The beauty of an early spring morning emerged as the last vestiges of night slowly succumbed to the warming rays of the morning sun. A gentle breeze welcomed me as I strode through fresh green grass and paused to watch two young gophers as they romped through the field strewn with wild flowers, the kind I used to pick for my mother as a young boy.
The small cemetery was blanketed in morning dew, wetting my feet as I approached the hallowed place so dear to my heart. It was Mother’s Day.
My mother, Vera Walburger, was born November 9, 1910 in a small hamlet in southern Alberta. A wagon had been dispatched to fetch Dr. Stackpool from Cardston, about five miles to the east, to attend the home delivery. She was the second child in a family of seven children.
She courted via horseback and wagon my father Leon, who lived in another small hamlet nearby. They married on 9 June 1931 in the Cardston Alberta Temple and made their first home in Beazer, Alberta.
Here they raised six children. I was the youngest.
Our family had little by way of worldly goods and it was always a struggle to provide the simplest necessities of life. Upon my arrival in 1945, we had no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no central heating, nor insulation in the walls. We drew water from a well and either candles or lanterns provided our light. Wood and coal were our source of heat.
Our outhouse provided for very short stays in January, and it very slowly improved from there.
It was not at all uncommon in the winter hunting season to observe a deer or elk carcass laying on our living room floor while we skinned and quartered it. It was cold outside. And you might guess who cleaned it up.
Mom passed away on 7 April 2001 at the age of 90 and was buried in the Beazer cemetery, the place where I now meditatively stood.
My contemplation regarding mothers
Mother. I think it is the name given by God to those who best exemplify His own pure love. That love outlives the leaves of the trees, the snow of winter, and the darkness of night. It can be smothered by nothing.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland quoted Victor Hugo in a talk about mothers:
“She broke the bread into two fragments and gave them to her children, who ate with eagerness. ‘She hath kept none for herself,’ grumbled the sergeant.
“Because she is not hungry,’ said a soldier.
“No,’ said the sergeant, ‘because she is a mother”’ (Jeffrey. R. Holland, “Because She Is a Mother,” Ensign, May 1997).
And echoing a similar sentiment are these words by Mitch Albom, a more recent author:
“I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know” (Quotefancy).
It seems that the blessedness of motherhood, oft unappreciated by youthful eyes, becomes cherished by more aged ones as we begin to contemplate our own immortality and frailties. Regretfully it is for me.
I think that Elder Holland put it best when he said:
“You see, it is not only that they bear us, but they continue bearing with us. It is not only the prenatal carrying but the lifelong carrying that makes mothering such a staggering feat. Of course, there are heartbreaking exceptions, but most mothers know intuitively, instinctively that this is a sacred trust of the highest order. The weight of that realization, especially on young maternal shoulders, can be very daunting” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” Ensign, November 2015).
The little hamlet I grew up in sported a one room school and a church with a full gymnasium. It never escaped me as I attended Primary and Sunday School that my mother was most often my teacher. One day I asked her, “Why were you always my teacher?” To which she replied, “Because I was the only one who would!”
Mothers are also honest.
So, there I stood contemplating my own immortality and looking forward with longing eyes to when I most surely will be met by a loving Heavenly Father and by my enduring earthly mother.
How Grateful I Would Be to Have Just One More Day
If I could have just one more day and
wishes did come true,
I’d spend every glorious moment
side by side with you.
Recalling all the years we shared
and memories we made,
how grateful I would be
to have just one more day.
Where the tears I’ve shed are
not in vain and only fall in bliss.
So many things I’d let you know
about the days you’ve missed.
I wouldn’t have to make pretend
you never went away.
How grateful I would be to
have just one more day.
When that day came to a close
and the sun began to set,
a million times I’d let you know
I never will forget
the heart of gold you left behind
when you entered Heaven’s gate.
Kathy J. Parenteau (Familyfriend poems)
Periodically I wish I could reach out and grab time and pull it back, and bring my mother with it, if only for a day.
Sincere hindsight reminds me of how I missed the little things which are often the most important. In my case I deeply regret not always wishing my mother “Happy Birthday,” and more importantly, “Happy Mother’s Day” every single time.
I hope you don’t make the same mistake!
Then, with a lump in my throat and a small tear in my eye, I gently lay the wild flowers atop the place where my mother rests, and turned and strode wistfully away.
As we contemplate the purity of a mother’s love, we could turn our thoughts to Golgotha. It was there, as described by John, that the ineffable spectacle unfolded which we must never forget.
“Now there stood by the cross
Of Jesus his mother”
Because that is what mothers do.