My mother deserved more than I gave her

The Way I See It

by DON WEST

I never hugged her enough or told her that I loved her as many times as I should have. She deserved much better than I gave her. Twenty-one years ago, we said goodbye to her for the last time and I wish she were here so I could give her one last hug, but that is selfish. She lived a hard life, had renal failure and lived the final eight years taking dialysis treatments three times a week. She endured a 45+ -year marriage to my father who could have been a better husband. Alcohol was his devil and that evil dwelt amongst us.

When I was born in the mid 40’s, Dad was in the oil patch and in those days when the rig that you worked on moved, you had to move with it or you would lose your job, and jobs like that were hard to attain. Dad’s rig happened to be in West Texas when I came along and we lived in a tin building that wasn’t sealed from the cold and dust storms. Mom endured. Many times he wouldn’t get home with his paycheck before he drank and gambled most of it away, but Mom endured.

We were always poor, not because he didn’t have good jobs, but because of the devil he wouldn’t shirk. Today’s modern liberal would have you believe that it’s an illness, but I will tell you that’s a bunch of hooey. It’s just a bad choice, and one can make good choices. Taking a drink when you can’t control it is the same as stepping off the curb into traffic, something else you can’t control. When the bus flattens you, it wasn’t the bus driver’s fault, or the manufacturer of the bus or the brakes or the owner of the bus. You chose to step into the oncoming path just like the alcoholic taking that drink. We all make choices and we all should man up to the consequences of those choices. Today’s society will help you find someone else to blame and that will work until we face our final judgment.  We will not be able to shirk responsibility on that day. Mom made the choice to marry him, and she made the choice to stay all those years. She was an extraordinary woman to endure all that she did, and I should have been more appreciative of all that she gave in love to me.

She worked for over 50 years, as a legal secretary for many of the lawyers here in Jennings, all who have gone on to their reward. She walked to and from work every day, rain or shine, heat or cold, and she raised each of us to be strong and independent. We knew we had to be because we were, by necessity, on our own most of the time when we were not in school. We all worked from a young age, and we were taught good work ethics, good manners, and honesty. My sister followed in Mom’s footsteps as a legal secretary, and my brother followed in the legal field as a court stenographer and for the last twenty years as an independent stenographer and entrepreneur. We learned to pay our bills and try to put a little aside for “rainy days” and she taught us well and was a good example. She lived what she tried to teach us.

I am reminded on this Mothers’ Day week that I could have been a better son, but she was proud of each of us, and whatever we owed her, she would clear the bill when we uttered those words. I love you, Mom. I could never find the words to thank her for being the mother that she was to us. Though I am deemed a “writer”, my talents fail miserably when I try to express how much of a truly great woman she was. She quietly passed from this life on February 27, 1992, pretty much how she lived. No fanfare, no list of accomplishments, no front-page headlines. She died in peace and grace, though much of her life was tumultuous, and she died loving and being loved by friends and family. She ran the race, fought the fight, and I am sure when she saw “The Gate” she was welcomed with open arms and a “well done”. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Posted by on May 9 2013. Filed under Editorial Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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