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I am glad you chose to visit! My blog is a compilation of the many hats I find myself wearing. On any given day I may be an encourager, an instructor, or just a lady who is venting. You, dear reader, will probably identify with my triumphs and my tribulations! These snapshots fit into my Life Scrapbook I have named A. McInnis Artworks. I hope you will find something worth your while.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

* To Laugh With Mother One More Time


This week marks the third anniversary of my mother's diagnosis of colon cancer. After diagnosis, she lived about two and a half months. The end for her was painful. For us, it was devastating to watch. Each year at this time, I struggle. I dread the anniversary of her death and I have to really watch it or I will descend into gloom and doom.

I don't think she'd mind if I share some funny times we had and I'd like you to know her a little better. If this turns you off, I apologize, but I need to write about it.

My mother was adopted as a several months old baby. (Old enough to pull up on the side of the baby bed.) I posted some of this on FB on Mother's Day, please, bear with me. There were only two babies in the Baptist Children's Village the day my grandparents came to "pick out their baby." The story goes that my mother pulled her self up and smiled at them and that did it!

My grandfather died when Mother was 12 and my grandmother went to work as the bookkeeper at the Coca Cola plant in Sardis, MS for the rest of her life. They didn't have a car, walked everywhere, and were "salt of the earth" people.

Mother was quite the "looker" and married my father when she was only 18. I was always very proud of her, she was young, pretty and funny. She was a "lioness" type mother...very protective of her cubs, but she never covered for us or let us get away with anything. She made us own up to anything we did wrong and because of that I have always had a very active conscience.

She and I "fussed" about things and now I can't even remember what they were about, but I always knew she loved me..no matter what. She instilled in me the notion that mothers love, no matter what. (You don't have to approve of the child's actions, but you don't withdraw love.)

Once when she was so sick near the end of her life, we had to go to chemo. We were told that it would make her last days bearable, so we agreed to try it. If there was any pain whatsoever, "we'd stop it right then" was the promise. Because of her extensive surgery, she had a number of tubes, etc and she sent me out to get her something to wear that would cover her extra hardware. I searched everywhere for something appropriate. Finally I found a long day dress that I thought was the best choice and I brought it home to help her dress for the appointment. She was sitting up, putting on makeup! "Mother, you've been in the hospital for 30 days and in rehab for 3 weeks and you are worried about your makeup?" I could not believe it. She looked at me and said, "I'm going looking the best I possibly can. Let me see what you found for me to wear." I took the dress out of the sack and her eyes got big and she quipped, "If you think I'm going in something that looks like I should be in a third world country, you are mighty wrong!"

Ok, that outfit obviously wasn't going to work. So we put on her gown and her robe and off we went to the Hederman Clinic. I have never done a lot of wheelchair pushing so we knew we were in trouble from the git go. First I accidentally ran into the giant ficus tree at the entrance to the clinic. I heard a "crack" but I didn't look back to see the damage. Then we sideswiped the corner trying to maneuver into the testing room. The worst was when I tried to push the wheelchair into a crowded elevator and had everyone trying to give me instructions as to how to properly handle the chair. Mother's head was down with her hand shading her eyes. I won't go into the handicapped bathroom episode, but let's just say, when we finally got into the car, I could see obvious relief on her face. We went straight to Sonic and had a chocolate sundae. (Our answer to all life's problems.) Even in the bad times we laughed.

Once, long before she got sick, we went to Means Shell station in downtown Brandon and decided to have my car washed. We got gas, paid for the wash and then circled into the car wash and sat while we sudsed, rinsed, waxed, and then for some reason, the cycle began again. Ok, so this is a pretty good wash. Hmmm, now we are beginning the third complete cycle, and then the fourth. After sitting in the car wash with all the wands going full force for well over 20 minutes, I said, "You think it's stuck?" Mother said,"I believe it is. Honk your horn." So I began honking, and honking and honking.. I began to panic. What if we were stuck in here all night and nobody could hear us or worse, cared whether we were being drowned or not.

Finally, a man came out and began motioning. "What does he want us to do?" (The washers had started their "round" again.) Mother said," Wait until the washer goes by me and then let down my window. I'll see what he wants." Just as the washer left her side, I let her window down and all of a sudden the washer reversed itself and blasted a jet of soapy water into the car almost drowning Mother! We were soaked. We laughed until I could hardly sit up. We put the window up, straightened up and regally (wet heads and all) drove out right by that man. The very idea!

Once when a lizard got in her car, she wouldn't get into the car unless she had her pants legs rubberbanded around her ankles in case the lizard ran up her leg. I walked to my car one day after school and a note was flapping under my wiper. It read: "You can ride in my car again. I killed the lizard. It was on the dash and I got out at Burger King parking lot and smashed him with my purse." I had a vision of this lady with her pants rubberbanded around her ankles, frantically smashing a lizard with her purse and everyone staring and wondering, "What the heck?"

