Mom’s Many Gifts to Me

mom donnie & larry

If I were hanged on the highest hill,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose love would follow me still,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were drowned in the deepest sea,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

I know whose tears would come down to me,

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

If I were damned of body and soul,  

I know whose prayers would make me whole,  

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine!

Rudyard Kipling

(I posted this for Mother’s Day on The American Catholic.  I thought the history mavens of Almost Chosen People might enjoy reading this part of my personal history.)


My Mom died on Easter Sunday in 1984, age 48.  Her second bout with breast cancer took her life, she having survived a first round in 1972.  She told me at that time that she asked God to spare her life until her two boys, my brother and I, were settled in life, and so He did.

Mom had fiery red hair and a tempestuous temperament to match.  When she was a child one of her colleagues at school made the mistake of chanting at her “Fox in the bread box, eating all the cheese!”, and Mom clocked her.  Growing up it was a rare day when I didn’t receive at least one slap, which I had always earned, and one hug, which I rarely earned.  Mom always wore her heart on her sleeve and that fact brought excitement to my life while growing up which I greatly enjoyed.

Mom was a talker.  My laconic father said on occasion that Mom did the talking for both of them and I think that was true.  My brother, who had both Mom’s hair and disposition, also liked to talk and so did I.  When the three of us got going it was an interesting melding of three non-stop monologues.

Mom was also a reader, and she helped instill a love of reading in me.  When I was in fourth grade I read H.G. Wells’ Outline of History.  Mom was somewhat concerned because she knew of Wells’ skepticism of Christianity.  I told Mom that I understood Wells’ bias against Christianity and it would have no impact on me.  Mom never again had any concern about the books that I read that were very advanced for my years.  Her trust in me now that I look back on it was quite touching. (more…)

Published in: on May 9, 2021 at 5:29 am  Comments (4)  
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