By Chuck Woodbury
I lost my mother 13 years ago. It seems like yesterday. I think of her nearly every day. I miss her terribly.
She was a happy, happy person. That was her nature. My father was more serious. When she was around him, she was quieter. But without him, she was full of it: She reminded me of a college girl — so youthful in spirit.
I tell the story sometimes about driving her from Northern California after my father died to live with me in Seattle. That turned out to be only five months before her own death (those months by her side ended up being the most rewarding, happiest time of my life).
She was in the passenger seat. She loved being on the road. Her father and mother took her and her brother on a trip on Route 66 in the early 1930s from Southern California to Chicago. Maybe that’s where she fell in love with road trips. She and my father owned RVs for most of their married life and traveled often with them.
As we passed through Oregon, she spotted a huge barn in a farm field off the east side of Interstate 5. In huge letters — they must have been at least 12 feet tall — spread from the front of the slanted roof to the back, was the single word ANTIQUE.
I observed her as we passed. I had noticed the barn myself. I saw the gears in her head spinning. “I guess they only have one antique,” she said.
That was my Ruthie — always finding something to say that just came out funny. I know I got my sense of wanderlust from her and my often sarcastic sense of humor, too.
I miss her now so much. If your mother is still living, call her. Visit her. Tell her how much you love her. She won’t always be there. I wish I could have my Ruthie back for even one day. I have so many questions for her that I put off asking when she was alive. And I want to give her a big hug and a big kiss and tell her how much I love her and how much I appreciate everything she did for me, from changing my diapers to being my biggest fan when I grew up and became a writer.
Happy Mother’s Day, Ruthe Elizabeth Woodbury, wherever you may be.
Thanks for sharing a beautiful tribute to your Mom. Spent yesterday with my 96 year old Mom. Alas, dementia is taking its toll. But there is nothing like a family bbq dinner topped off with a chocolate sundae to keep us all staying the moment. Life is fragile. Love. Live. Enjoy something every day.
Nice tribute Chuck. I lost my mother 27 years ago and she would have been a 100 this year and I still miss her
Thank you, Chuck. My Mother is still alive and I was able to spend yesterday morning with her shopping. We do every other weekend. She doesn’t travel anymore but I remember trips with her and my Father. Made me smile. We did lose my husbands Mom earlier this year and he just wanted to skip this holiday. Don’t blame him. Thank you again for the article. It helps.
I lost my mother 5 years ago at the age of 93. Like you Chuck, I miss her every day and wish I could see her again. Holidays will never be the same but Mothers day is the most difficult for me.
I lost my mom two years ago – at the young age of 99½. We were rooting for her to make 100 but alas, it didn’t happen. I think she just got tired. She said she was “getting tired”. The good thing was, she was still mobile and dementia free. Just old(er).
Wonderful piece about your mother Chuck. I lost my mother in 1969 and still think about her and miss her. Thanks to her I still have the good memories of her and my child hood