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Remembering a wonderful mom
bressler color

    It's too bad that Mother's Day only comes once a year insofar as the holidays are concerned. I have a suggestion, but I'll save it for a bit later.
    My mom passed away a little over a dozen years ago at the wonderful age of 94. I know I have used the phrase, "passed away," but please don't think it was flippant or casual. I remember when I was studying for my doctorate and was told never to speak such words. "Passed away or passed over or some other out-of-date sayings don't help at all. Just say that the person has died. It has closure, finality and is the best way to help the survivors accept reality so they can move on."
    Mom is the one who taught me what I believe happens when we cease to exist in this present life. We don't just die. We move on!
    Let me say that I can use the words "has died" or "has passed" without being hung up on semantics, but there is a difference for Christians. My entire family was at home when my grandfather died. Mom was at his side when he left us. She walked into the living room and told us an amazing story.
    "Dad Brown had been barely alive and just for a moment stopped breathing. I grabbed his hand, he sat up, looked at me and said, 'Mary! It's so    beautiful!' He put his head back on the pillow and left us." Thanks, Mom!
    Growing up with my mom was a hoot! I still remember the time when she was fussing at me for something I had done and was going through a pile of sticks to find one that had just the right flex to inflict a heap of pain on my bottom. I took off like a scared rabbit. Mom or not, I was not going to stand there and get clobbered. I ran full speed, turned the corner of the block and looked back to see Mom gaining on me. No way! Stick in hand, she caught up with me and said, "You made a big mistake, buster!" Stride for stride, we ran down the next alley and she smacked my behind all the way home. She wasn't even breathing hard. How was I to know that she was on the school track team and won ribbons in the 100-yard dash!
    There was the time when, for some reason, we couldn't afford a Christmas tree. We all went to bed very sad. Sometime during the night, I woke up to hear mom crying and dad saying, "Come on, Mary. Get to bed. You need to get some sleep."
    All I can remember is that when I got up next morning, there was a tree! Years later, I was told that mom went from house to house borrowing some lights and whatever she could find so we'd all have a real Christmas at our home. We didn't have much in those days, but we had all we needed, thanks to mom.
    There was a war on in Europe, but most of us kids didn't pay much attention to the news and figured it wasn't our problem anyway. A neighbor knocked on our door and said that we'd best turn on our radio. The president of the United States was speaking, "My fellow Americans. Today is a day that will live in infamy! Today, December 7, 1941, the Japanese have just bombed Pearl Harbor! We have declared war on our enemies!"
    At 5 years of age, I had no idea what had happened.
    Shortly after that devastating report by President Roosevelt, my world changed. My father, my uncles and my neighbors were called into active duty. All I remember is that they left on trains and we were left to take care of ourselves. During the next 3 1/2 years, mom was in charge. We moved in with our grandparents and mom went to work selling shoes. She was up at the crack of dawn, made sure that Shirley and I were fed, dressed and sent off to school. She got home around supper time, made sure that our homework was done, everyone got a bath and she always read us bedtime stories.
    On Saturdays, she would take us to the stores to stock up our week's supply of food. Shirley and I would be in charge of the ration stamps. They were in books and each book of stamps was a different color: red for meat, yellow (I think) for butter, eggs and milk, and I believe there were ration stamps for gasoline.
    I think that the most terrible times for mom was when she would see a man deliver a telegram to a neighbor. Shortly after that, someone in the military would knock on the door. We knew that some soldier or sailor had been killed in action. The ladies on the block all got together and took some food and visited that house. I try to forget those days.
    But I will never forget my Mom! She brought us all through the best and worst of times and never allowed us to take anything for granted. She taught us to be grateful for what we had, accept what had been given to us and to give each day of life 100 percent!
    Thanks, Mom!
    Oh, my suggestion. Every time we have a memory of our mom, write it down in a diary. Every Mother's Day, read that book so we'll never forget.
    And every day, thank God for our moms. Thanks, God!

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