She was a great woman with a wonderful sense of humor and I know many of you who read this have lost your own mothers. I know you would join me in saying to all you fortunate ones who still have your moms, love them now and let them know you love them. No matter what has transpired between you, make it right (even if "you didn't do anything wrong.") And if you didn't have the type mom described here, there is some older woman in your life to love right now. Let them know how much they have meant to you. Do it and do it soon.

Thanks for bearing with me through this...love to you all. I will dispense with Lessons Learned. I need to go blow my nose.

17 comments:

Mrs. Jinny Bailey said...

You are an excellent writer, & I can only imagine how this time of year must be for you. Please let me know if you need to talk!

Angela McInnis said...

Thank you, Jinny. It helps to remember good times! Love your mama!

PEGGY JORDAN said...

Oh Angela I have just laughed and cried so hard..could we go to the carwash together soon? I still miss my mom too and its just as raw as the first day she left. I was so glad I was able to tell her I was sorry for anything I had done to make her unhappy. And her reply.....Oh honey you have never given me anythihg but happiness. The best thing about a story teller is the ability to make her audience relate to her experiences and You certainly do do that. And you are just as interesting in person. Peggy

Angela McInnis said...

Peggy, you are so kind.I was fortunate to have been able to be with her as much as I was. I know you feel the same way.

Pat Jones Hitt said...

Thanks, Angela, for such a funny, loving tribute to your mother. I retired in February 2009 and lost my Mom to cancer in April, the day after my birthday. I am so glad I had that brief time to spend with her; I still miss her but recalling the times we laughed together makes it easier. Mom was somewhat shy but at her memorial at Trinity Place in Columbus, she had made so many friends who spoke so lovingly of her. About the lizard story, in our family it belongs to me. I actually called Animal Control and asked if that included reptile control. A Policeman came to my house and killed the giant lizard....it was at least 5 inches long. I could expound, but I won't. Keep your funny stories coming.

Angela McInnis said...

Pat, that is hysterical! I once duct taped a box on top of a lizard in my kitchen, picked up children and left the house until John came home. Aren't we nuts?

Scott Dennis said...

I am proud to say that I'm a Momma's boy. My parents were married 20 years before I was born, and I am an only child. Some would say that is the recipe for a spoiled childhood, but she has always been a good diciplinarian and the nurturer of my conscience. I've known people that didn't have the type of mother that you and I were blessed with, and I truly feel sorry for them. The world would be a much better place if everyone did.

Angela McInnis said...

Amen, Scott! I couldn't have said it better. I know she is proud of you!

monicamedwards said...

For the second time, I'm really wishing I'd known your mother. I'm so sorry that when we worked together I didn't invite myself over to a family gathering. You have again brightened my day.

Greer said...

You just proved what I said about you Mother was so true--"an exuberance of spirit and a zesr for living that was so engaging it just invited you in and filled your own life with sunlight and insight and a quest to have that same quality-to enjoy every minute and savor it." The part of your blog that really pulled at my heartstrings was when your Grandparents saw your Mother for the first time at the orphanage and she pulled herself up and smiled. What a wonderful moment that must have been for them. As you know already-I loved your Mother-and I know that you loved mine as well. We share this month of August as a sad time--I lost my precious Mother a year ago August 7. I dread the day. You and I were so blessed to have had these incredible Mothers and i thank God everyday as I know you do too.

Charlene said...

Again, Angela, just awesome how you have written so poignantly about your mama. As Emily Dickinson once said, no one can take away your "amethyst memories." We are the receivers of your gift of writing, so do not ever apologize. I hope you are keeping all of your blogs because I don't know why a book won't come from your memories and story telling abilities. Angela, even if I did not have the loving kind of bond with my mother that you had with yours, I still so relate because I have such a relationship with my daughter. (My father was the person like your mother.) It is so ironic that my mother gave me such a great gift by never accepting me for me because that is exactly how I learned to be a mother to my own children. I already worry about Rina Lee's losing me because she will have a hard time of it. On the other hand, she has a spiritual side that gives her an inner peace and awareness and acceptance. Thank you for letting me share my feelings too; writing is so cathartic, don't you think! Love you!

Angela McInnis said...

You are all wonderful! What great friends and writers you all are! Everytime you comment, it warms my heart. I sincerely mean that. Yes, it IS cathartic to put your feelings down on paper,reread them and ponder on those thoughts.Every single word you write is savored.

Donna said...

Beautiful, Angela!...Charlene, I can sooo relate to what you said. My lack of relationship with my mother inspired me to TRY to be the best mother I could be, and I am so grateful for the relationship my girls and I have with one another -- sometimes, though, I tell folks they turned out so well IN SPITE of me rather than BECAUSE OF me!! lol.

Angela McInnis said...

I have NO doubt, that you are all great moms!

lauralynne said...

I am so sorry to hear that you lost your mom. I know how much she meant to my sister while she lived in the Pi Phi house at Ole Miss, and I enjoyed going to say "hi" to her myself on the weekends that I would visit.

Angela McInnis said...

Thank you, Lauralynne. She loved those girls. During her illness, they checked on her profile on CaringBridge everyday. That meant so much to her.

very merry vintage style said...

Very sweet story, it's lovely that you honor her here in this way.