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My Mom Taught Me To See Beauty

Updated on August 29, 2016
My Mom looked like a model when she was younger.
My Mom looked like a model when she was younger. | Source

She Herself Was Beautiful

My Mother, Sharon Ramona Clark, was an artist, a poet and a Mother. The most important gift she gave to me was a love of beauty.

She herself was beautiful. In high school, my Dad told me that the boys would gather round and speculate about what new hair style she had tried in her hairdressing class. She got her first job, as a caregiver, at the age of nineteen, and immediately invested in some quality clothing. She looked like a model, with a chic sixties bob, and classic flawless skin.

She told me that when she got her first paycheques, working as a caregiver at a special needs facility, she went about buying quality clothes, including an expensive coat for $200. For the first couple years after high school, she lived on her own, with a roommate, a single girl in the 1960s. She always told us to take advantage of the assets God gave us by looking our best. She said you should never leave the house without first making sure your hair and makeup were done. "Don't give people a reason to treat you badly. They will think of enough reasons on their own," she told me.


My Mom and Dad newly married.
My Mom and Dad newly married. | Source
My Mom signing the registrar.
My Mom signing the registrar. | Source

Married At 20, Mother At 22

She married my father at the age of 20, and had two daughters in the next four years. She was married, living without much money, and told me later that she sometimes felt trapped. Marrying my father meant becoming a farm wife for the first few years, something she was not used to. Also, living out in the boonies meant that she no longer had access to employment.

When I was an adult, she admitted that it was hard for her to be a Mom when the children were small. With her creative spirit and brilliant mind, the life of a full-time mother was difficult on her nerves and stifled her with its sameness. Unlike now, there were no computers available for a few minutes of stimulation between housework. The hours were long and often excruciatingly lonely.

In spite of the difficulties, however, my Mom put everything into the job that she had been given to do, and loved her daughters wildly. With her two girls, she was a world-class entertainer. She told us stories of her own childhood, she sang, she drew with us, she played with us. We were encouraged to be creative as she showed painting, crafts, listened to our make-believe games and allowed us to fully enjoy a wonderous childhood.

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My Mom in front of an art project her students had done.
My Mom in front of an art project her students had done. | Source

My Mother Was An Artist

At the age of 30 or so, my Mother made a life-changing decision. She sold the cherished coin set she had inherited from her grandmother, and bought a set of paint supplies. This was an excruciatingly difficult decision, considering the coins were her only source of finances in her cash-strapped life. She resisted, but she felt God urging her to sell the coins and begin painting. And she did -- beginning a lifelong devotion to the arts.

She did many paintings, pursuing her art as a career, taking classes and determined to learn more. She completed a correspondence course with International Correspondence Course in art, an intensive course with challenging assignments where she learned a lot. When I was in junior high, my Mom started offering classes in her home to teach art to the local children and mentored many young kids in their talents. Her classes were not easy and she would not accept cliché work. She expected the students to really learn the art principles, and not simply draw a cartoon-like resemblance of things. For one lesson, she would spend hours preparing, with demonstrations and in-depth tutorial.

She taught art classes on and off to children and adults throughout the years. During her last few months of life, dying from cancer, she told me of her plans to do another class for the ladies in her community, wanting to "get back at it."



My Mom's Work

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo of one of my Mom's paintings. One of my Mom's poems. All Rights Reserved. My Mom's book of poetry
Photo of one of my Mom's paintings.
Photo of one of my Mom's paintings. | Source
One of my Mom's poems. All Rights Reserved.
One of my Mom's poems. All Rights Reserved. | Source
My Mom's book of poetry
My Mom's book of poetry | Source

My Mother Was A Writer

During her late twenties, she also started writing poems, scribbling them out between meals and floors, and reading them to us, her little girls, when they were done. During her 30's, she self-published a book of her poems, called Song of the Morning.

Her work was accepted into numerous anthologies by World of Poetry, and she is listed in the book, Who's Who in Canadian Grass Roots Poetry, published in 2000. I grew up constantly hearing the first draft of a poem, over breakfast or after school. She also studied Children's Writing, via correspondence at the Institute of Children's LIterature under the tutelage of Alvin Tresselt. She had a poetic way of looking at things and dinner time was often a time for philosophical reflection. Sometimes my Mom would be up writing in the night or she would wake me up early to talk about some deep thoughts she had during the evening.

