I’m really not one for remembering death dates, but this year I remembered that nine years ago yesterday my mother died. When that death scenario flashes in my brain, I try to not dwell on it too much–such a sad time and sad memories. If you smoke, stop.
So to counteract the sadness, I would rather write a few random, happy thoughts about Jackie and her life.
Jackie was a very generous person and hated to see the less fortunate in pain. This might stem from being a public health nurse for some years and going into some really nasty homes and seeing how some people lived. One time we were eating at an outside patio and an obviously mal-nutritioned drug addict was digging in a nearby trash can. My mother went to buy him a hamburger so he didn’t have to dig anymore in the trash (at that moment). For all I know she could have recognized him as she was also at one time a mental health nurse for the homeless in the City of Dallas. I am sure she witnessed some horrific scenes in that job.
Jackie was athletic in her day and loved to play softball. As kids, my brother and I used to go to softball practices and games for her team. She played softball with some friends she grew up from her nearby hometown. I have some wonderful memories of those times and tournaments. Later she played for the church team and had lots of fun. I was older then and did not attend too many games, but I know she had fun and that her teammates enjoyed her presence.
When we were little we didn’t take many vacations, but we did go to Galveston every summer and camp on the beach a few days. Such fun walking on the beach at night, looking at the stars, roasting marshmallows, and relaxing. We always went with some cousins and we always brought the dog. My mother loved going in the ocean with us and teaching us to swim and jump the waves. She loved the water and I know we get that from her. She had us in Red Cross swim lessons at the local pool early and even had private lessons for us one summer at a place called Happiness House in east Dallas. We really became sufficient swimmers then as she wanted us to be good swimmers for our own safety. There was an older gentleman who taught us well. I have never been afraid of the water as we were probably only 5 and 6 years old at the time.
Jackie had many, many friends and many close friends. It is unbelievable how many friends she had and how many people looked up to her for her advice and opinions. She was an extremely social person and loved to hang out. I will never have as many friends as Jackie. Oh, and let me say that most of her friends were awesome people and I love keeping in touch with many of them today.
Her kids’ education was very important to her and she worked tirelessly for many years to make sure we had a good education and went to college. I can only think of a handful of people in our neighborhood that actually went to and graduated from a university. Most went to a nearby junior college and went to work shortly thereafter. Of course, she was a big reader of books.
For these random memories and characteristics of my mother, Jackie, I am very grateful.