Our first picture together
It has been just 23 years since I last saw my mother. I remember when I saw her last very clearly, as it was a few days after Mother’s Day 1992. She had beaten <we thought> throat and mouth cancer but had some lingering problems that seemed to be caused by her chemotherapy treatment. Her memory would fail from time to time and she couldn’t seem to gain back the weight she had lost during treatment. I called her on Mother’s Day and she sounded somewhat down so I asked her if she’d like to visit. It warmed my heart to hear her enthusiastic yes to my suggestion and I hopped in the car to drive the few hours to pick her up. After spending some time with her it was clear to me that she wasn’t functioning very well and so became concerned about leaving her alone when I went to work. She stayed with my daughter for a bit and then went to stay with a friend for a day or two until I drove her home again. As I left her house she came out into her driveway to wave goodbye to me – an unusual occurrence – her reflection in my rear-view mirror is still in my memory. I wondered if that would be my last sight of her, and it was. She died a few weeks later from lung cancer and was cremated.
My mother was a very courageous woman. She held our family and my father together through his late stage alcoholism and then married another to take his place. He outlasted her however. She never let up on us girls <there were four of us> during our growing up, and always expected our best. I can thank her for that – and damn her as well. I’m very thankful that she made me a woman who doesn’t give up easily and sad that she failed to nurture the soft side of my personality. Several years before her death we became friends and I still miss her.
Since this is to be a genealogy post, my mother was born Florence Winifred Collins in 1922 to Marie Catherine Munshausen and Frederick Silas Collins and adopted the name Craig when her mother remarried in the late 1920s. She married my father Arthur Oliver Sanders, Jr (1921-1967) and they had four daughters, three of whom are still living.
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