Mondays with Mom: Important

Joy Purcell, the owner/editor, of nowhabersham.com, has been a friend of mine since junior high school. Although our lives together have ebbed and flowed through our adult years, I consider her an important friend. When she asked me three years ago to write a regular article about my journey with Mom through her dementia, I immediately said yes. The idea of a book along those lines had been percolating in my brain for a while and this seemed a perfect outlet.

It has been important for me to share my story and today’s article is all about honoring the most important person in this journey. “Important” is one of those words I don’t use often in everyday conversation, but, for all of us, those things and people we decide are important dictate how we spend our time and live our lives.

im·por·tant

ADJECTIVE

  • of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being.

· vital · indispensable · critical · essential · significant · urgent · central · fundamental · basic · number-one · of value · valuable · valued · useful · of use · beneficial · necessary · essential · indispensable · vital · of the essence · of concern · of interest · relevant · pertinent · material · germane

  • (of a person) having high rank or status.

If I were to choose only one person who directly influenced my life the most, it would be Mom. Of course, she gave me life and nurtured me through those first years, but she did so much more than that. I’ve mentioned before that she chose to be a stay-at-home mother. In an era when most mothers worked jobs outside the home, I knew this was a wonderful novelty. She had her groups and clubs and activities that kept her busy, but I know that I was her primary “job” – as were my siblings when they were growing up. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was the only child left at home so I received the bulk of Mom’s attention.

It was important for all of her children to play the piano so we all took lessons and continue to play in our adult lives. Family relationships were important to her and we are all still connected to each other in the Bunn family of origin and to the next generation of marriage, children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and in-laws. Faith and the importance of a relationship with God is still the bedrock of her life and she shared that with us. Friendships, sharing our abundance, really loving our neighbor: these are all important things she impressed upon all of us.

Since I was the last of her brood, I had lots of time with Mom one on one. She spent hours upon hours making me practice piano, do my homework, and clean my room. We walked the woods (as long as the ticks weren’t out), did crafty things (although I didn’t have the patience for sewing or cooking), enjoyed flower gardening, and shopping. She was a tough disciplinarian and gentle friend. I was always important to her and she loved me enough to send me to high school in another state.

Until recently, I thought it was my piano teacher, Ruth George, who found out about North Carolina School of the Arts and encouraged me to audition for a spot in their piano program. It was actually Mom who somehow found out about the school and orchestrated the audition and talked Dad into letting me go away for my last two years of high school. As a mother now, I don’t know how she did it! I was only sixteen when I moved to Winston-Salem, NC. To stay connected, we would talk for 15 minutes on Thursday nights at 10:30 and write occasional letters. She knew it was important to let me out of Habersham and into a world that would challenge my piano skills and make me grow up.

She continues to be so very important to me. Her influence deserves more than one article. For more on this beautiful woman, I’ll write again next week.

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