Reflecting on the Memories of My Mom

Jeanine Lebsack

This year marked the eighth Mother’s Day without my mom.

This story was all but asking to be told, as everything I’ve said and done recently has had me pondering what to write. I have sat in prayer and meditation and reminded myself to not just feel sadness. I have dug deep into the depths of my heart and thought about the memories I’m thankful my mom and I share. 

I’m thankful she always let me be uniquely me. 

I’m thankful she encouraged me in my reading, writing, and entire life to shine like a star. 

I’m thankful for all the late nights she stayed up with me, rocking me to sleep as a baby, especially when she was exhausted with my dad’s work schedule. 

I’m thankful for the lullabies she sang to me night and day. I loved to hear the sound of her voice; it was absolutely beautiful and one of the things I miss about her the most. 

I’m thankful for everything she read to me – whether it was a Disney story, Anne of Green Gables book, or simply an issue of Readers Digest. She gave me my love of the written word and taught me that one of the most amazing adventures I could have was within the pages of a book. 

I’m thankful for all the songs she taught me – from moving spiritual hymns to an Irish tune. Danny Boy was one of her favourites. I grew up listening and learning as she and Gram sang it. This song holds the most amazing memories for me. I sing it every year for her and imagine our heavenly duet filling the sky with our voices. 

I’m thankful for her love of Elvis Presley. By the time I was seven I had heard and memorized every song, saw all his movies, and poured over every magazine article. I’m proud that I was raised in the “church” of Elvis. I still have a love and appreciation for his music. 

I’m thankful for her amazing storytelling ability. With her words and the inflection, she made stories come to life; she made characters jump off the page. She had wonderful impressions and used voices that made these characters feel like family to me. One of my favourite things to do with my kids is read to them. They always say “Do the voice Mom! That makes us laugh.” 

I’m thankful for how loving she was to family and friends. She would always have the kettle on and be ready for a chat over a pot of tea. The kids in my neighbourhood always knew they could come to our house to have a meal or a shoulder to cry on. It made me feel proud that she was loved by so many.

I’m thankful for her talent in the kitchen. She could make a yummy casserole by putting in everything in it but the kitchen sink. She loved to grocery shop and loved getting my sister and me a special treat for our lunches. I still can’t eat a Twinkie without thinking of Mom. 

I’m thankful for her laughter. She could laugh politely when she had to, but what I loved the most is when she thought something was so funny she’d throw back her head and roar with laughter. I was always doing goofy things to make her belly-laugh. It was music to my ears. 

I’m thankful for how I felt when I was with her: loved and important. She made every conversation I had with her a priority – whether I was talking about the mundane life of Dick and Jane, sad about failing a math test, or happy about a story I was writing and felt connected to my words.

My mom was my gift, and I’m so grateful she brought me into the world so I could fall in love, marry my amazing husband, and become a mom to our precious sons.

As I reflect each year as Mother’s Day passes by, I know that she flies with the angels now. I hear her whispers in the wind.