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Life Lessons From My Mother

Updated on May 9, 2016
A beautiful woman inside and out - my mother.
A beautiful woman inside and out - my mother. | Source

Life is a Circle

Mother was dying. Life is a circle and sometimes we end up back where we started. I often thought of this when bathing her. Mother was suffering from inflammatory breast cancer and the family was caring for her at home. She thanked us as if we were giving her a great gift. It was a strange exchange. Once upon a time she had cared for our basic needs much the same way.

Before falling sleep on most Saturday nights, I would listen to the hiss of her oxygen and try to get comfortable on the couch beside her. It was in these hours, I had time to think about the gifts she gave me­ - the things she taught me. Not things like how to tie my shoe or make my bed, but deeper lessons about life and people.

Three of these lessons stood out as most relevant to me as we helped her through her final passage. They are simply too good not to share.

Lesson 1 - Don't cry over split milk

This may sound like a trite and tried saying, but there is wisdom here that goes beyond the cost of a half-gallon. Let me explain. I was raised in a family of 10 children. The priority when you are raising 10 children is to keep them healthy and fed hoping they reach a respectable adulthood in a well-adjusted and happy manner. Certainly something like new linoleum is a rarity, so when brand new shiny linoleum was laid in the front hallway of our big home, it must have been something my parents had scrimped and saved to do.

I was a teen and one Saturday morning in an attempt to move my weekly chores along, I set our vacuum cleaner to the "floors" setting and began to run it over the linoleum. Somewhere along the line I got distracted and left the machine only to come back and find that it had brushed a scratch in the brand new flooring. I knew I had no choice, as you do in situations, but to be truthful and to be truthful fast. My mother stood looking at the ruined spot on the linoleum and barely said a word. I could see discouragement on her face when suddenly with my father's help, she hoisted a small bookcase a foot or two sideways and since the damage was near the wall, covered it up. My mom (and dad) never scolded me. They simply walked away that day asking me not to use the vacuum on the linoleum and I NEVER heard about it again. For years, if you would push that bookcase aside, you could easily see a spot where the surface was scratched. It stood as a silent reminder to me that ... we don't cry over spilt milk (accidents, material things).

Why? Because people and their feelings are more important than things.


Lesson 2: This too shall pass

When I was raising small children and often pulling my hair out my mother reminded me that, "this too shall pass." It was something her mother (who raised eight children) told her. My mother lovingly passed this advice on to me saying each stage in our lives is important and must be passed through. It's how we choose to pass through and what attitude we have as we pass through that's important. I am now a grandma to a wonderful little boy and I remind my daughter on particular days when our little man is cranky and fitful that these stages are temporal. This too shall pass.

Why? Because things seldom stay the way they are forever and most of the time stages and crisis are temporary.

Lesson 3: There is great power in unconditional love

One day in my adult life, probably one of my most difficult ever, I went to my mother to share some news of a great disappointment. I was worried how she would react. Would she be disappointed in me too? In short, I was afraid I would lose her love. As I shared with my mother that day in her kitchen, she lovingly wrapped her arms around me and let me cry on her shoulder. A faithful Catholic, she quoted scripture, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?" My mother showed me that day one of the greatest things a human being can ever show another human being. She showed me redemption in the flesh. Saying very few words, my mother demonstrated to me something that people in prayer closets and confessionals around the world beg for - unconditional love. This day stands out as one of the single most poignant days of my life.

Why? A mother's love is unconditional -she teaches us how to love ourselves.

Life is a circle

So my mother taught me not to cry over spilt milk, that this too shall pass and that there is a redeeming quality in unconditional love. And as I walked with my mother through the final stage of her life, I found that in those last months and days I had been given a great gift. The gift of just a little more time to learn just a few more things from a woman who taught me some of the greatest life lessons.

Mother passed quietly on August 8, 2010 with many of her beloved present that day. Even in her death she taught us. She taught how to pass gracefully.

