Memories of Our Mom on Her Birthday

Our momma, Jane Ellen, made her earthly arrival 70 years ago today.
As a child, I kept her license tucked away in my drawer, my official proof that she did indeed once exist here when my young bereaved mind played tricks on me.


I didn’t give myself permission to honor her birthday until after I read Hope Edelman’s book, Motherless Daughters, in my mid-20s. Until then, thoughts of her always orbited the misery of her death. Hope’s work inspired me to widen my scope & begin to celebrate her life.


My Aunt D tells me I inherited her boisterous giggle, the sweetest words I’ve ever heard. My memories are few. I know our mom was hilarious & sweet. She rocked us & sang us You Are My Sunshine in her lovely accent. She was into the La Leche League & nutrition. She fed us sugar-free peanut butter before it was hip & forbade us to chew gum. She was the one to notice my missing chunk of hair & got me to confess I’d secretly cut a wad of Bubble Yum out of it. I remember dancing along to records on her feet & always think of her when Fleetwood Mac plays.


I’ll forever wish she was still here & remember with longing & gratitude the life she got to live in her 31 short years. We carry her with us, always. What we had & what we lost.

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