“My name is Vivian”

It is hard for me to put into words how very grateful I am for my mother. Also hard to say how difficult it is that I cannot just pick up the phone and give her a call to try and express my feelings, because as hard as it would be for me to articulate my thoughts, it would be harder still for her to understand them. The fog of dementia has robbed my mother of most all ability to interact and converse.

That said, I am keenly aware that she is there and I daily offer prayers for her and wish to be able to see her – regardless of whether she is aware of my presence or not. As a storyteller, I am aware that my story is so intricately connected to my mother’s story. I am also aware of how much our collective story is woven tightly with God’s story. God gifted me and my six siblings with a hardworking and loving mother. She is a great sign to me of God’s generosity toward me and her many acts of generous love are a great example of how much God loves us.

In his novel For One More Day Mitch Albom writes:

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”

I was deeply moved when I read those words the first time. The stories my mother shared over the years about her childhood, her youth, her meeting dad, her hard working years of childrearing and homemaking, of grand-parenting, of care-giving, of ministering in her church, all of these stories are really the beginning of my story.

Over the years, there have been times I broke my mother’s heart, and there have been times I made her proud. There have been times I made mom weep and times I made her laugh. There have been times I made mom worry and times when I reassured her. My mother has lived many highs and lows in loving her children. She has celebrated all of our highs and has been a comfort to us in our lows. She has celebrated and she has grieved. Mom does not say much nowadays, but trapped in her mind are thousands of stories – most of which are about her children and their children and their children’s children. In that same novel, Albom writes  “I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” While I know this is not true for everyone –  I can say that I rings very true for me.

So If I could sit with her today, even if she were unable to say much to me, or even take in what I might say, I would offer a prayer of thanksgiving for that in her precious story is the beginning of my story – and six others stories.  I love you Mom – Thank you!