Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I don't have many pictures of my Mom. The few that I do have are very old, from my parents' wedding and up to around the time I was a small child. She didn't like to have her picture taken.

She wasn't what would be considered "beautiful", in our beauty-obsessed culture. She was more what would be considered a "handsome woman". She was strong, and sturdy, with a strong nose and wide smile and eyes. She wore plain clothes and no makeup other than lipstick. She was a Mom, and any pretentiousness didn't matter anymore. She had a job to do raising three sons.

She made our lunches, sent us off to school, made us come straight home afterwards, made us do our homework, was a Cub Scout Den Mother, slapped us when we were bad, sang silly songs to us, hugged us mercilessly, made dinners we didn't like (but we never starved), made us hang tinsel on Christmas trees a single strand at a time, kept every single picture we ever drew, gave all my friends rides home from school, held a friend of mine for an hour when her father died of a heart attack at our lake house when she was 12, complimented everyone, had beautiful grey-blue eyes, always apologized when she had been wrong, taught us that you can be mad at someone and dislike things about them and still love them unconditionally, told me I was handsome and made me believe it.

At the beginning of my sophomore year in high school, she found out that she had cancer. It was too late ... it had already spread through her body. She had a mastectomy, then a couple of weeks later had a tumor removed from her spine. She was paralyzed from the waist down after that operation.

A few days before she died, she couldn't speak from the tubes in her throat. She wrote notes to my Dad, who was by her side at every second.

I had always been a sensitive child ... I used to cry when I left the house to go to school when I was in grade school. I would get homesick sleeping at a friend's house for the night. She knew, way back then, that I wasn't like everyone else. I always thought she would hate me because of who I was (even though I didn't really know what "that" meant at the time), but I saw one of the notes she had written for my Dad at the hospital:

"Please make sure Matt understands".




I desperately hope she would be proud of who I am. I miss her like crazy, even 25 years after her death.

Happy Mother's Day, Jeanne Irene Coney R*****. You were always beautiful.


14 comments:

madhousesix said...

what an amazing, beautiful tribute.

i'm tearing up a lil'.

jo said...

I always thought your mom was so much fun whenever we visited. I remember those Christmas trees with the tinsel. They were the most beautiful trees I had ever seen. And the silly songs...I remember your mom and dad going with us to Santa's Village one winter when we were little, and she was singing some song about a paw paw patch. Since she had all of you boys, I think she thought of my sister Beth as her own daughter. Beth used to babysit for you boys once in a while. I think Meg and I look a lot like your mom. Definitely all Coneys. Honey, she would be very proud of who you are, and would love you with all her heart and soul. ((((hugs))))

LSL said...

Wonderful, Matter. Just wonderful.

Claudia said...

thank you for your mothers day wishes today Matt.

Sorted Lives said...

What a beautiful tribute. She would be proud of the man you have become.

Paul said...

You've got some great memories there.

Darth Gateau said...

I love this post. It sums up everything good about mums. You have been blessed to have had such an amazing person in your life and you certainly don't seem to have taken it for granted. It's made me want to call my mum straight away.
Just brilliant.

cb said...

You needed a NSFW designation on this as I'm crying a bit at my desk now.

And she looks beautiful to me in that picture.

Mr Jones said...

And shed a tear.. The main thing is you remember her with a lot of love.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

So sorry Matt that she left you too soon in your and her young life. What a beautiful way to remember her.

Jason said...

What a beautiful tribute :)
Big hugs Matt!

Brad (from IU) said...

Matt: What a great tribute to your mom! I am sure that she would have been proud of you. I just lost my grandmother (my mom's mom) two weeks ago; just before she died we had several "heart to hearts" where she told me that she was proud that I picked good people to "hang around with." Out of all my high school and college friends, she remembered you and told me that you were one her favorites - you must have made a great impression. She told me in that same talk not to take for granted any time in the future, and to take the time to reach out to people who are special to us, so I promised her that I would let you know what she thought of you! Your mom would have been proud of you and the person you became!

Michael said...

Oh, Matty, you made me cry! What a beautiful moving tribute to a an equally beautiful woman. You were blessed to have her as your mom. xoxo

Lewis said...

I love your sensitivity, your heart, and spirit. Mom did good!