My mother passed away a few years ago from dementia and congestive heart failure. For 10 years I was primary caregiver, and in the last nine weeks of her life, I became a mother to her and looked after her as she did me when I was a child. The cycle of life had come full circle.
On this Mother’s Day, I remember her as she was much earlier in my life, and not the final days. And I remember the lessons of life that she taught me. So many of us remember “the look”, we would get from our mothers when we acted up or did something we shouldn’t have. In my first post, “Tiger Moms….”, I mention the bar of soap after the word shutup was spoken.
But some of my fondest memories of her now, are the little things she did and said when at the time you didn’t pay much attention to. She told you what to do, and you did it, always trusting she knew best. Those memories include the special clothing box up in the attic for my clothes that I no longer fit into. I had no brothers of sisters so hand-me-downs didn’t enter into the equation. That special clothing box was for St. Vincent’s Orphanage. “Remember the children who don’t have as much as you, who have no parents.”
She also had a special place in her heart for the Salvation Army. Whether true or not, she always believed that they were “first on the scene” to help people in times of disaster and great need. She would always tear up whenever she saw destruction or floods, people losing their homes to tornados and hurricanes. Perhaps because she lost her home once, on Christmas Eve during the Depression, because grandmother didn’t have the money for the mortgage. Perhaps, because she and dad worked so hard for so many years for the homes they did have.
So for this Mother’s Day, I’m remembering my mother and honoring her for the lessons she taught me about caring and sharing. I’m sending donations to organizations who are helping the victims of the catastrophic tornados that hit the South several weeks ago, and who will also be there to help people whose homes have been ravaged by flooding. There are so many mothers who are holding their familes together amid grievous losses, comforting bewildered children, and finding the strength to start over. As mother used to say, “there but for the grace of God, go I”
The Red Cross has two shelters set up in Tuscaloosa, temporary homes to 240 people so far. The relief organization provided meals for more than 600 people on Friday and is requesting more financial support. Donate to the Red Cross online RedCross.org, text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10, or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) to give money or schedule a blood donation.
The Salvation Army has spread out all over the South, helping with sustenance for tornado survivors in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Donate on the Salvation Army’s website at salvationarmyusa.org. Text “GIVE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation, or you can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769) and designate “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak”.
Save the Children is providing food, doctors and education for kids, and the organization is accepting donations at the Save the Children website. The organization will also accept donations by phone at 800 728-3843 during business hours.
World Vision, a Christian humanitarian group, focuses on children, aiming to lessen the emotional shock from the devastating tornado outbreak. Find out more or donate at the World Vision website, or call 1-866-56-CHILD (24453).
Catholic Charities are accepting donations for tornado victims at the Catholic Charities website, or you can donate by calling 1-800-919-9338.
Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund is accepting donations on its website, requesting donations by credit card or check.