My mom always encouraged me in the arts and literature. She told me about her favourite poet, Emily Dickinson, and when I when to university for a degree in English Education, she listened to drafts of my essays and gave me constructive criticism. When I had read something particularly interesting, I could not wait to share it with my Mother and get her opinion on it.


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My Mom in 2001.
My Mom in 2001. | Source

My Mom Loved Jesus

The most important thing to my Mom was her relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ. She accepted Jesus into her life at the age of eight, and from then on, she clung unto Him. She had a child-like faith and never wavered. She ran into a problem at school when the teacher asked her to write an essay about times when she was alone, because she was never alone: she knew Jesus was always with her.

She spoke often about Jesus, and her poems talked about him, too. To my Mom, her faith was not a religion, but truly a relationship. At her funeral, hundreds of people came and so many came up to me and told them of how my Mom had impacted them. She reached out to people, one at a time, that were hurting and listened. She cared about people and never stopped. During the last month, when she was dying, she was most concerned about us and how we were doing with dealing with the cancer.


My Mom and me at my university graduation -- 1999.
My Mom and me at my university graduation -- 1999. | Source

My Mom Taught Me To See Beauty

My Mom taught me to see beauty in people. She saw good in everyone that she met and never stopped. She would even hear about guys in jail and wonder about what made them so desperate to turn to the acts that landed them there. Sometimes I would come to her, frustrated with someone who'd done wrong and she would help me to see their side and understand them.

My Mom taught me to see beauty in life. She took us on nature expeditions and she would point out the birds. Whatever the situation, she was able to see something good, and beautiful. She would get discouraged but then would be seeing the good side of things in a little while.

My Mom taught me to see beauty in words and art. Through her example and dedication to the arts, she personified the importance of creativity and the pursuit of beauty and expression. My Mom, Sharon Ramona Clark, was a beautiful person in every way and she brought the gift of beauty to the life of everyone that took the time to know her.



Source

My Mom, Sharon Ramona Clark, was born in 1947 in Alberta, Canada. At age 49, she was diagnosed with Paget's disease, which is cancer of the nipple. The doctors said she had five years to live and she lived until the age of 54. She went to heaven ten years ago, in 2002. She left two daughters and her husband, Larry. My sister and I still miss her so much.

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    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Directly from the heart Prairieprincess... Filled with love and respect and passion. I see so many of the same qualities in you...

      Hugs and Blessings

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 2 years ago

      Beautiful and touching, I can really feel the love you have for your mother. Thanks for sharing.

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 3 years ago from Canada

      @Raitu, thank you so much for your kind words. Take care!

    • Raitu Disong profile image

      Raitu Disong 4 years ago

      This is a very beautiful hub Princess!

      You mom is beautiful, and Her love is never gone. It will always keep you alive:) God bless! ..voted up!

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 4 years ago from Canada

      Jemma, thank you so much for reading and for your kindness and sympathies. And you are so right -- that love is something I will always carry with me. Take care and have a wonderful, blessed day.

    • jemmamcg profile image

      Jemma McG 4 years ago from Scotland

      This is a beautiful and touching hub - I cried half way through reading it. I'm so sorry for your loss. Although you have lost your mum you have lovely memories of her that you can always look back at. Voted up for being beautiful.

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      @UW, thank you for reading and for your kind comment. Have a wonderful day!

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      @Sally, I am sorry for taking so long to respond. Thank you so much for your kind comment. It is an honour to share about my Mom with your page and I know she would have been very honoured, too. Your words moved me deeply. Take care and a wonderful Mother's Day to you, as well.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 5 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Thanks for sharing this with us. Your mother was quite remarkable.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you so much for sharing this tribute to your mom on our fb page, A Woman's Life's Work, to commemorate Mother's day. If you hadn't, I think I would have missed it, and what a loss that would be.

      The photos are so beautiful, and, like kashmir, I see your mother's beauty in you, not just a physical beauty, but emotional and spiritual beauty as well. You created an extraordinary portrait of your mother in words and images.

      You and your mom will be in my heart this Mother's Day.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 5 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Thank you so much for sharing this tribute to your mom on our fb page, A Woman's Life's Work, to commemorate Mother's day. If you hadn't, I think I would have missed it, and what a loss that would be.

