that role in your life by their example. You don’t have to be related by any blood except Jesus’.
So, to Mae, my wonderful Mother – I will always remember your amazing love for me.
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