A Dozen Years – 52 Ancestors #195

It was a dozen years ago on a rainy spring day that Mom left this earthly realm.

I thought the rain would never stop.

I like to remember her as a young, hopeful, inspired soul, before she was burdened with the concerns and grief of adulthood that awaited her further down life’s road.

She was beautiful then, and in myriad ways throughout her life.

More beautiful in maturity than in youth, with silver hair, a chipped tooth and laugh lines.

All celebrating chapters in her journey.

Souvenirs collected along life’s path.

That’s the woman I knew best.

The soft countenance that comes to mind.

Her spirit left her body and flew through the mists of time, leaving us to mourn her passing, but knowing it was time for her to depart.

I told her in those last hours and minutes, as she struggled to both live and die, that she could go now, that we would all be fine.

I lied, in essence, to free her from the bonds that held her here in her broken body – her brain ravaged, destroyed by strokes.

Blind. Unable to talk, move or eat. Dying by inches. Dehydrating and starving to death. It was time…

The final breath of death was merciful.

One is never “fine” when their parent passes.

Yet, I told her to go, because my love for her was far greater than my pain.

And I know that her love for me transcends time, space and death.

I know she watches over me. I just hope not too closely and not too often.

My choices would not be hers.

I chuckle at the thought.

Assuredly, I would earn a finger-wagging lecture from time to time.

Perhaps daily.

I smile though tears as I compare my brash directness with her consummate lady persona.

Perhaps two sides of the same coin. Genes expressed differently.

She was a tower of strength, forged by life’s misfortunes, her warrior’s sword hidden away until she needed to reveal it just long enough to slay the dragon at hand.

Then sheathed and concealed beneath her smiling Avon-Lady deacon-of-the-Baptist-church veneer, until she needed it again.

She would love you to death.

She would also, without hesitation, slice, dice and rice you if that’s what you deserved.

You never knew what hit you – or what happened to that nice little old lady.

Or, if a fool made the regrettable mistake of crossing someone she loved.

God help them.

Get. Out. The. Way.

We called it “whup-ass” on the farm, a term distinctly not lady-like, according to Mom.

Dad just smiled.

He knew.

I doubt Mom understood the empowering strength of the example she spent her life setting.

Or, how, like the best inheritance, it would be passed on for generations.

I see her in my children.

In the wonderful adults they’ve become.

Standing up, always, for right, no matter how untimely or inconvenient the burden.

I see her in their faces.

The unruly curl of the front lock of my, and my daughter’s hair.

I see her in my grandchildren.

I catch a glimpse of her as they enter the stage in their dance recitals or drama club plays.

Or, as Elsa, as they perform pirouettes in joyful springtime glee outside in the sunshine.

That’s her spirit, and she is there.

I hear her in their voices.

In their laughter.

See her in their smiles.

They are beautiful, talented and smart – oh so smart.

The promise of the future.

She would be proud.

The woman they will never know, but whose lifeblood runs renewed in their veins.

Their roots.

Nourishing them, just as she did me, a generation earlier.

They – they are her legacy.

I miss her this Memorial Day.

I will always miss her.

Honor her.

Thank her.

And love her.

That beautiful, hopeful, young woman so full of life, destined to become my mother.



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36 thoughts on “A Dozen Years – 52 Ancestors #195

  1. Roberta, I can tell by what you wrote about your Mom how much you loved her and still love her to this very day. I can certainly relate. I lost my best friend what will be 2 years this Sept 18th. Sometimes it still feels like yesterday. I can still remember the phone call and the disbelief I felt and also the intense pain of knowing that I could no longer visit her here on this earthly planet. I think about her everyday. I got involved in genealogy because of my Mom and was able to share alot with her about her Hungarian heritage and ancestors. I’ve learned more now and have even found distant cousins living in Hungary that we didn’t know about because of DNA testing and having my family tree listed on ancestry and myheritage. Her and I used to talk about our dreams of visiting Hungary and the village that her grandparents were from but that won’t happen now. I hope one day to visit and take some of her ashes with me to leave there if they will allow it. That way not only is she making the trip with me but part of her will be there in the homeland of her cherised and much loved grandparents that sacrificed so much to make their way through Ellis Island to live in the USA.

