Mother’s Day makes me happy, a little sad and very proud.
I’m happy because my mom, Nancy Laura Webster Williams, is still alive at 86. I’m a little sad because she’s living in a total care facility in Sacramento which is too far for me to visit when I want to. And as much as I’d like to describe her as still being as lively and funny as she was at 30 or even 50 that’s just not the case.
I sent flowers and candy to mom for arrival on Mother’s Day. I’ll try to phone her Sunday but she doesn’t usually pick up the phone unless my brother has been there just a few minutes earlier and she’s expecting my call.
When I do talk with Mom she doesn’t seem depressed or sad. She’s not exactly happy, either. She’s in a bit of a fog though still present and responsive, if somewhat confused. She still tries to project enthusiasm and optimism though it’s not entirely convincing. Not to me, anyway. I know her; I am her.
She had a lot of roller coaster emotions in her life and seems to have smoothed them out.
She’s always happy to hear my voice and tells me so several times during each brief call. Then when we run out of things to say say too soon I tell her I love her she tells me she loves me too. She says it with the lucid fire of a mother’s heart.
Then she says goodbye and calls me Jim (my brother).
I always laugh about that. She sees my brother frequently so she gets us mixed up just a bit.
(Besides, when I was still a child and Mom was barely in her 30s she frequently called me Rusty, our dog’s name. So, brother Jim, you should feel honored.)
Mom has always made me laugh. She still has a sharp and sophisticated sense of humor that stabs through the fog of her slowly fading existence.
My late dad taught me to be confident, proud and respectful. Mom gave me my sense of humor and optimism.
“This can be a good day or a bad day, it’s all up to you.”
— Nancy Williams
I don’t know when she first told me that but it stuck. I’m sure she said it when I was a very young school boy lying in bed on an early school morning in North Highlands, California. I have never forgotten it.
When she passes I will cry but I’ll also have a huge, stupid smile on my face.
She taught me to laugh and to love my life.