Best-selling author Brene Brown said the following lesson she learned from her mother was one of the greatest of her life:
“My mom taught us to never look away from people’s pain. The lesson was simple. Don’t look away. Don’t look down. Don’t pretend not to see hurt. Look people in the eye. Even when their pain is overwhelming.
And when you’re in pain find the people who can look you in the eye. We need to know we are not alone – especially when we’re hurting.”
Lessons learned from mom. Oh my, mine are countless. In the short 10 days since my mom’s passing, her lessons resonate with me more deeply than ever. Do you grow up when your mom dies? It feels like I have. It is like my soul has been renewed and I have a reborn purpose.
I wrote my mom’s obituary/memorial on the fourth anniversary of my beloved dad’s death. Needless to say, for a non-crier I was as tearful as a colicky baby. But, how cathartic the process. I had to go back over mom’s life and try to capture for print who she was and what she meant to so many. Thank goodness that my friend from youth Beverley Herrington Cheney wrote some words so beautiful that it captured my mom’s spirit. She generously allowed me to use the following words in mom’s obituary in the San Antonio and Austin newspapers. “Last week after hearing about your mom, I was telling someone I work with about her. This picture you posted so sums up my memories of Judy. Her laugh was contagious, healing, loving, welcoming, confidence building. I can close my eyes and see her as she looks in this photo and hear her laughter filling the air. My friend didn’t quite get the full picture of what her laugh was like, so I tried to explain to him. If Judy’s laugh was a color, it would be bright yellow and fill all the corners of a page…..if it were a smell it would be fresh cut flowers and the aroma of wonderful comfort foods wafting across y’all’s kitchen on Pulliam Drive… if it were a song it would surely be the Longhorn band playing the “Eyes of Texas”…and if it were an emotion it would be love. No one loved as purely, openly and fully as Judy.”
My mom met you as you were. She had a way of making you feel “enough” in her presence. There was no need to be more than what your best for that day happened to be. She knew your best was going to change from moment to moment. She encouraged cutting out nonsense from your life to get to your best self. She forgave, and she forgot, and she was unequivocally fair. She was generous beyond belief. She showed appreciation and deep joy at the smallest gestures. She was fairly immune to the opinions of others as far as it concerned her. She was brave enough to stand her ground and be disliked for doing so.
Lessons from Mom. How grateful am I to have had such a spectacular teacher? I wasn’t always a good student, Mom. But I give you my word, Judith Blanton Wilkerson, I am shooting for top of the class now. Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.