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Outdoor Life: Theres a hole in my heart today
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It is a day we all dread.  The death of a mother is the kind of event that shatters the very bedrock on which our lives are based.
    Our mother’s give us birth, love us through the good and bad times, discipline us when necessary, teach us right from wrong and instill in our thinking a million other things that help us make our way through life.
    Mama played a central role in many of the stories I’ve written for you over the last few years probably because she has always been at the epicenter of my own life. She was special in so many ways to our family, church, and community that I do not have enough space here to tell you about all of them. Suffice to say that she influenced the lives of countless people and she did it by example. She was never one to seek the big stage choosing to show rather than to tell what it meant to raise a family with traditional values and live a Christian life.
    We lost Mama New Year’s Eve and I’m sure that her saintly soul went straight to heaven — to a place she had dreamed of for many years. To say she was special is a vast understatement but of course mother’s everywhere are precious. I suppose that I’m prejudiced when I say that my Mama was extra-special but there is a reason for my line of thinking.
    Back in 1992 my mother volunteered to go under the surgeon’s knife not to improve her own health but to save mine.  I was in the throes of kidney disease and on dialysis three times a week.  My life was in disarray. I could not be the kind of husband to my wife, father to my children or provider for our family that I wanted and needed to be. So my mother took over and saved me from the awful fate of being half a man.  She underwent a painful surgical procedure and gave me one of her own kidneys so I could live a normal existence.
    As you might imagine it was a turning point in my life. My health was restored but more importantly I gained a fresh perspective on just how much our children mean to us and the lengths we will go to protect them.
    Of course we all love our children and our parents dearly. However we probably never truly appreciated our parents until we had kids of our own. It is difficult to explain to someone the challenges of raising youngsters in such a way that they grow up to not only become productive citizens, but more importantly to just become a good person who takes care of their responsibilities.
    So for me Mama was an icon. She brought me into this world, loved me and protected me through the formative years and then saved my life thirty seven years after she had given me life. It was the ultimate act of unselfish parental love.
    I suppose I’ve said all these things today in order to get around to my point. If your mother is still living you need to shower her with hugs and kisses, spoil her every chance you get, visit her at every opportunity and treasure every moment you have with her. Don’t wait until her birthday or Mother’s Day to do something special for her. I want to do all those things for Mama today but she is gone and there is a hole in my heart that will never go away.
    Perhaps the best present we can give to our mothers is to live our lives in a way that will make them proud. I’m going to try to do exactly that and then hope she looks down on me with a smile and an approving nod.

    Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at