• Amy Shannon

Happy Mother's Day: In memory of my mother.

In memory of my mother, Sue Shannon, who died in January 1997 at the age of 44. There is never a day that I don't think of my mother, and I keep a picture of her and me (our last one together taken in 1990) by my bed. My boyfriend and my son, Bobby who was just a month old, and me, lived in the apartment above my parents. The night before she died, I had this undeniable feeling that I needed, absolutely needed to see my mother. Everyone was in bed, and I went downstairs and asked her to come up and hang out with me. We talked, watched TV, had snacks, and she fed Bobby and put him to bed. She hugged me and headed for the door, and before she left, she looked at me and said, "I love you, Aim," and smiled. I said, "Momma, I love you, too. See you tomorrow." The next time I saw her, I was doing CPR that didn't work, and I lost my mother. I knew she was gone before, but I kept thinking she had to come back. I needed her. How selfish was that?

My momma taught me how to be kind. One of the most important things that she ever taught me. She also taught me everything that I needed to know before I went out into the world on my own (actually got married). I learned a lot from my mother based on her behavior, not just her sitting down and telling me about things I needed to know (especially what it meant to becoming a woman.)

Since I could talk, I loved telling my mother stories, and when I could write, I wrote them down. She called me her little story teller. Momma, was also a storyteller. She wrote a never ending story, and she would hand write them in notebooks. She also kept a diary of her day, and a journal of her feelings. I wish my mother knew what all of us that knew and love her is that she was very special, and very smart. She just didn't see that in herself. She never thought she was smart enough, but she was really smart, and she knew kids, what they did, even before they knew that she knew. Momma was created and (yes, she hated being called Momma by me, but it was always meant to be endearing, and she knew that as well). Momma had a grand sense of humor, and even though my son, Louis never met her, he has the same one. She also knew things in her heart that we could never explain. When my first son was born, she crocheted me four baby blankets. And I asked her why four, when one was good, and she said they were for each of my sons. (The other three were years before even conceived).

Mom used to watch other people's children, and she treated each of them as a treasure, and was honored to be able to help another mother, while that mother worked. She taught mothers how to be mothers. She showed them that each child was precious, and that with care also came responsibility.

When Mom had her emotional breakdown, after memories of child abuse came flooding back, she changed, but she still loved. She loved with her heart and soul, and just wanted to get better and forget what that person did to her. I only know some details, and what I do know, was more horrific than I can imagine happening to anyone, let alone a child. She survived. Somedays were really bad for her, and some days were good. Her relationship with my father changed, and it got better as they learned about each other's feelings, emotions, and mental health. They became closer and celebrated 25 years of marriage before she died a few months later. She was so excited when she realized me, my brother and sisters, threw a surprise party for them, inviting their friends and family. And, we bought her the first real color TV she ever owned (the one that only displayed orange doesn't count).

When mom needed help, she relied on me and I was glad to do it. It wasn't always easy, but everyone deserves that one person you can count on, and even when I was little, I was there for her. I hope she knows how much ... no, I know she knows how much I love her. She is with me, and taught me how to be a person, a human being. And, even if you feel broken, you push on. Sometimes how you think of yourself can affect how others feel about you, but not with mom. She was always doubting herself, and she never truly realized just how smart and beautiful she was. On the outside, and definitely on the inside.

With mom, I found power in her creativity, and she encouraged mine. I just wish I could sit and listen to her stories more. I miss my mother, every single day. I write this to remind those who loved her, that she is still with us in heart and spirit. I always feel her with me.


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