      The photos are so beautiful, and, like kashmir, I see your mother's beauty in you, not just a physical beauty, but emotional and spiritual beauty as well. You created an extraordinary portrait of your mother in words and images.

      You and your mom will be in my heart this Mother's Day.

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Brian, thank you so much for your kind words. I am so honoured to have you read about my Mom. It means a lot to me. Take care and have a wonderful night.

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 5 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      hi pp, your mom was a really beautiful woman and you have inherited her great looks too. It's so nice that you remember your mom in this way. What a lovely thought to cherish that your mom taught you to see beauty, just incredible. voted up :)

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Sharyn, thank you so much for reading and for commenting. Wow, it does sound like they were a lot alike. Your comment has really moved me tonight and I appreciate it so much. It is amazing that even your name is the same as hers (Sharon.)

      Thank you so much for sharing. You must miss her so much. Blessings to you this week. (((hugs)))

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      PP ~ this is beautiful. Your mom very much reminds me of my mother. I shared a passion for creativity with my mom. She liked to write poetry and loved reading my work as well. She wasn't afraid to give me her opinions either :) My mom was also the type of person who everyone loved. She made friends wherever she went. And she taught me that it is important to give people second chances and to see their side of the story. The similarities are touching to me. Your mom left this earth way too early as I feel my mom did as well. Your words written about her are awesome!

      Sharyn

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      Carter, thank you so much for your kind words. I agree that writing about those that we have lost helps us heal, and also honours their memory. Take care.

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      @TW, you are so very kind. Thank you.

      @RW, thank you so much. It was wonderful! Take care.

      @Kashmir, you are always so kind. Thank you so much. Take care.

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      @f, thanks for stopping by. Yes, she did have real strong faith. Thank you again.

      @Jools, you are so right. Her love of beauty imbued her whole outlook on life. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Take care.

    • prairieprincess profile image
      Author

      Sharilee Swaity 5 years ago from Canada

      @SJ, thank you so much for your kind words, and for the share. I don't think you ever stop missing your Mom but it's a different thing after 10 years. It's sad but you really do reach a point of acceptance in time. Heaven never seemed real to me until I lost her. Take care and thanks so much!

      @Pono, thank you so much for your kindness. Yes, that's what my sister and I have often said: that we are glad she is now safe from this world. Take care!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      This is a beautiful hub and so sorry for your loss...such a beautiful way to remember what's she's meant to you... it helps when you've lost someone to write it down...thank you for sharing about your mum with us... voted up & beautiful.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi my friend, this is such a beautiful tribute to your mom,and so sorry to hear you lost her at such a young age. But i can see where you get your beauty from your mom was a very beautiful woman inside and outside.

      Vote up and more !!!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Hi; Very touching tribute to your mom. It must have been wonderful to have such a creative, insightful and interesting woman for a mother. You're lucky.

      Thanks for sharing,

      Rob

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 5 years ago from California

      Prairieprincess, Thank you for sharing sweet memories of your mother. This is a wonderful tribute to her! She looks beautiful and from the way you described her, she is beautiful on the inside as well. I'm glad she encouraged you to explore arts and literature...otherwise we wouldn't have you here on HP with us! :-) Voted up and beautiful.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Prairieprincess, this is a touching hub - your mam was so accomplished and she had a fulfilling, creative life and instilled some wonderful values in her girls (and others I'm sure!)by the sounds of it. Her love of beauty sounds like it was universal to her whole outlook on life, she saw the good in everyone and enjoyed beautiful things and people in her life. Voted up.

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      Lovely hub. Yes, some schoolteachers are utterly ruthless and dishonest when it comes to young people who actually think differently from the militant secularism which they are determined to impose on them. It's good to know of your mother's quiet, steadfast faith and developed, critical faculties.

    • pongogirl2 profile image

      Jasmine Pena 5 years ago from California, USA

      Thanks for sharing this really wonderful story about your mom and how she has taught you to really see the beauty in everyone. Almost made me cry when I was reading about your mom's loss, but she is safe in heaven now.

    • profile image

      SJmorningsun25 5 years ago

      This is a beautiful Hub and a worthy tribute to a wonderful woman! I'm so sorry for your loss--some hurts are take a very long time to heal. Thank you for sharing your mom with us. I'm sure she's enjoying her reward with Christ! Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting. Sharing this!