Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Memories of My Mother on her 105th Birthday….

Today my mother would have turned 105. How is that possible when I am only 30?!!

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my mother. Of course, every morning when I wake up and peer sleepily into the bathroom mirror I see Mom staring back at me! It would be nice to think that I have some of her other traits too. Mom had a great sense of humour. She was smart, well read, incredibly funny and always generous and giving of her time to help her family and others. At the same time, she could make a dollar stretch a long way. In her hands a piece of aluminum foil found multiple uses before it came to its final resting place in the rubbish bin. She was the original recycler. Most of all, she was very loving and lots of fun. She was also my best fan and favourite cheerleader and I miss her!

She was also very proud of her Irish heritage. Her mother emigrated to Canada from Dublin, Ireland, in the early years of the last century, marrying a fourth generation Canadian who was born and raised in the French River area. Mom was born in Copper Cliff (near Sudbury, Ontario), and had the copper coloured hair and Irish temperament that went with it. Born on St. Patrick’s Day, her mother had her christened Kathleen (after her best friend from Ireland) Patricia, but she was to have been called Patricia. She was never actually called either name, but that is a long story!

My mother was strong and feisty and very protective of my father, my brother William and me. She loved us with a fierce love, just as she loved her parents and her three sisters, Olive, Audrey and Grace. She adored her grandchildren Alexandra, Lachlan and John — and I know she would also have been crazy about her youngest grandson Malcolm, who was born thirteen months after she died and who carried her maiden name Crombie.

I wonder what Mom would think of our world today. She passed away in 1996, five years before 9/11. (So did my Dad, who died just five months before September 11th.)  Although she lived through the flu epidemic of 1918, she would have been too young to remember that devastating time personally, so I imagine that the current corona-virus pandemic would have been terrifying to her. On the other hand, she had a quiet but deep faith, and no doubt would have been able to share many stories from the Great Depression and the War years  that would have inspired us and given us encouragement for our own unsettling times. She was a great Encourager. She was my Harbinger of Hope.

Mom used to keep a copy of the following scripture verse taped inside the kitchen cupboard that housed her morning coffee cup:  “Jesus said,  ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.'” (Luke 17:6) Today I still look to her for courage and hope when I face difficult days.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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