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My Mom Taught Me To See Beauty
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.
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.
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 WorkClick thumbnail to view full-size
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.
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 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.
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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