Take Every Opportunity

Happy Mother's Day  Viola Virginia Sharkey Schoeppey

My mother was an insecure mess, so I know where that gene came from, but that’s alright. My mom was also the strongest woman I have even known, she just didn’t know it.

My mother was born in 1918, in a small coal mining town in Arkansas. One of six children that lived.(To the best of my memory she had two brothers that died at birth or shortly afterwards.) Mom was next to the youngest and the last of the girls. Mom would laugh about her early life but I knew it still haunted her. Her father had left the family when she was about eight years old. Leaving my grandmother with all those mouths to feed. The oldest sister taught school while going to college to become a teacher. That was the families only income, which was probably about $10 a month. The two oldest boys left home early to work and support themselves. Still mom said there was many nights they all went to bed hungry.

When my mother was about seven years old her appendix ruptured. She spent several months in bed clinging to life as the poison worked its way out of her system. In 1944, her appendix almost ruptured again. After her surgery the doctor told her he was surprised she was still alive since she had scars indicating her appendix had ruptured years before.

My mom lived through the depression, WWII, Korea conflict, Vietnam, the assignation of the President and witness men on the moon. She was a stay at home mom, but I will say she worked harder than any woman I ever knew. Along with the regular house chores that kept our home clean and shiny, my mom gardened, canned and froze the food she grew, kept flower gardens to make our yard colorful, helped with the yard work, sewed our clothes, cooked and baked. She also was a great fisher and hunter, which helped keep meet in the freezer.

My mom hated driving, it made her nervous and she gave up driving when she was about seventy. When my father passed away, she didn’t want to leave the home they had shared for over forty years. She again stepped up to the occasion. She began taking the Senior Citizens bus everywhere. She did all her own shopping and getting herself to and from her doctor’s appointments. She was seventy-six when my father died and she found the strength to live by herself another four years. I finally had to put my foot down and demanded she move across the street from our home. When she because afraid to stay alone we sold our two places and bought a big house for all of us. Sadly, mom had cancer and died six months later.

Just before mom slipped away into a coma, she asked me if she had been a good mother. I told her she was the best mom anyone would ever dream of having. It was me that hadn’t been a good daughter when I was young. She asked me if we fought a lot when I was growing up. Forgive me mom, because I lied and said no more than any other mom and teenaged daughter. Fact was we fought like cats and dogs. Too much alike in so many ways and I wanted to be different. I look back now and wonder why.

If you still have your mom, don’t wait for Mother’s day to tell her you love her. One day she will be gone and the opportunity will be gone also.

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