One of Her Favorite Songs-a short but true story….
One of my Mother’s favorite songs was “Don’t Fence Me In”. I did not realize until she was passing from this life—how true this song was of my Mom.
A few mornings after my Mom’s death, my sister and I were searching the house looking for all the documents we needed in order to handle her affairs; when I came across a letter I had written my Mother in my early 30’s. She had saved this letter with her ‘important papers’ all these years.
In this letter, I had told my Mother what a wonderful woman she was, and how much I loved her, but I also gave her ‘advice’ of how to ‘run her life’ and ‘how I thought she should live’. This was given in love, a few years after the death of my Father. It was written from a heart filled with concern, one that was trying to help; but also from a young woman, who did not intend to, but put her Mother in a ‘box’, and also said some pretty ‘judgmental and condemning things’.
Reading this letter a few mornings after my Mom had passed away almost 25 years later, as a woman in her 50’s; I wept with grief at how condemning and limiting my opinions were then. I looked at my sister, as I sobbed over this letter, and she looked at me with such love in her eyes, and I told her, “How stupid I was back then? how ignorant? how could I have said these things to Mom back then? How could I have judged her so?” My dear sister looked back at me, with love in her eyes and said, “You were just young, and you didn’t understand—Mom forgave you. She loved you.” I tore the letter into shreds, while I continued to cry; then took it out to the kitchen sink and drowned this document in a large bowl of water.
My Mom was very private, strong, independent and brave. After my Father passed away, at age 60; Mom kept going for the rest of her family—the kids and grand-kids. She lived her life independently, grieved privately, and did what she wanted to do. As she aged, learning to depend on her family was hard for her—she was a ‘do it yourself’ kind of gal—a Navy wife—who was used to having to spend time alone, and get things done. She was a problem solver and an independent thinker. Mom had very strong opinions of right and wrong, but she was one of the least judgmental people I have ever known. She was one of the most kind, forgiving, gracious and polite ladies you will ever meet. She was generous, and shared her resources freely. She was one of a kind.
Something has happened to me, as a result of her death—I miss her every day. Yet, I am embracing her favorite song, “Don’t Fence Me In”. I am breaking out of every mold I have ‘put myself in’, or have allowed others to put me in. I am going to redefine—and make my own—the image of womanhood, motherhood, and learn all about being a grandmother, when I am blessed with those dear little ones. I will bless my daughters with friendship, with a Mom when they need it, with a close companion, and one, whether near to them, or far from them, will always believe, encourage, help, and support them. I will be Helen’s daughter, fully and truly—yet, also try and improve and improvise—in being my own person. Each new generation of a family, should build on and surpass, the previous generations—I expect my girls to do the same. What beautiful women they are now, and what beauties they will become!!
This was her favorite song. It has become one of mine—“Don’t Fence Me In”—please, ‘don’t fence me in’. Love me, and accept me for who I am, and who I will be…..