  2. Your choices would not be hers, but I assure you she would be very proud of her daughter. Beautifully written and expressed.

  3. This is the best thing you ever wrote other than the story about your son…and the other story about your mom’s life. Lovely 😊

  4. June 5th will arrive soon, 13 years from that sun filled morning when she left me. The woman who traveled home from the south on a troop train filled with soldiers. She was coming home with a baby and everthing she owned. She stepped out into the cold New England air with no-one to meet her and no
    vision for our lives from that day forward. I am told that he was a soldier and not much more.
    I began my search after that day in June and continue to this day forever honoring the woman who bravely gave me life and put aside her own.

  5. They are just such beautiful words you inspire us all We all are amazed at your expressions of love and your willingness to share. God Bless

  6. Thank you Roberta for sharing such beautiful photos and stories. I can see the beauty in both your mom, and in you, in your words. And she has a beautiful daughter and granddaughters, too! I am lucky to still have my mother at, almost, 97.
    Georgeann Johnson

  7. Wonderful sharing ❤️
    I also see the relations from my parents in my grandchildren. Thank you.
    Ralf 🇸🇪

  8. June 4th my mother will be gone 16 years and I still miss her very much. I remember all the times my sisters and I would spend with her as she would tell us stories of her life, but only the good times. How I wish I had listened more and asked more questions. She told be about her mother and through genealogy I can find where and how her grandmother , great grandmother and great great grandmother lived. I know who their children were and how they lived and died. Genealogy has given me a whole new family.

  9. I continue to be amazed every time I read you Roberta. The simplicity and clarity of every phrase, so much in few words, color, time, emotion.
    Thank you

  10. A beautiful tribute. Brought a tear and memories of my own mom. Thanks Roberta. I have no doubt she is proud of you and beaming with pride for her grandchildren and great grands. Thanks again for sharing.

  11. So very beautiful. Tears for me and memories of my mother and grandmothers long gone.
    Thank you, Roberta.

  12. Eventually we let go of grief, as we all need to. We all will and must let go of life, eventually and inevitably, but never of memory.

    As you beautifully expressed and illustrated in your memorial, those who survived her (I dislike that particular term, but it is the usual applicable one) now remain like ripples still active in a pool, with each generation that follows. In some way, she still lives on through you and through younger generations – both genetically, influentially and spiritually, through who she was.

    That’s life. That’s genealogy. That’s remembrance. All inextricably intertwined. 😉

  13. Most beautiful tribute I have ever read. I will print it & save to read many more times.
    Thank you

  14. Your Mom and my Mom were much alike. Thank you for your writing and this online communication. I’m recovering from problems with cataract surgery and didn’t get to the cemeteries yesterday, an old family tradition carried on by the women in the family since the beginning of time. Reading your post has helped me remember and honor her in a different way…

  15. You completely touched my heart today. My own mother died ten years ago this month. She was 66 when she died. I am filled with gratitude that there are grandchildren to carry on her legacy, and although most are too young to have known her, a couple did have the chance. Thanks to your words, I will be watching with fresh eyes for all the ways they remind me of her. Thank you.

  16. I must admit this brought up a few tears. My mom left this world over 20 years ago and I miss her every day. She was just 72 (by ten days). We thought we’d have her longer as we lost our dad at age 44. Not fair but that’s life, isn’t it? I am the eldest of five. I have 2 nieces that were born after she died and one of them was given her name. I’m surprised mom hasn’t haunted my sister as mom really disliked her first name. The niece with mom’s name is built like my mom was as a girl. Thin with long legs. So that’s how I can see my mom living on. She would have been so happy to have known these lovely young women. When you lose your mom you lose the last person who loved you unconditionally. I’m grateful for such a wonderful mom. Thanks for sharing your beautiful mom with me.

  17. At LAX, returning from SoCalJambaree …catching up on my reading…didn’t take the writer’s workshops…didn’t need to…you are the “teacher” with many talents. Lovely tribute to your Mother ♡

    On Sat, May 26, 2018, 4:22 PM DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy wrote:

    > Roberta Estes posted: ” It was a dozen years ago on a rainy spring day > that Mom left this earthly realm. I thought the rain would never stop. I > like to remember her as a young, hopeful, inspired soul, before she was > burdened with the concerns and grief of adulthood tha” >

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