Sunday, July 7, 2019

Insight: A mother’s love

By Lorraine Glowczak

“It’s really important to me that you all remain close and continue to get together once I’m gone,” my mom told me during one of her lucid moments in the final days of her life. “Can you make sure it happens?” I told her that I would, but I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.

My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on January 12, 2012, and at the age of 82, passed away twelve days later. I got to spend the last five of those days with her.

Her family was the most important aspect of her life and she held a fear that once she left this earth,
my four brothers and I would cease to gather. Our family dynamic isn’t necessarily dysfunctional, but like all human imperfections, we’ve had our share of ups and downs. Our mother could see how her five children’s varying approaches to and perspectives on life could easily force us to go our separate ways once the common glue that held us together was gone. It was her greatest fear.

Born in 1929, she was the product of the Great Depression and thus, left school during her freshman year to get a job. Admittedly, she didn’t enjoy school much, so making money was an attractive option for her, however, her ninth-grade education did not prevent her from knowing about the important aspects of life. Without academic research in family studies, my mom intuitively knew the important role family plays in the health of the individual and society as a whole. She knew that families provide security, love, support and a framework of values for all of us.

According to a University of Nebraska academic article entitled, “Creating a strong family: Why are families so important”, authors John Defrain, Gail Brand, Jeanette Friesen and Dianne Swanson state the following:

“Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world – and healthy individuals within healthy families are at the core of a healthy society. It’s in everyone’s best interest, then, to help create a positive environment for all families.”

The article goes on to say that families are the places where we begin the vital processes of socializing our children – teaching them how to survive and thrive in the world.

It is for this reason, my mom felt family was so important. I suspect she had the same talk with my four brothers when they said their own private goodbyes, because we have gathered in some form or fashion at least once a year - with ease - since her death. My own fear surrounding my inability to gather us together has been for naught. In fact, as I write this editorial, three* of my brothers and their wives are vacationing in Maine – visiting me and my husband. For seven solid days. All under one roof. For the first time in 50 years.

Today marks day four – and so far, so good. We’ve explored together, ate together, and – my mother’s favorite – laughed together. At moments in the past couple of days, I have wondered that if it weren’t for our mother’s love, if we would be together today. I suppose we will never know. I’m grateful our mom cared so much for our future as a family as we grow old, creating more memories before it is our own turn to leave this earth. For me and because I do not have children of my own, her foresight provides a deeper set of roots that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Tomorrow, we have plans for a whale watching tour. If you happen to hear of someone from the Noll-Glowczak family being thrown overboard deep in the great Atlantic – well – perhaps day six didn’t go so well. (Insert loud laughter from my brothers.)

*(Unfortunately, my oldest brother and his wife were keeping a promise to another family member and had to travel to California. But I promised that I would travel to Kansas this fall to see the both of them.)

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