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I have to let this out...maybe to move others to do likewise

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  • I have to let this out...maybe to move others to do likewise

    I have talked about doing this before...I'll be putting it in an envelope, today, and hoping it gets where it needs to be by Monday:

    For my Mom, December 11th 2009

    I feel as though I can have no peace until I share this story. It may only matter to me, but I have to put it on paper.

    I had difficulty sleeping last night. It was a typical pre-Christmas evening in a home shared by an 11 year-old girl entering a pre-teen angst phase and six year-old boy/girl twins glued to the latest offering from the Disney Channel. It was after dinner and I set about to box and wrap my mother’s Christmas presents. Something wasn’t right. I complained about every chore the wrapping involved. My wife relieved me of wrapping duties, reminding me of both her retail employment history and her love of wrapping presents. I turned my attention towards getting my son into his bath.

    Later, when I finally lay down to try and sleep, I was not able to get a vision out of my head. I was so restless, in and out of sleep, that my wife abandoned any efforts to sleep in the same room with me.

    The vision was as follows…it was in my childhood home. My mother sat at the kitchen table clutching the handset to the telephone attached to the wall, next to the door leading out to our backyard. My mother was speaking with her grandmother, Grandma Hattie, an ancient and gentle soul – I can remember her face, but her voice and words have been lost to me in the last almost 50 years. I was but a child and I watched my mother crying as she said into the phone, “Mom, I feel so bad for you!” As best as I could, I patted my mom’s shoulder hoping I would be able to comfort her.

    I often marvel at some people’s cruelty, asking where they had learned it. Perhaps like many, I believe myself to be both caring and generous, an opinion often bolstered by people who know me fairly well. Asking myself, where does this trait come from? It turns out that I can point, with almost mathematical precision, to my parents generally; and my mother, specifically.

    I was still a small child when my mother took me to the zoo. She had paid our way in. We went to the area where kids could feed the smaller domestic animals. I was struck dumbfounded when my mother told me to stay put, she would return quickly and I was not to worry. She left my side. I watched intently as she approached both an older and a younger Hispanic male. The older male was holding out a dollar bill and staring at the machine which dispensed the animal’s snacks. I watched intently as my mom seemed to explain the process of working the machine. I was too far away to hear any words she spoke, above the noise of children excited at the presence of the animals, but I knew and believed in my child’s heart, my mother was going out of her way to help a stranger.

    I never asked what she had done, or why she had done it. She, almost 50 years later, may not even recall the incident. But I do.

    There were other lessons she delivered, perhaps, unintentionally. The loading of bags of used clothing and goods for charity drives. The coins or folding money placed into Goodwill kettles at Christmastime (I still can’t pass one by without placing something in there). Cans of food for food drives.

    But there was a lesson shared which was delivered with firm resolve. We were sharing a week camping at a beach with another family. One of the other family’s teen girls described herself as being, “as tanned as a n----- baby.” My mother lost her easy-going demeanor. She informed the girl, in the presence of her mother, who had not reacted in any way to the uttering of the n-word; that the word was not to be used in her presence.

    She went on to explain the relationship she had had with her caretaker, when she herself was a child. She spoke of the excitement of going to the movie theatre with her caretaker and having to sit in the balcony, which in her small Oklahoma town, was “For Colored Only.” I have always tried to live up to my mother’s example of being fair, in word and deed, to all people regardless of color. She had friends who were lesbian and gay as well. In time, her acceptance of people with different sexual orientation has worked itself into my life.

    My father is another topic for another reflective time – he’s not the focus of this effort. Suffice to say, however, that his death when I was 13 and my mom was about 41 created a shockwave we had to ride out, together, for the following years.

    Now for the final judgment on my mother’s efforts. For me to be happy and content, to have accomplished and achieved the things I have, my mother was perfect. She did the absolute best job she could, with the tools she had, to raise me, rear me, and bring me up into the adult world to take my place. She was my guide, my cheerleader, and perhaps the ghost-writer for my positive job performance appraisals as I made my way through my adult life.

    So now to tie the story’s beginning to its end. Here I sit, in the single digits and high altitudes of Colorado, surrounded by my wife and little children. My mother sits on the southern plains of her hometown in Oklahoma, reconnecting to her roots. Her health is not the best. Parkinson’s disease is her companion. It has been steadily creeping into, and overtaking her life for the last few years. She has had a couple of incidents where she’s needed to be helped from her bed by Paramedics and transported to the hospital when she found herself unable to move her legs.

