Thursday, May 8, 2008

Memories of Mom

Mother's Day is rapidly approaching and as it does, I am always struck with sadness that my mom is no longer here so I can celebrate the day with her. She's been gone for 30 years and hardly a week passes when I don't think about how many things we never got to share or how much I could use her advice or a shoulder to cry on.

My mother was an avid reader, who quite likely set me on the path my life has taken. Not only did she get me hooked on romance novels, but she actually loved to write, even more than I did . . . or do on a day when the words aren't coming easily. She never saw my first book in the stores or even knew I was attempting to write one.

There is, however, one story I like to tell about her longtime friend, who now lives in South Carolina and whom I see each year as I drive north or south between Florida and Virginia. Dottie was in a bookstore one day, hunting everywhere for my latest. She had the clerk looking as well. Suddenly a book fell from the shelves. It was mine. When she told me of this amazing coincidence, I replied, "That was no coincidence. That was my mama." We still laugh about the idea that even from the hereafter, my mother's doing her part to promote my career.

Mom was a wonderful listener, a trait that endeared her to all my friends. I still recall, as I sit on the front porch of my home in Virginia with these same friends today, all the times they would sit in the exact same place -- if not the same chairs -- and spill all their secrets and dreams to my mother. It's little wonder that these people are like siblings to me. We grew up with the same woman encouraging us, building our confidence, comforting us when we were hurt.

There are days it's almost impossible for me to believe that she's been gone from my life almost as long as she was a part of it, but that's the nature of the relationship, isn't it? Moms influence us, become a part of who we are, stay with us always.

So for all of you whose moms are still with you, I hope you'll spend time with them this week. More importantly I hope you'll spend time with them when it isn't
Mother's Day. Treasure the time you have, because it can end all too suddenly.

And for those of you who, like me, no longer have your mom to turn to, to be there for all the triumphs and tragedies in your life, treasure the memories that remain and take some time this week to rejoice in those.

Sherryl Woods


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