A Mother is a Mother Always.
by ~ Anita Joyce Skocz
In memory of of Elizabeth “Libby” Skocz, my mother, 1921 – 2011
I remember sitting in my appointed place in St. Ignatius School waiting for class to begin. As I looked around the room I noticed my friend’s desk was vacant; she never missed a day of school. Along with this empty desk was a tardy nun, in this timely perfect little world the disruption was strange. Time crept, and the students in this third grade classroom squirmed uneasily.
In what seemed like forever our teacher entered through the colorfully decorated classroom door. Her hands clutched her rosary beads, and with her head looking down, she announced softly and sadly, that our classmate’s mother died. The quiet room broke into a collective sigh. For most of us death was something we talked about in catechism, but had not experienced yet. This day, death came close to home. In that moment I wanted to run home to my mother. In that moment it was the first time I ever thought that I could lose my mother. In that moment I came face to face with my first big fear. When would this loss happen in my lifetime?
My mother passed quietly November tenth 2011 in my home just weeks before her ninetieth birthday. Fifty plus years passed since the third grade child feared losing her mother. As I dealt with this loss with my brother and two sisters, I count us as “the fortunate.” We had mom’s loving presence, for over fifty years, and having that “gift of time” puts us among the truly blessed. Our heartbreak was diluted by waves of gratitude. We are grateful for countless years of unconditional love.
This love starts at the time of birth. When the umbilical cord is cut, and we are placed into our mother’s arms, but a new invisible cord links us together. This unseen bonding agent is the “heart string.” Instead of being a pathway for physical nutrients, it delivers unconditional love, wisdom, understanding, forgiveness, joy, gentleness and comfort to our hearts and souls. Once in a while a heart string may get a kink in it, or maybe a knot, but it can stretch over many miles, and it never breaks.
My mother’s heart strings were in full swing from the birth of her first child in 1947. Although she had so many varied interests, and we teased that she could run a Fortune 500 Company, she cherished her calling as a mother. Our family had many major challenges over the years, but the tough times only revealed more of her strength, courage, compassion and endless love.
In later years many strokes fractured her speech, but she persevered, and found ways to communicate. She never abandoned the ship of motherhood; she never stopped dispensing the magic that healed both heart and soul. She was an inspiration until she took her last breath.
She may have passed quietly, but she lived those ninety years boldly, compassionately, joyously, generously, lovingly sharing all of herself to all who needed the gifts God gave her. I am here to tell you those “heart strings” last beyond the life of the body. A mother is a mother always.