The bitter and the sweet


(my mom, sometime in the early 1950’s)

You may remember a few weeks back our infant granddaughter became suddenly critically ill.
We had spent days and time in two different ERs until a diagnosis was finally concluded…
salmonella.
With the doctors suspecting either the premade liquid formula or a new sample we’d received from the pediatrician’s office.

Naturally and understandably, it was a very scary time for all of us.
For one so young, so new to our lives and so small…to be so sick…

Finally, on the evening we’d gotten home from the hospital—
after the antibiotics had been administered and with the fever finally subsiding—
I found myself needing to spend the night with them at their house.

Now remember…this house, that is now their house, was also, at one point in time, my house—
meaning it was the house I had grown up in.

There is still a copious amnout of “stuff” in the basement that needs to be sorted, tossed,
sold or simply packed up and put away.
The basement is the collective receptible of several generations of both previous, current
and even future lives.

That night, once the baby was settled and we had all managed to eat a little something,
I opted to wander down to the basement in order to see if I could find an extra phone charger.
While rummaging through a few boxes I came across the above picture of my mom;
a picture I had never seen before.

Here it was, the end of a horrific and frightening three-day ordeal for this new
and precious granddaughter of mine…
I was exhausted, and if the truth be told, an emotional wreck.
Yet here I was being met by an image of mom smiling up at me from a box.
It was pre-me image that was staring up at me from that odd juxtaposition of both space of time.

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, I felt familiar hot tears forming in my eyes.
Tears that had been sitting for a few days full of worry only to now be sitting with
grateful relief.
Yet tears also sitting because of this image of this woman who was now so very far
removed from my life.

And yet here she was.

Coming to me at a time when I certainly found myself needing her.

My friend and fellow Bulldog supporter Lilka, over on B is for Blessed,
wrote a beautiful mother’s day tribute to her own mom, a woman that she too had
lost just as I had lost my own mom.

Reading her words I could readily relate as I felt those familiar warm tears forming
once again.
I too knew that bittersweet feeling such a day of remembrance brings.

Memories sweet yet married with a real sense of sorrow for what is now missing.

That being the tangible.

Mother’s Day…

And so it is on this Mother’s day that I now think of who is missing, who was and who
I miss while at the same time I celebrate who is here and who has come bringing a
renewed sense of wonder and joy.

They both have the same color of eyes.
Yet with my having been adopted, this grandbaby of mine does not have
my mom’s eyes but actually those iridescent eyes of her own mother’s.

Yet I somehow know that these two women, one now long gone and one having
recently arrived, each connected by a generational love of both space and time,
have met before.

They’ve passed each other in a different place other than my own.
They’ve held each other briefly as one remained and one was sent for arrival.

It is a happy Mother’s day that way…

So happy 1st Mother’s Day to Abby and Autumn…may today be a treasured day full of
a life of precious memories to come…

Oh…and we shouldn’t forget mother’s younger sister, Aunt Maaaathhhaaaa,
who now finally finds herself enjoying being with that big sister she’s missed now
for oh so many years…


(a young Martha with Mimi’s dog Joy circa 1957)

20 comments on “The bitter and the sweet

  1. Happy Mothers Day, Julie. A beautiful lady! I’m so happy you found this photo at just the perfect time. She’s always watching over you as well as her new great-granddaughter. ❀

  2. When I saw the pic of your Mom (having forgotten that you were adopted), I thought the resemblance was remarkable. Strange how God works through the generations.

    • Thank Donβ€” when folks would call the house and I answer, they thought I was mom- we sounded that much alike/ and friends who knew I was adopted always tried to dispute that little tyke fact because seeing us and knowing us, they would simply say β€œno way” πŸ™‚

  3. So sweet,Julie. Happy Mother’s Day!

    My first daughter and I actually got salmonella when she was 3 and spent quite a while in the hospital. It can be very serious, so you got yourself a real miracle there. πŸ™‚

    • Thank IB—I hope it was a happy day for you and that your family spoiled you to some degree.
      Abby had salmonella three weeks before the baby after we’d eaten at a seafood restaurant in Atlanta. We knew it was what she ate as the rest of us were fine…she spent time in the ER while I took the baby back home with me.
      The CDC called and she reported it was eithe the goat cheese from the salad or the avocado on the fish.
      Well three weeks later, the baby gets sick.
      Despite her having had it first the doctors at Scottish Rite didn’t think the two related.
      Who knows.
      All I know it’s time this family gets well and stays well…I’m getting tired!!!
      Such is the lot of us mothers πŸ™‚

  4. Such a beautiful tribute. Not being on WP as much as I’d like I had no idea of the recent illness. Horrifying for sure, but grateful all ended well.
    It’s amazing how you “found” the picture of your mother when you needed her most. I am finding bits of mine at various times I need her as well. I guess it is true, you never stop being a mother. πŸ™‚
    Happy Mother’s Day Julie!

