Today would have been the 92nd birthday of my adopted mother, Ruth. Although we weren’t related by blood, she was always the mother of my heart.
From my earliest years, she taught me the values of kindness, patience, loyalty, and forbearance, not by lectures but by her daily example. Her patience exceeded that of anyone I’ve ever known. She showed unwavering kindness in the face of cruelty. She quietly went about her life doing good works, not expecting rewards or accolades, but simply because it was the right thing to do.
The final lesson she taught me was about aging and self-determination.
Always independent, she insisted on living by herself in her own home, even after a stroke several years ago. That worried her other daughter and me no end. We had nightmares of her tumbling down the long steep staircase, or passing out in the large yard that was her pride and joy.
When we tried to step in and move her to safer circumstances, Mama said NO. In more than sixty years, she’d almost never been cross with me. So that emphatic NO made a big impression.
She wanted to remain in charge of her life and her decisions. She was willing to accept risks to her safety because independence and freedom were more important. She didn’t have many more years left and she was going to live out the remaining days on her terms. That was her right.
While that decision was hard to accept, it made me respect her more. She was ready for whatever happened, good or bad, because she had faith she would go home to her Lord in Heaven.
She stayed in her home until her final stroke last year.
Today, I like to visualize her celebrating her birthday with loved ones who went before. And of course with her favorite desserts–Mud Pie and coconut cream pie.
Happy Birthday, dear Mama, and have a slice of both!