The Memorial Day weekend has always been a bit more for me. Fifty years ago today I lost my mother in a car accident. I was ten. I thought she was very old. My perceptions changed, of course, when I reached the age she was that day. Then I knew just how young she was when she died at thirty-one.
Fifty years is a long time and I was young so my memories are fragmented. I remember her making bread and setting the bowl outside on the car for the dough to rise. I remember her making home-made flour tortillas on a huge cast-iron griddle.
I remember the year she made me two sets of dolly clothes for every single dolly I owned--and that was a lot. I had over thirty dolls.
I remember the time my father was in the hospital with a broken back and all of my brothers were in the same hospital having their tonsils out. It was a rare two days with just my mom and me. The hospital was nearly an hour away. We stopped on the way to have lunch at a tiny cafe. In those days, eating at any kind of restaurant was extremely rare as that was well before the days of McDonald's and such.
I remember the time she waxed the floor tiles with paste wax and then gave my brothers and I old towels to "dance" on while we buffed the floor.
There are so many flickering pictures like bits of old movies. Doing laundry in the old wringer washer. Adding bluing to the wash water. Hanging clothes on the line. Watching her crochet a sweater. Leaning on the piano while she played hymns.
Even though I was very young, she started collecting things for my hope chest. Before we left Arizona, she packed them up and took them down to my grandparents because there just wasn't any more room in the truck and trailer. I still have a set of cactus glasses she collected. Forty years ago when I married, my grandparents sent them to me.
Memories are a funny thing. When you first lose a loved one, most of the memories are sad. Then, God grants you a wonderful gift. The sad memories fade and mostly what you remember are the laughter and the happiness.
The important part is the remembering. That's why a day is set aside for the remembering of all those who died for our country. As long as we remember, then a little part of them still lives.