During my teen years when I was struggling to figure out who I was and my mother was struggling to keep from strangling me, she often used someone else’s words to express her thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come in at night after being out with my friends and find either a Bible, or one of Erma’s articles on my pillow. If it was the Bible the passage she wanted me to read would be clearly marked. If it was Erma’s column, “At Wit’s End,” it was usually clipped neatly out of the paper and placed smack in the center of my pillow.
Looking back I know that mom used the Bible to try and save my soul and Erma to remind us both that we were human, and that sometimes laughter and looking at the lighter side of things can get us through tough times.
My mother was a smart woman. She knew I was a reader and that if for no other reason than curiosity, I wouldn’t (couldn’t) ignore what she had left me. She also knew I couldn’t back talk God or Erma, they were safe from my sometimes sarcastic tongue.
If you have never read Erma’s books or worse yet, never heard of her, you are missing out. Her take on motherhood, marriage and everyday life made her The Voice of her generation. My mother died of colon cancer at the age of 51 in 1990. Six years later I lost my surrogate mother, Erma, she was 69.
When we lose someone we love we can’t imagine life without them and when the hurt is new and your heart is aching with loss, it’s hard to believe that things will get better. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, in my opinion, it just makes them easier to live with. The memories come flooding back and soon you realize that even when someone is gone, their words live on in your heart. And so it is with my mother and Erma.When I miss my mom I read the letters she wrote me while I was away at college. When I miss Erma I read her books or old columns.
In fact just this morning I thought about one of Erma’s books (which inspired this whole post). The title of it is If Life is a Bowl of Cherries-What Am I Doing in the Pits? I decided that if I were to write a similar book I would entitle it, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries-What Am I Doing Beneath this Pile of Laundry?
If I ever go missing please tell someone to check the laundry room. I feel sure they will find me beneath a pile of dirty clothes!
On some web sites today is Tackle it Tuesday (www.5minutesformom.com)- Can you guess what I am going to tackle today?
And on this blog and my friend Laura’s (www.heavenlyhomemaker.com) it’s Gratituesday. Can you guess what else (besides Erma, her books and my mom and her Bible )I am giving thanks for today?