You know, sometimes we think of our mothers as just “moms.” Later in our lives, we often realize how unique and special they really were. I’m not talking about moms like Hillary Clinton who might some day be president of the United States. I’m talking about the moms who cooked your breakfast in the morning and packed you a lunch for school. That kind of mom. Sometimes they do things that really surprise you by doing something you never expected.
I was looking at a quote just now that reminded me of something my mom did a long, long time ago that I haven’t thought about for probably more than half a century. But before I get into that, here’s the first thing she did that blew me away…
I’m the first of seven sons. Two of my brothers died in infancy. They were buried at my father’s plot in Woburn, Mass. My mom’s family was buried in Westminster, Mass. When she died she had herself cremated. Part of her was scattered with the boys in Woburn and the rest with her family in Westminster. I remember I thought that was one of the coolest things I’d ever heard of, and I was really proud of her for doing that. (As a sidebar: My dad was also cremated. Part of him was scattered off the mouth of Venice Inlet in Florida, a place he loved and had fished at a lot with my mom. Most of his ashes were buried in Woburn. After that my brothers, David, Jeff and Mark, and I went out to Westminster, each with a small Ziploc bag and scattered what remained of him at our mother’s grave.)
But what started this whole thing off was seeing a Louis Bourgeois quote that said: “Just remember that others don’t see what you do.” It was back around 1945 when my brother Jimmie died. Of course, back then, there was nothing like heart transplants going on, but they were doing corneal implants and despite her grief my mom’s thinking was so ahead of her time that she donated her baby’s eyes so someone else could see. It’s a shame that I hadn’t remembered that for so long, and remembered what a unique way of thinking she had.
That’s me on the left in the photo, and my brother Jimmie on the right.