By Eugene C. Scott
My mom passed away in 2003. I still miss her. She was a fierce, tiny woman, who loved to work and drank coffee all day long. She was a single mom before that garnered any sympathy, help, or understanding. She held the reins of our stampeding family with pioneer strength, though sometimes futilely.
Mom was a fighter. Sometimes we had to live without things other kids had. But we never lived without pride and her determination.
She was beautiful too. After my dad passed, men chased her constantly, but never caught her. And determined. Among her many jobs, mom held a job at Walgreens well into her seventies, even struggling with emphysema.
She was sweet but crass.
“Wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up the fastest,” she would quip, except sometimes she didn’t say “spit.”
She taught me how to work and how hope makes you get up each day no matter. And she planted love in me. She loved me through all my crazy teen years and all my rotten treatment of her. Then she acted as if she knew all along I was going to be okay when God finally brought me to my senses. After I survived my own stupidity and she would send me birthday cards or letters, she wrote on the envelope in shaky letters, “Reverend Eugene C. Scott.” I laughed at that.
If I’ve loved anybody in my life, it’s because mom loved me first.
Fortunately, right before she died, I was able to sit on her bed with her, talking, praying, remembering, saying what needed to be said, thank you, I’m sorry, I love you, mostly. We laughed and cried and told stories too. And prayed more.
“They’re not your responsibility,” she said of the rest of the family. She was in pain and on a lot of drugs. “I’m ready to go home. I want to be with Jesus.” Finally we had hospice come and they took her out of her second story apartment on a stiff blanket-like chair. She sat in it grinning and waving like she was on a float and said, “I’m a queen.” Even though we all knew she was never coming back.
She was gone the next morning.
Still as I think of her–she would be 90 last month–there are things I would like to tell her. How strong she was and how much her strength added to my life. I would not have made it without her. How once again sharing a strong cup of coffee at her kitchen table in her small apartment would be worth a trip to the stars. She’s been on my mind and heart a lot.
That’s why, after my friend, Cliff Hutchison, sang the unfinished chorus of a song he had written about his mother, who like my mom had raised him as a single mom, I woke up in the middle of the night with a picture of the rest of the song in my head. I asked Cliff if I could work on it with him.
So, I wrote some lyrics out on a legal pad and he brought his guitar over to my study and sat in my ugly orange chair. I drew close to him in my desk chair, with the lyrics on the floor below us. We bantered and he sang. We crossed out words and added some back. And this, “Love Like You,” is what we came up with.
“Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom.” Thank you for loving me even when I didn’t deserve it.
11 responses to “A Mother’s Day Tribute: Love Like You”
Of COURSE you still miss her
She was God’s instrument in giving you life. Plus she was your mommy. And there is where rubber meets road.
Mommy means the woman who believes in you unconditionally, lives you wholly and expects the best. Mommy is the one who gave you life and keeps giving it.
Thank God for her!! And for mine!!! And for all those slightly crazy women who hung on.
I like that: “slightly crazy women who hung on.” That describes her. I do thank God for her.
Speaking as a mother, our precious “innocent” little children bring the reality of “new life” home to us in such a deep, and closely connected, personal way, that we are forever indebted to God for allowing us to bear his creation miracles. What an awesome process it is to carry new life — another complete and individual human being — within, and witness the development and bringing forth of someone who never existed before.
Although it’s “natural” and “happens every day”, something within a mother also “knows” that she is privileged to be participating in a process that originates and is empowered by forces that exist beyond this life,… that love her and this new being, and will continually “back her up” and inspire her, in the ongoing will and effort to survive,…
“Blessed are those” who have someone and something else to live for,… to love,… to protect,… to nourish,… to guide,… We know they ultimately “belong to God”, who loves them even more protectively than we do,… ultimately we are “empowered” by our roles as co-creators with the great God of the Universe,… Now, if that won’t give you a little “spit” in your relationship with “life”, I don’t know what will!
Thank you, God, for allowing us (mothers) to be so closely connected to the “life” you have given our children, that our “love is blind” to the variables and passing inconsistencies that you plan on “ironing out” eventually,… Strong mothers know that God is the ultimate faithful Father of all,…
edits: … loves them even more protectively and productively than we do …
I used your word “spit”, but probably meant “grit”,…
Hahaha. My mom used another “s” word.
nice song, by the way!!!!
Great posting that has brought back memories of my mom. She died suddenly and I will never forget the phone call from my uncle giving me the details of her massive heart attack. My sister and I traveled to Southern California to attend to the details, the funeral, her hundreds of close friends who wanted to be with us.
Mom was not perfect. She worked very hard to build a huge company, often neglecting us kids with her long hours of design and manufacture. She often had a bit too many martinis, smoked, but hey, she raised me, provided a beautiful home, math help, beautiful garden, vacation trips. When my dad died suddenly, and that’s a huge story, she was devastated with grief and in a major funk for 3+ years until she met a gentleman many years her senior. They got married BUT only after a phone call to me asking if “it would be alright” to remarry. What could I say!
She never had to work again, went to “pasture” and enjoyed leisure all over the world in fine hotels and resorts. Mom instilled in me a sense of drive and purpose and was so happy when I got that graduate degree in Medicine. Her many hours of work provided the dollars for that milestone in my life, no student loans to burden me! So I think of her often despite the rough edges!
Thanks for sharing. Did you get your sly, dry sense of humor from her too?
Yeah probably although lots of that came from my grandmother who was a no nonsense sorority housemother at UCLA (TriDelt), cut to the chase, very organized and business oriented. Had me listen to the Metropolitan Opera on Saturdays and to see Liberace at the Hollywood Bowl every year. That will give anybody a somewhat wry sense of humor. I also worked in a very upscale liquor store in Beverly Hills, around lots of goofy movie people…mANY stories.
Eugene, thank you for sharing such a heartfelt portrait of your mother. We’ve worked closely for four years, but through this portrait, I feel like I know you better.
Yesterday morning in worship, I realized that one way God shows his love for us is through the love of a mother. After your dad passed away, God showed his crazy, tenacious love through her.
Love this post, Eugene. Thank you for sharing your heart. Sometimes it means more when a man pours out his emotions. You are blessed and a blessing — both!