Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Mother


This month is my mother's birthday.  She died 31 years ago just 2 months shy of her 51st  birthday.  I miss her so much.  This is a tribute to her and is one of the short stories that will be going into my book of collections, "Me, My Family and GOD". 

“I’m just a mom”, I sigh at the end of the day.
No one cares what I do or what I say
It doesn’t matter that I have cooked and cleaned and slaved all day
I’m still just a mom at the end of the day.

“Mum I love you” my granddaughter says
As she throws her arms around me.
“Dear, have I told you how much I love you today”?
Asks my loving honey.

“Mommy can I get you something?  Are you all right?”
Questions my oldest girl.
Wait! I don’t understand what is happening
As my head begins to swirl.

What happened to “I’m just  a mom?”
To those who love me I am mom, mommy, mother, dear
Mum, grandma, sweetheart, someone who’s calm
And suddenly it all becomes so clear
I hold the most sacred calling of all...Motherhood.
Mary L. Walling 4/2011
I stop to think about the most wonderful mother I knew.  My mother.  There is not a day goes by that I don't think about her.  She was always there for me and for my brothers and sisters and my dad.  As a matter of fact she was always there for everyone.  We just didn't know how many everyones. 
Mother was born and raised by a single mom during the depression in Hampton, Tennessee.  She was an only child.  She had 13 aunts and uncles.  They were all born and raised in the same 2 story wood frame house on the same farm. My great grandfather was a farmer who owned slaves, but worked along side them in the fields.  He was so poor that he would steal milk from the neighbor next to him in order to feed my mother, but never more than that. 
Mother met my dad on a blind date in early 1951 and they were married in a little Methodist church in Meigs, Georgia in late 1951.  Daddy was a  Southern Baptist and as the children came along, they would take turns taking us to Mass at the Catholic church or to services in the Baptist church.  Daddy was in the Air Force and so we traveled alot.  While in France, my parents served as Choir Director and Sunday School President for the Presbyterian Church.  We were now involved in 3 different churches.  As children this was confusing for us.  So the search for a church we could all belong to began.  Since missionaries serving in France could not teach the Americans, it was up to Ward Missionaries to teach the American families stationed in France.  My dad worked with such a man.  Once he learned about my parents search for a family religion, he asked my dad if he could come teach our family about his religion.  Dad queried as to what religion he was and when he learned "Mormon" my dad was more than hesitant and mother was horrified.  Finally though, dad let him come.  Several weeks later, my parents were baptized and my sister and I followed a month later.  Once baptized, my parents threw themselves into the service of the Lord.  A year to the day of their baptism, my parents took us to the Swiss temple where we were sealed for "time and all eternity".
Mother never did anything half way.  It was always all or nothing.  She served in the Primary as a Primary President and in the Relief Society as a Relief Society President.  She also taught Primary and Relief Society.  The only organization she never served in was Young Women.  I watched as she filled her callings 120%.  She never let anyone do without-family, friend, neighbor or stranger.  We knew mother served with the pure love of Christ, but never as much as we thought until she passed away.
My father worked 2 jobs to support our family after he retired from the Air Force.  He was drawing his retirement and 2 checks from jobs he was working but there never seemed to be enough money.  He would fuss that mother spent it as fast as he earned it.  He just never knew where it went.  Mother was never one to let anyone go without.  I watched as she took a lovely young woman and her children under her wings and become her mother away from home.  This young woman had given up a very promising mucical career to marry well beneath her means a man that did not fully appreciate her.  She loved him dearly for whatever reasons.  She left Salt Lake City and moved into the "boonies" as we called it into a trailer in the middle of nowhere.  He gave her a pitence of an allowance and she had to account for every penny.  She never had any extra to buy something for herself or for the children.  Sometimes not even enough to put substansial groceries on the table.  If she wanted anything extra, she would have to take change a little at a time from his pocket at night and hide it until there was enough to get what she needed. Mother would go visit her and make sure that she and the children had what they needed...food, clothes, hygiene supplies, toys, etc.  This always came out of mother's pocket. 
Mother would see a stranger on the street that needed something to eat.  No matter what she was doing, she would stop, go into a grocery store, buy groceries and take it back to the stranger on the street.  She always knew there were children somewhere that needed to eat and she would not let them go hungry.
As a Relief Society President, before there were Bishop's storehouses she could use, she would have to go into the home and determine the needs of the family and report back to the Bishop for his approval.  She always had to have a witness.  On several of these occassions, I accompanied her.  I knew before I went in with her and so did she, that the parents would not meet the Bishop's approval.  She would leave after the interview, go home, enlist the help of my 2 grandmothers and pull groceries from her shelves and those of my grandmothers.  What they did not have, she would purchase from the store and return to the home she had just come from with groceries for at least 2 weeks making sure the children were fed.  She would never let the children do without bacause of the parents mistakes.
Mother was always in church every Sunday.  I remember her sitting in the foyer  one Sunday with my youngest brother who was just a baby.  He was having a rough day of it.  A sister approached mother and asked why she even bothered to come to church as she seemed to spend most of her time in the foyer.  Without missing a beat, mother replied, "Because I am where the Lord wants me to be".  Whether mother was sick or well, she made sure her children were at their meetings.  She would sit in the parking lot and wait for them, but they were where the Lord wanted them to be.  Even the week she died, she made my youngest brother go to scout camp.  She died while he was there, but she died knowing he was where he was supposed to be. 
After mother died, we learned just how much she had done for those around her that she never said anything about.  She truly performed the way Jesus would have wanted her to.  She perfomed with the pure love of Christ. 
At mother's funeral, daddy had several people approach him that he did not know to thank him for what mother had done for them.  They had no idea that daddy knew nothing about mother's gifts of charity to these people.  He did however find out that he was not only supporting his own family, but the families of others due to mother's charitable deeds of service. 
A young woman who was a friend of my youngest sister came up to my dad to thank him for what mother had done for her.  Her parents could not afford to buy her a prom dress for the prom.  My sister told mother about it  so mother took her to the store and bought this young woman a prom dress so that she would be able to attend the prom.
A young man whose parents decided that at the age of 18 they would no longer support him and threw him out with no where to go, took him, found him an apartment, paid the deposit, the first and last months rent and put groceries in for him until he could get on his feet was thankful to my dad for what mother had done for him.  These and several other stories came to my dad at my mother's funeral.  Now he knew why there was never enough money.  Through mother's desire to serve the Lord, through her desire to be a daughter the Lord would be proud of, to be humble, to be able to hear Him say "Well done thou good and faithful daughter" she went the extra mile to serve her Heavenly Father to the fullest degree of her potential and to fill her true calling as a mother not only to her own children, but to all those the Lord put within her  reach.


  1. Beautiful tribute, Mary. Your mother was amazing, and you take after her:-)

  2. What a lovely, heart-touching tribute, Mary. Your mother must have been a wonderful person. Can you imagine what special angel she is now? She died so young, too! Thanks for sharing this.


  3. It was a beautiful tribute. My mother is almost 89 and is becoming quite frail, so you tribute to you mother touched me even more.