Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Mom would have been 95 today............

My mother, Frances Elizabeth West Doss Maes, would have been 95 years old today.
summer 1949 - Mom and me
She has been gone for 11 years now. I spent the first couple of those years, mad as hell at her for leaving me. Leaving me to miss her, to have to contend with my father, to try to figure out who she was and lastly to forgive her for just being who she was with me.

My Mom was a special kind of crazy. When I say that to my grands, GK always says, "then it must run in the family". True. But her kind of crazy had no mirth or joy to it. She was a mystery, so beautiful, very hungry for so many things, fiercely independent, had an anger that scared the bejeezus outta me.

Growing up, I knew she loved me. Cared what happened to me and wanted everyone to know what a good mother she was. There were pockets of "ugly" that she never divulged or acknowledged about her upbringing or mine and it must have been so very hard for her to live happy. I found out more about my Mom after she died by cleaning out my fathers papers after he died than I ever knew when she was alive.

I have worked on my feelings about Mom for a lot of years. I thought I was a disappointment to her, found out she raved about me to any and all who would listen. I didn't know that. She thought I had talent and wanted everyone to see my work. I didn't know that. When I had Shelley, she fell in love with her and I felt like an outsider. Now that I am a grandmother, I understand what they had and why. But at the time, I didn't know that.

She hated me for being her caregiver during the last year of her life, but she also clung to me for everything. I know now it wasn't me she hated. She didn't want to die. And she was mad at the world and mean to me but I should not have taken it personally. But at the time, I did not know that.

I miss her. I love her. I wish we would have had a do over. I would have loved to really know her heart, help her see herself differently. I wish she would have seen Shelley grow into a wonderful mother. I wish she would have been able to know GK and Ry and share in the pride of what good kids they are. I wish she could have known me better, warts and all.

Happy Birthday Mom. In death you taught me so much more about myself and who I am. You gave me the chance to perceive you in a much different way....and appreciate the struggles that made you the person you were.

If I had a moment with you, I'd say "you did good by me". You gave me what I needed to be "a special kind of crazy" too, and know how to laugh and wish you would have been able to enjoy life more.

Everything we are is because of what we have gone through, good or bad. Consider everything as a lesson that you had to learn in order to be who you were intended to be. Gold is refined by fire, so are we. This is the lesson I learned most especially over the past 11 years. And now I know.


  1. What an awesome tribute to your mother. Sometimes we can't see the truth until the chance to say thank you is gone.

    She knows how you feel.

  2. Oh Linda,
    Life and the Goddess are continually teaching us aren't they. You're in my thoughts today.

  3. Linda, this is a wonderfully written text about you and your dear mother, sorry for my poor english, love you!

  4. If only we could know "then" what we know "now" -- that's so true of much of life. We just do the best we can, as your Mom did and as you do, I'm sure. AKA The Human Condition. Sending hugs today, Oma Linda.

  5. Beautiful, Oma. Your mom would be proud, I just know it. Happy Birthday to her and big sloppy hugs to you. xox

  6. The things our loved ones teach us after they are gone are simply incredible. I spend a lot of time "talking" to my little brother. Wondering about this and that, reading something he wrote about me (but never showed me) and asking myself how come I didn't see those thoughts in his eyes. I'm figuring he was hiding them to keep my head from getting too big ;-)

    Happy birthday to your mom. And happy day to you.

  7. In memory of special kind of crazy ladies the world over - my granny would have been 95 on Saturday.

  8. Well, that's good advice and it would make me feel better if my mother actually was the way she was towards me in order for me to fulfill my destiny and I suppose she did in a way in that we have an agenda when we are born into this world whether we remember it or not, but I'm pretty sure she was mostly motivated by selfishness. I still have a ways to go before I can truly say what you said and mean it.

  9. This is so awesome ....I fought back the tears and understand mother did not want to give up either. I miss my mother every single day! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  10. One of the best tributes to a mother I have ever read. And I'm sure that somewhere out there there's a light that's sparkling a little brighter now because of it.

  11. It is sad that you didn't learn what was inside her heart till after she passed, but a blessing that at least you eventually got to peek inside.
    My Mom died when I was in my early teens. I always new she loved me and doted on me but I never got to know her as a person. That I miss.

  12. Oma Linda, this is a very touching and powerful post! I took alot from it! I wish your mom a happy 95 ;o) I love the picture ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

  13. Oh Miss Oma Linda, this is such a bittersweet and beautiful tribute to your mother. In looking back over life, in knowing what we know now, we can choose to be for others what we wished to have for ourselves. That is what you have done. You have been and are, your own special kind of crazy, and you have done it with grace, wit and charm, and the world is brighter for it. Hugs always, Mina

  14. Oh honey, this is beautiful. My Ma died 14 years ago and when you wrote "She has been gone for 11 years now. I spent the first couple of those years, mad as hell at her for leaving me. Leaving me to miss her, to have to contend with my father, to try to figure out who she was and lastly to forgive her for just being who she was with me." it really spoke to me. I really understood my mom after I had my son. I got it. I got her. I wanted to hug her and mother the mother that mothered me. Hugs Oma.

  15. Beautiful thoughts & words, they hug your mother in ways your arms could not xoxox


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