    Earlier this week, an E/R doctor has told her she’s probably not able to live alone. She would not do well with us, due to both the altitude and physical layout of our home. Thankfully, she has nieces and cousins available to provide assistance and companionship should she need it.

    I am on the phone with my mother every other day or so. The ten hour drive which separates us is one I intend to make soon, with one, two, or three of her (quite possibly complaining) grandchildren in-tow. But my work and their schooling may both conspire to keep our trips limited to few and far between. I am already feeling the guilt that my younger children do not know their grandmother as well as their twenty-something older sibling does. It will be both their loss and his treasure. Perhaps these meager words will educate them, one day, as to where their dad got his good habits from.

    I now think I know the pain my mother experienced in that phone call with her grandmother, my great-grandma, Hattie.

    Mom, I feel so bad for you – but I hope you know that I love you.

    Your son,
    Kieth
    Last edited by Kieth M.; 12-11-2009, 02:26 PM.
    "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

    Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

  • #2
    That is a very touching story. I am sorry that you are going through that. I know that it is not what your really want but what if you tried setting up a webcam the next time you go down. The other family members could help her with it and the phone calls that you make can now be a little more personal.




    World_So_Cold

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    • #3
      Kieth,

      That is one of the most touching & heart-warming Christmas stories I have ever read. And very well written to boot! (I should know!)

      Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

      And please, somewhere around next June, submit it to a major national magazine. (Magazines have to work about 6 months ahead of the normal calendar.)

      I am sure it will find a good home!

      Ruby

      (I almost signed my real name to that! If you need help finding the right magazine, let me know!)
      Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love alone is healed.
      Happiness never decreases by being shared. -- Buddhist quotation
      A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. -- Proverbs 15:1

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      • #4
        Keith,
        Wonderful story, thank you for sharing.

        (and yes she does know you love her)
        "You can't handcuff me, I'm a college graduate!"
        (Smurfette)

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, Kieth. I've thought of relocating many times, but it frequently comes down to this: Can I take my young children away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? So far, the answer has been, "No."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by just joe View Post
            Thanks, Kieth. I've thought of relocating many times, but it frequently comes down to this: Can I take my young children away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? So far, the answer has been, "No."

            Joe, this might be the best thing you've done for them, I did it. I loved my family but they really got to the point of thinking they should have special privileges with me. So I formulated a two year plan and went away, I didn't stop loving them, no matter the miles that were between us, but it made it a whole lot better. Trust me when I say that the visits will still come but rather than every weekend, maybe once a year...........aaaaaaaaahhhhhh

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks Kieth!
              "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


              The real deal

              Outshined Pujulesfan Bearcat Chitowndet Sgt Slaughter jthorpe M-11 Lt Borelli L-1Sgt CHP Nikk Smurf Presence1 IcecoldblueyesKimble LADEP ateamer ChiCity R.A.B. Jenners IrishMetal GoldBadge willowdared Monkeybomb PhilipCal pullicords Chit2001 Garbageman Narco CruiserClass Fuzz 10-42Trooper Tex4720 irishlad2nv bajakirch OnThe gurmpyirishmanNYIlliniSgtScott31 CityCopDCcgh6366 FJDave

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              • #8
                Thanks Keith!
                sigpic

                "Po Po coming through!" all rights reserved DJS



                'Do we really need 'smart bombs' to drop on these dumb bastards?'

                http://www.snipercompany.com/

                M16/AR15/M4 Armorer

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for sharing Kieth, I hope everything works out for you and your mother. I grew up far from my grandparents, but the quality of each trip is how I know them so well.

                  Merry Christmas

                  Seth

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow, Keith. That's a beautiful sentiment, and very well written.

                    God bless you, and your mom.
                    You can now follow me on twitter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Touching indeed.

                      Your mom knows, no matter where you are..that you love her. It's a seventh sense.
                      This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        She does know Kieth...Be safe on your trip...
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sir, I sit here in my patrol unit and left speechless. The most beautifully and well written letter I've read in long time.

                          Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us (very brave and admirable).

                          May God bless you and yours. Have a blessed Christmas.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Have you heard back from mom??
                            This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by deputy x 2 View Post
                              Have you heard back from mom??
                              As is her habit...she didn't say word one about it. She did tell me it arrived and that was that.

                              No wonder I sometimes go through life trying to figure out if I've done the right thing!
                              "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                              Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                              Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

                              Comment

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