Honoring “My Mother”

Our Beautiful Mom, Marianna

My mother was a complex person who loved her family. We were seven, four girls and three boys. Each one of us called her “My Mother.” All of her grandchildren called her “Ma”; she adored them.

Myra, Jo, Ma, Mike, Norma, Lynda and George

By the time I was eight years old, our parent’s marriage unraveled. Once our father was out of the picture, our Mom became our rock. She used everything in her being to make sure we grew up to be good honorable Christians. I can remember coming home from school to homemade flour tortillas, which we would load up with butter and eat as many as four in one sitting.

Rocky, Gina, Ma, Frank, Nick, (back roll) Leah, Torie, Mikos, Alex, Robert, Nick, Steven, Maggie and Sonja (some of my moms grandchildren)

She loved to read and she always kept up with politics. It was later in life that she received her GED, which was a huge accomplishment because she had only completed 7th grade.  She was a die-hard Democrat and loved the Kennedys. I once took her to a rally for Robert Kennedy and I watched her as countenance  change to that of great joy. I remembered a photographer capturing what I witnessed and could not stop taking pictures of her enamored expression.  A picture of President Kennedy was showcased on the main shelf of our living room.

Our Mother was funny (I got my sence of humor from her). We always got the giggles at funerals, especially when going up to the casket. This still happens to my sister and me, I realize how morbidly wrong this is but we can’t help it.

Once when my Dad was in the hospital, my Mother asked me to take her to see him. My father was comatose when we walked in. Suddenly I heard my Mom say, “I want to hit him!” I could not believe my ears but then she said it again. ” I just want to hit him!” I told her, “Go ahead, Mom; no one will know.” We started laughing and of course she never did hit him. As a matter of fact, she taught us to love our father. She never spoke an unkind word about him, and would not allow us to say anything mean-spirited about him. This was a powerful lesson of love for us and I never had ill feeling for my Dad.

Our mother made sure we received our Sacraments as Catholics. She never learned to drive and we lived out in out in the sticks, so going to church on a regular basis was a challenge.We took taxis everywhere, to visit our cousins, to go grocery shopping, and to doctor’s appointment. We were the original Uber family.

Our mother taught us to become strong Christians and emphasized the importance of family. We still are all very close because she made sure we got over our differences by calling us out when we were in the wrong.

My mother never got over the fact that I became a Republican, and that caused a lot of heated debates. I remained steadfast as she stood her ground, using our heritage to try to persuade me. It did not work.

When our mother became dependent on others, my sister Norma took over the role of her caregiver, Norma cared for her lovingly.  A few weeks before she went home to be with the Lord, she had a heart- to-heart talk with me. “I don’t want to die in the house.” “Ok,” I said, and then she added, “I don’t want to die in the hospital either.” I gave her a puzzled look and asked her, “Well where do you want to die?” She answered, “Not in those two places.” My mother died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

Our mother buried two of her children: our oldest brother Robert, who died at age 33, and our sister Myra who died five months before my mother. She is survived by son George, his wife Mary,  son Mike,  daughters  Jo and Lynda and Mike Lynda’s husband, and daughter Norma. She has left a legacy of 17 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

We love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

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