I am the one in red.. My sister Robin and mother are both passed.
Mother’s Day Glue by Linda Knight Seccaspina– Sherbrooke Record Column
At one time our grandmothers would wear a rose, either white or red, on Mother’s Day. The white was for those who had passed and the colour red was for the living. My mother passed away decades ago but I will not be wearing a white rose because the memory of my mother lives with me every hour. As the shadows lengthen and the days pass more swiftly; I am older and I grow to miss her more and realize just what she meant to me.
I am not writing this to be personal, but to tell the story of a mother I knew better in years after she passed. I often wonder if the world would not have been better had there been more mothers like my own. She told me she had never kissed any man except my father in the Cowansville Post Office. At night she would read wonderful stories I was too small to read but I learned the greater things of life through all of the books in which she was interested in. By the time I began to read for myself she had cultivated in me a taste for better literature. We sometimes wandered through the woods of Calls Mills together gathering flowers. There seemed to be so much to learn and I could not follow her then, or I did not try perhaps. In those days I was interested in less important things. Now I regret it.
I was too young to realize that her sickness was taking her away from us. Then before I could comprehend what was going on my mother had passed. I shall never forget coming back to the empty house into an empty room where I had gone to seek her for everything.
Friends have told me that I am rather brave, but my bravery wasn’t with me the day she died. I went out and lay down upon the ground where we had planted Lilies of the Valley. When my mother passed my father gave me her suitcase that she had taken to the hospital. When I opened up the blue Samsonite suitcase a few days later a bottle of her perfume Coty’s Lily of the Valley had broken inside it. For years after that suitcase still smelled of Lily of the Valley and her memories.It’s not fun to be motherless any day of the year, but sometimes you have no choice in the matter. Is one ever ready to lose a mother? Some days I feel I missed out on so much, but because of a kind neighbour
named Agnes Rychard in Cowansville, Quebec–a little of my mother was returned to me.
We all have issues to deal with. I think this is part of life’s journey back to our true pure selves, but without a real feeling of love early on, it’s challenging. How do motherless children get through Mother’s Day? I personally would like to think that some of us have had people like Agnes in our lives. Adoptive mothers, or those that chose to be by our side, were born with the ability to change someone’s life. They gave us places to feel safe, loved, and shed a few tears.
Agnes remembered each and every birthday with a greeting card, and we still sometimes swap photos, stories and treasured mementos through the mail. She allowed me to know my mother in a new way. Thanks to her, when I look at these mementos I discover new pieces of my mother all the time.
This woman took the time to rescue snippets of my mother’s plants while a construction crew tore my childhood home down. With my horticultural talents, I successfully ended up killing every plant she gave me, but I still got to enjoy them for a short time. I always knew in my heart she had a dream, but there was never an ounce of anger shown when my late sister and I chose others over her sons for partners.
To all these women who took the time to befriend a young girl or boy in their time of need I am sending you my heart. If your doors had not been open we would have never become part of your “kitchen table family”. Mine was a table that was filled with comfort food, conversation, accompanied by the songs of Hank Snow and Jim Reeves playing in the background.
I used to hate Mother’s Day, but thanks to Agnes, my mother still lives somewhere within me in a very real way. Each of those moments and days she spent with me worked to create a world in which my sons will carry me within themselves as they move forward in their lives, no matter what lies ahead. These women were always busy with their own families and their hands were always full, but so were their hearts.
In memory of Agnes Perrott Rychard who passed away in August 2021..