Life is unique much like the stars in the Heavens, some shine brightly over us for many years, and some are brighter for a shorter amount of time. My Mother was a shooting star. Her time on this Earth was much too short, but in her twenty-five years she lit up the lives of those she loved with such intensity that even after her beautiful light left our sight, it’s afterglow continues to be a presence in our lives.
Mom was beautiful, not in the Helen of troy kind of way but like a delicate porcelain doll kind of way. She had dark brown hair, chocolate-colored eyes that sparkled when she spoke to you. Her features were very delicate, soft, and she was petite in her stature. Her smile was the kind of smile that made total strangers stop to admire her in a crowd. Her complexion was fair yet her olive skin tanned quite easily from the sun. She had the most beautiful hands. Even after all of these years the sound of her laughter still lingers in my mind.
She was the youngest of her five siblings. Her father just like my second Mom’s father was not a part of her life. Her Mother raised her, and her siblings alone during the war in Greece. They struggled to survive, but my grandmother was incredibly strong. She worked long hours as a seamstress, which accounts for my Mom’s ability to work miracles with a sewing machine. Mom’s siblings worked hard doing anything they could to help their Mother keep the family going. Mom was their baby. A baby they all loved deeply.
They spoiled Mom as much as possible. I think they all tried to make up for the lack of both a father, and money. They are even now a very close bunch. Mom met my father while he was stationed on a military base. He once told me that he knew from the moment he saw her that he would never be the same. He was older than my Mother, looking back on things I believe she was attracted to his strength. Dad with all his faults was very much a strong male figure, and always a great provider. She married him at the tender age of 18, and then eight months later I came into the picture.
I was born in Athens, and we lived there until I turned 2. Then Dad was stationed back to the States. Mom left her family for the first time in her life moving all the way to the other side of the world. It was not an easy transition, and the marriage was not what I believe she imagined it would be. Mom who was barely more than a child herself was an amazing mother. She showered me with love. She sewed matching outfits for us to wear, she fixed my hair, Mom loved all things girly. She read books to me in Greek. I always felt very much-loved by her.
When I turned four Mom was diagnosed with cancer so my parents whose marriage was already strained were faced with the devastating news that Mom was dying. It was the early 60’s so by the time Mom had exhibited symptoms her cancer had already spread throughout her delicate body. My Dad fell apart, he was unable to accept her very rapid decline. My Grandmother, and three of my uncles came to the States to help care for my Mother.
Mom who knew she was dying, in a great deal of pain, insisted on being my Mom. She would have my uncles place me in her bed beside her so she could read to me,watch me eat, and play. Being a mother myself I can only imagine what it must have been like to realize you would be leaving your child behind at the tender age of four. Never to see her first day of school, a first crush, graduation,a wedding or your grandchildren. In the midst of all her suffering she remained strong in front of me being my Mom until the very moment she faded away.
Throughout my entire life I have always felt my Mother’s presence, her after glow remains even now. On the first day of school I carried her picture in my pocket. When I had my first crush I told her about it while I laid in my bed. I even believe that she picked my second Mom out especially for me. A woman who has made it a point to honor my Mother every step of the way. I wore her pearl necklace around my neck at my graduation. I wore the wedding gown she made, and wore to her wedding when I got married. I see her face every time I look at my children. Especially my daughter who is the spitting image of my Mom. They even laugh in the same way. I named my daughter after my Mom never imagining how fitting it would be.
My Mom was a shooting star who remains ever present in my life. I carry her with me every single day. 😉