The Mother I Never Knew


My mother died when I was just a year and a half old. I was too young to remember much about her, and my father didn’t talk about her. I know from pictures of her, and from talking with my uncles, that she was a beautiful woman both physically and spiritually. I missed her every day of my young life.

After Mother died, I lived with my grandmother while my father taught school and moved from town to town. Then when I was eight years old, my father, who had remarried, wanted me returned to him. I found myself with a father I didn’t know, and a stepmother and two baby sisters that I didn’t know. Later two younger brothers were added to the family.

I had a difficult time adjusting to a new family. Part of it may have been my fault, but I never did feel accepted. What’s worse, my father was a very strict individual, given to almost insane rages. This did not contribute to family harmony or communication. I can’t say that our life was a very happy one.

It’s been many years since those childhood days. I’ve grown up and have spent my professional life as a pilot, in part providing emergency flights for infants that are seriously ill or injured. It’s a career that demands a practical approach to life. I don’t think anybody could call me over-imaginative or given to hallucinations. I’ve always figured a fact is a fact is a fact.

And the fact is, when I was 13, we were living in a small town, and my bedroom was a little lean-to that was built on the back of the house. I had been physically injured, hurt, and was very, very depressed. That night I lay in bed and cried and prayed. I wanted my mother.

In the quiet darkness, she visited me. I felt her influence. I saw her and she said, “Do not despair. You are deeply loved.” Then she was gone.

I will never forget those words. There was a calm. I felt better and went to sleep.

The next morning I didn’t dare tell anybody what had happened. I was afraid I’d be ridiculed or possibly even punished. I’ve never told anyone about this until today.

And yet this memory has stayed with me through my entire life. The mother I never knew penetrated the veil between our world and the other world. I know a mother’s love is strong enough to do this, because I have experienced it.

[illustration] Illustrated by Bryan Lee Shaw

Show References

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    This talk was originally delivered as part of a Mother’s Day program. Because of the sensitive nature of the story, the author’s real name has been changed.