She said to always be affectionate. When it came to kissing, she made me kiss her on the cheek and would keep saying, “Do it softly. Your lips are too hard.” Eventually, I learned to kiss with soft lips.
When it came to the birds and the bees, my mother pulled no punches. Sometimes the things she said embarrassed me.
When I started dating, she would tell me, “Be careful where you put that thing. It’s your responsibility.”
I was divorced and raising two children when my mother came down with cancer. She once told me, “Don’t buy me flowers when I die. If you’re going to buy me flowers, do it now so I can enjoy them.” I bought her flowers.
One night, I went to the hospital to see her. The chemotherapy had taken all her beautiful brown hair. When I walked into her room, she was smiling; but she burst into laughter when she saw me. On top of my head was one of those rainbow-colored clown wigs.
I smiled back at her and said, “I heard you might want this.”
She continued to laugh as I took it off. Immediately, she put it on and was still wearing it when I left. That wig was next to her bed when she died.
She had told us not to cry over her death, but rather to celebrate her life. The day she was buried, our family went to dinner, reminisced over some of her stories, and we all celebrated her life.
A month ago, a man named Glenn Russell called looking for Beverly Gex, my mother. He remembered her perfectly, even after sixty-five years. I told him everything I could remember. He seemed happy. So was I.
Everything I learned in life, my mother taught me. The man I became is because of my mother. Although my mother is gone, she is with me every day because I carry her in my heart always.
I still remember the words to the prayer she would make sure my brother and I repeated every night when I was little:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die, before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
I will see you again, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!
These stories, and more, can all be found on Amazon: A Life in Time, My Story.
Photo credit: Sharon (Flickr)
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