Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Mother's Hats

Figuratively, mothers wear many hats as they raise and care for their famlies.
My mother also wore actual hats, as was the fashion, when I was a young girl.  I especially remember shopping for new hats for Easter Sunday and other special occasions.
The three hats pictured above belonged to Mother.  They now reside on a shelf in my sewing room.

There are a few more in my closet, some still kept in their original boxes.

In the bottom of the boxes, are faded receipts bearing names of department stores I remember so well.  Stores where my mother, sister and I would shop for clothing and household items.  Stores where you "dressed up" to shop.  Stores with elevators and elevator operators wearing thick white cotton gloves.  Stores in downtown Amarillo.  Sadly, none of them remain in business.

Some of the boxes also hold bits of netting, ribbon or other millinery trim, perhaps removed and exchanged for another shade of ribbon or embellishment more suitable for the season or ensemble.

Sixteeen years ago today, not a hat, but a heavenly crown was placed on Mother's head. 
Daddy and I held her hands and bid farewell.  She had been diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer on Easter Sunday, April 15, 1990.  A diagnosis that shattered and changed my world forever.

During the next four years, Mother would once again don hats to hide her hair loss.  A former middle school teacher, she would also put on her teacher hat and instruct all of us about faith, strength, determination, humor and grace.

Cancer is a horrid disease, but it is kind in one way.  It allows us time to say goodbye.  Nine days before Mother passed away, I wrote her a letter.

Three pages of memories, gratitude and love.  Daddy read the letter to her when it arrived in the mail.  Many years later, I would find it neatly folded in its envelope and resting in the top drawer of Daddy's desk.

As the years have passed, I discover that Mother has never really left.  I look at my hands and see her hands.  I catch a glimpse in the mirror and see a marked resemblance.  I listen and hear her words tumble from my mouth.  She is up above, watching over and continuing to love and guide me.  My prayer is that I am at least a tiny fraction of the person she was.
She was extraordinary.

I will see her again some day.  I am trying to determine how to lovingly ask her why eating all those carrots, which she promised would be good for my eyes, did not do the trick!  She will give me that beautiful smile of hers, hug me as she always did, and all will be well.
Until then, she is only a breath away.



Aunt Honey said...

I think we miss our mothers forever. But how blessed we are to know we will see them again, have those hugs again! Your faith is an encouragement to all of us, as we see your reliance upon our Lord as you struggle with your eyesight. Though we all have our trials, our strength is from our heavenly Father. May he continue to strengthen you.

Jeannie B. said...

May God continue to Bless you, Jan

Cynthia Gilbreth said...

It sounds to me that your mother was a wonderful lady who raised a loving daughter.

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Dear Jan:
What a wonderful and loving tribute to your mum. I'm sure she's smiling now, and is well proud of the beautiful daughter she helped to create.

I remember those weeks leading up to Easter when my mum would take my sister and me shopping for Easter attire. We went to a shop called "Wendy's Millinery" to choose our hats, and perhaps a matching handbag. All three of us dressed up for Easter.

We also had a department store with an elevator operator who wore white gloves. I miss those more genteel and innocent days. With our "progress" it seems we have lost a little something.

Thank you for the memories. Your mum's hats a so pretty. I hope you have a restful weekend, my friend.

Julia said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mother. She sounds amazing. I am going to write something that is going to sound terrible. I wish my Mother could find the peace that yours has. My mom is in such agony. I pray that peace will come to her either here on Earth or in Heaven. My cousin, whose mom died way too young, told me that she is glad that her mom went the way she did, even though so young, as to watch her in the state that my mom is in.
You have made your mom proud many times over, I'm sure.

kr said...
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Robin Hart said...

Next time warn me that I might need a tissue. I recognized the hand writing (as I have note by my computer in that same hand) before you said it was yours. You are blessed to have some wonderful memories.

Kris said...

Thank you Jan for the lovely tribute to your Mother. I'm sure she is watching from heaven and is pleased to see her lessons of life, her love and her grace under pressure were not lost on you. Hugs.

Kathy V said...

Oh Jan, what a beautiful tribute to your Mother. I remember one of the first times(maybe THE first time) I ever heard this song, I was in the car with you. Just a couple of years after, I lost my own Mother. This song has brought me so much comfort over the years.
I know that you miss your Mother so much, especially now, when you need her hug and kiss to tell you that everything will be okay.
I am so sorry that I never got to meet Mary, as I would love to tell her what a wonderful daughter she has, and that I am so lucky to be her friend!

Rachel said...

Wow, crying in the early morning....what a beautiful tribute to your mother. What a joyful gift she gave to all those who know and love you! Blessings!

Mrs Mary Scott said...

Beautiful tribute to Grandmother, Aunt Jan. And I love the hats! She was an amazing lady.

Karen said...

Loving post by a lovely lady. Your mother is smiling right now. I admire your grace and your strength.

Martha said...

Words are not enough. I'm sorry I missed this on Saturday. The sentiment is the same today. I can only express it one way, HUGS.
Much love,

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