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    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Maggs, thank you - your comment is very heart-warming to me and really I greatly appreciate all the voting! Best wishes, Cjbehr

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 

      5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      What a wonderful tribute this Hub is to your mum, as are you, the woman that you have become speaks loud and clear what kind of mum she was.

      Any mother would be proud to leave a legacy like you behind to carry on where she has left off.

      I think that you have learned the lesson that your mum taught you exceptionally well.

      Thank you so much for sharing these lesson with us through this hub.

      I will be voting this hub up and hitting all the relevant buttons on my way out.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Thanks for commenting - we were blessed to have 2 of the great moms in the world. Thanks for the follow also. : )

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      So sad to hear about your mother...she passed away just a little less than a month after my mom passed...my mother taught me the lessons your mother taught you and oh so many more...it still hurts that she is not here with us, as I'm sure you know...great hub!

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Francesca,

      I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I am honored that you feel a connection through my hubs. Try reading, "Death: A Trilogy" for more on Mom's death. Writing is a great way to get through grief and the holidays certainly make it hard as well. Take care and stay in touch,

      Carla

    • Francesca27 profile image

      Francesca27 

      5 years ago from Hub Page

      Your story touched my heart. My mother passed away 6 months after your mother. I am the oldest of 5 and feel a real connection to you through your hubs.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Taleb8o, Thank you so much. I am happy it was helpful.

    • Taleb80 profile image

      Taleb AlDris 

      5 years ago

      Very important lessons you have learnt, I wrote them in my notebook.

      Thanks for sharing, I shared with followers.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Lastheart, thank you so much for reading, voting and sharing. My mother was a treasure to me and I am thrilled to honor her, if even a little, through my writing. You might also be interested in a hub from a bit of different perspective of her death called "Death: A Trilogy". Thank you again for sharing.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 

      5 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Voted up and across and this is to be shared also. The picture reminds me so much of my mother with my sister, actually it made me read and find such a treasure. Thanks for sharing such personal experience.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Thanks Eddie, I'll check it out.

    • eddiecarrara profile image

      Eddie Carrara 

      5 years ago from New Hampshire

      I believe there are a lot of things in this world we don't understand, we just need to decide what we believe and don't believe. I watch the show Long Island Medium, and I truly believe we connect with the other side, call me a sucker, but too many things happen to me personally, not to believe.

      My first thought was that you mom was looking over your shoulder as you wrote this hub. As you reflected back, you probably saw detailed images of her in you mind, I believe that was the moment she was connecting with you, and sharing in the memories.

      Read the hub, Where does our energy, spirit, soul, essence...when we die by Austinstar, it certainly makes you think. Just don't read the comments, it gets way too deep, lol. Take care Carla.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Thank you for sharing, Eddie. I said to my father, I wish I would have had more time with Mom - I wanted her to tell me what to do in so many situations and he said, she does tell you everyday by the things she taught you. I agree - they still watch over us. Best wishes! cjb

    • eddiecarrara profile image

      Eddie Carrara 

      5 years ago from New Hampshire

      What a great hub, it reminds me of the life lessons my farther taught me. I feel he's still watching over me, every now and then, I feel a strong presence of him, as if he was still here. Thank you for sharing.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Physicdog,

      I am so sorry to here about your mother. I am so glad this hub has touched you and that it will help your sister also. My mother was an amazing woman. Even though she has passed, she lives on through the lessons she taught me.

    • psychicdog.net profile image

      psychicdog.net 

      5 years ago

      This was a beautiful hub and brought a tear to my eye carla - because unfortunately my sister and me were taken from our mother and have been ever since trying to get back what it was we missed out on - reading this really helped me and I will be sending it straight to my sister! Thank-you for sharing it so much - your mother lives on and continues to shine her great light in this great tribute you've written.

    • carlajbehr profile imageAUTHOR

      Carla J Swick 

      5 years ago from NW PA

      Thank you for your comment! The holidays are an excellent time to think about our passed loved ones and what they taught us.

    • NCBIer profile image

      NCBIer 

      5 years ago

      Simply beautiful. All very important lessons that for some reason, we need reminding of every now and again. Thank you!

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