Monday, September 8, 2008

Remembering My Mom

In Loving Memory of Leona Weiner Howell:

Sometime within the next few days it is the 22nd anniversary of my mom passing away. If you do the math, that would have made me 19. My dad had passed away just 3 years before; and my god I just cannot believe that it has been that long. Now it may seem odd that I don't know the exact day that she passed; but neither does my brother. I think that we've both blocked it out because it would just be too painful to remember on one specific day. All I know is that it was sometime between the 9th and the 13th of September. I'm inclined to think it was September 11th but that could just be me associating one disastrous day with another.
My mom was sick for many years. She had cancer when I was in high school; and then she went into remission, but a few months after I went away to college, she got sick again and she never recuperated. It was heart breaking and devastating and I miss her EVERY DAY. My mom was AMAZING (even though I didn't always realize and appreciate her at the time.) She was intelligent, beautiful, sexy, funny and charming; she had a true magnetic personality. When my mom walked in to a room, all heads turned; both men's and women's; she just had a presence that commanded attention. (Anyone who had the pleasure of knowing my mom, please leave a comment and verify that I am speaking nothing but the unadulterated truth - it would be a wonderful tribute.)
My mom was a straight shooter, a good listener and she was a compassionate friend. She was helpful and kind and GOOD. Now I'm not saying that she was perfect - she was human, so how could she be - but boy, was she close to it. It makes me so sad that we don't always know what we've got till it's gone. I wish that I'd had a better relationship with her before she got sick; but we lived a part for several years due to Richie Howell's lies and manipulations. Ironically enough, I KNOW the exact day that he died - July 16, 1983.
I'm not writing about my mom to illicit any pity or sympathy; you all should know me better than that. I just wanted to share a lesson that I have learned, because; say it with me "I'm all about the greater good." I want people to recognize that dying does not suddenly erase any errors of your past. Again, we are human; we are not perfect, and no one is expected to be; but sometimes when people pass away their loved ones tend to put them on a pedestal, and remember only the good things, and then beat themselves up over how they could have done things differently or been a better person toward their loved one. I'm here to say "Don't do that;" your loved one wouldn't want you to. Hopefully your loved one has gone on to a better place and they would not want you to spend the precious time that you have on this earth, beating yourself up over things that you coulda, shoulda done differently. They weren't perfect and neither are you. I tell you this because life is for the living and there is already so much pain and suffering out there; if you have been grieving for an extended amount of time it is now time to heal; to forgive yourself as I know your loved one is forgiving you; and to be thankful for whatever time you had. As Dr. Seuss says "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."
I am so grateful for the time that I did have with my mom. She was a wonderful role model and I would be honored if people thought that I emulated her in any way. It kills me that my children will never know what it feels like to be hugged by her; or to make her laugh, and that she will never get to experience how absolutely, incredible and unique they are; but I can only pray that she is watching them and loving them from beyond, and protecting them with her mother's heart.
If you are fortunate enough to still have your mom and/or dad in your life; please give them an extra hug; forgive them of the latest thing they've done to piss you off; and take a picture with them. These are times you will never be able to get back when they are gone; and you are so blessed to have this opportunity; even if it doesn't always feel like it.
Till next time...


Not Yet Legal said...

I wish I knew your mom; I do know she would be SO proud of the mother you yourself have become...your children do feel her in the warmth of YOUR hugs, and when they make YOU laugh, your mom is smiling down on them as well. This was a beautiful tribute and it really made me stop & think how lucky some of us really are to still have our parents, "warts and all".

Angel Gurl said...

what poignant post, and it's so true. Life is too short to hold grudges and I don't want a death of a loved one to make me realise that.

nancy said...

I needed to hear this. I'm visiting my family next week and I will keep your words with me.

Anonymous said...

Elloquent...knowing you, I know is knowing your mother. Hearing you describe her, is hearing how I would describe YOU. You are your mother's daughter, you are a great example to your children of what your mom was to you. Your children ARE getting those hugs, and they ARE getting that unigue love. I am guilty of not appreciating the love I have and maybe grieving too much for my love ones lost. This post, was so beautiful, but made me realize how lucky I am as well. Life isn't always perfect, but I am thankful for what I have. And I am truly thankful for your friendship.....Hugs..(give yourself one every now and then too)

Shikza Chick said...

I will always cherish the time I spent with your Mom; from 3J Heritage Drive to the Pines to the Jersey shore in the Eldorado...she made such a lasting impression on my life (and taught me how to buy inappropriate but sexy bathing suits - lol). Lee was a beautiful woman, and yes, EVERYONE turned when she walked into the room. My God, who couldn't notice the tiny waist, curvy hips, flawless makeup, fiery red hair and perfect accessories...she looked just like a beautiful pin-up model...truly stunning! But she was so much more than just a beautiful person on the outside; Lee (Tyrone? lol) emcompassed a fiery, passionate soul second to none and when she loved it was with her entire being...she also made some mean chicken cutlets and was the best mahjan host that ever lived!! Paige you live with your Mother's aura surrounding you and her passion and drive in your heart - go and give those beautiful children some Leona Smooshy Face Kisses and know that your Mom is always with you.