    • Thank Lilka–yep, it had been a mess and I’m glad we’re now on that side of it all. I hope you had the kind of day you wanted, laid back.
      Ours was a bit hectic as the baby was super fussy this afternoon—one of those draining fussinesses on the adults charged with the caring—and of course they had come back from visiting her folks in Winder, we met them in Atlanta for lunch, then we all came back here as Abby has another week of school remaining. So lots of being in a car…and who knew it was going to be 95 today—gees louise!!
      Here’s to moms—young and old…laid back and tired πŸ™‚

      • You were busy but that was all definitely time well spent! Great memories made!

        We ventured out in the pursuit of food, all the way up to Alpharetta and ended up taking it to go for sanity’s sake. But all and all a good day.
        I wrapped up the day trying to save my hydrangeas from the heat!
        Savor this time with your loved ones and get some rest! πŸ™‚

  5. atimetoshare.me says:

    I’ve grown to love your family. It’s fun to see pictures of the people we’re only connected with through words. I feel I know them and have become a part of your world in a small way. I know you were adopted, but I can see the affect the women in your life have had on you. Happy mom’s day again, especially in this first one as a granny.

  6. Very touching post!!! πŸ™‚ ❀

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow that must have been something to find a picture you never saw of your mom in light of everything with your grandchild going on…man, that’s emotional enough for men to cry…seriously.

  8. hatrack4 says:

    This was beautiful by the way. Great post.

    It is odd that we each have an Aunt Maaathaa. My only surviving uncle, Ruffin, is married to Aunt Maaathaa. I also thought of her yesterday. Our Sunday school class has just finished Revelation, but because I had written a six-post series in February on the plagues of Egypt and correlating them to the tribulations in the end times, our Sunday School teacher asked me to summarize those six posts into a one-Sunday review. When we talked about frogs, people could not believe that the Egyptian fertility god, the frog, could be much of a plague. Wasn’t that a good omen? My first comment, very Southern, was ‘if your grits talk back to you in the morning saying ‘ribbit’ that’s too many frogs.

    Then I mentioned Aunt Maaathaa. She went with my uncle, a retired geologist (PhD from Tennessee), on a gold mining expedition to Australia. She was going to take a shower. The guide gave her a stick and told her to rap the stick against the side of the shower before entering. Aunt Martha was very confused at this point. She pulled back the curtain to see a beautiful shower with green tiled walls and floor. She tapped the stick against the wall and all of the green frogs ran out, leaving a white-walled shower behind. The area was so dry that the frogs sought the moisture. Possibly why the frogs, having to leave the blood in the Nile, were doing in the second Egyptian plague.

    Thank you for your Martha comment and photo, and the Southern pronunciation.

    • and thank you Mark for making me laugh with the frog story!!! and here’s one more coincidence—my uncle, Martha’s husband was also a geologist…but they divoreced after about 30 years of marraige as he had always been very verbally abusive to Martha.
      My grandmother couldn’t stand him.
      When I was older and confronted him about it, he never spoke to me agian—but this was at the same time he had decided he would leave my aunt for someone else—the irony was the other woman didn’t really want him. Years later when he was infirmed, he asked Martha to let him come home…I think that correspondance went unanswered.
      She did have some grit in that craw of hers….

      • hatrack4 says:

        Glad to say that my Uncle Ruffin is a gem. Of the four brothers (my Dad being second in line), Ruffin was the one who would make everyone laugh. Maybe that’s why he’s in his mid-90s and still going strong. They only moved to an assisted living center due to Aunt Martha, who is even older, having difficulty moving around and the onset of dementia.

  9. RobbyeFaye says:

    What a sweet post, memories old and new. Thank you for sharing!
    Blessings~

  10. What an absolutely beautiful post, dear Julie! And what a gift from God to find the photo of your mother after such a long and stressful time… truly a reminder from God that you are loved and cared for even though your mom has graduated to eternity! Your mother was beautiful… just as you are! Happy Belated Mother’s Day, dearest Julie! ❀ ❀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.