Memories of My Mother

An Introduction to My Mom

In the days leading up to Mother’s Day , I have been thinking a lot about my mother’s influence on my life. My mother Sadie Bridgett Roberts was born on April 4, 1916 and died on March ,11, 1994 at the age of 77, due to a massive bacterial infection that ravaged her immune system. My mom was the only parent I had ever really known, my father left us when I was five years old. My mother never  remarried; she raised me  as a single parent. I was her only child.

When she died , I felt orphaned ,even though I was (and still am) married with three children at the time of her death and rebirth into a new existence.  She was my last surviving parent and one of the biggest influences in my life. Who I am today is because of who she was; she taught me the importance of integrity, honor and treating others like you’d want to be treated. She never spoke badly to me about my father; never showed a trace of bitterness. She always told me about my father’s good points. She lived with the drama he created because of his shortcomings; she chose not to  pass it on to me.

Warrior of The Light

My mother was the model of service to others. She started working in retail at The Boston Store, in Utica, New York and eventually worked for Project Head start as a case worker . In addition to working full-time, she obtained  her associates degree from our local community college. When I went to college, she stayed up late with me, helping me study for tests and typing my papers.  In retrospect, I should have had her name inscribed next to mine on my B.A. degree. My mom had a variety of physical challenges, from high blood pressure to two hip replacement surgeries and arthritis. She never once complained and chose to see only the positives in her situation . Also when she was  18, she developed tuberculosis and was not given any hope of survival. However she dealt with the challenges of her illness head on and six years later her tuberculosis went into remission. Any resiliency that I have developed in my life is due to my mother’s influence and the way that she lived . My mom chose happiness and peace, in spite of the challenges that she faced throughout her life. She was truly what Paulo Coelho would call a Warrior of  The Light.

               “behind the mask of ice that people wear, there beats a heart of fire.”

Paulo Coelho,Warrior of the Light

Surviving Death

My mom was a person of unwavering  faith. She  believed  in the afterlife and had a  deep sense of connection to the universe.She  embraced  the readings of Sylvia Browne and Shirley MacLaine, among others. I didn’t subscribe to her  beliefs when I was younger and I, in fact, dismissed all of it. Today, however, I have embraced all of my mother’s spiritual beliefs. The event that was the catalyst for a shift in my perspective was  the death of my 18-year-old daughter Jeannine in 2003. My mom however laid the groundwork ; and I believe that today both her and Jeannine are both guiding me down the path that I am currently walking. In fact, my mother first taught me that we do in fact survive death. About a month after she died, my wife Cheri and I were cleaning out  her apartment. When we came home, I went into our bedroom and I briefly saw my mother as a 24 year old woman ,sitting in a chair and smiling at me.

My Mothers Love

Though I loved my mother more than words can express, I was many times exasperated with her overprotectiveness and anxiety that was seemingly attached to it. I never really understood that until later in my life. I discovered that she worried about  my father trying  to kidnap me .  It seemed that we changed residences a lot when I was younger; there were also times when we got a lot of hangup phone calls. I also remembered a time when I was about six or seven years old and walking down the street with my mother; I turned my head and noticed a stranger snapping a picture of me. Perhaps it was my father trying to keep tabs on me. That one event led  me to conclude that my mothers fears were likely justified. Her actions were driven by her deep unconditional love of me and her fear of losing me, not because of her need to control my every move.

I Am My Mother’s Son

As I approach my 59th birthday and the beginning of my 60th year of life, I am proud of the fact that I am becoming more like my mother everyday. I let my mother’s overprotectiveness and my anger and resentment that was often attached to it, obscure the profound influence  that she had on my life, for a long time after her death .  Today I choose to celebrate my mother’s love for me and the influence of her teachings on my life.