For as long as I can remember, she was tall and strong. She commanded respect, you had better NOT cross her. She was my mom/our mom.There are four of us and each of us had a unique experience with her. So we can think of her collectively and as individuals. I know a great deal about her, yet there are mysteries that I will never be able to explain.
I watched her work by my father’s side, even though her wanted her to stay at home. She put the family first; if he needed help he did not have to look far and it was the same for her. When we had cookouts, he manned the pit, but she was in the kitchen doing prep work.If he was under the hood changing the oil, she was holding the tools. If he cut the grass, she had the edger. She told many clients where they might go, when they tried to be unfair or avoid paying them. And her words were not empty/idle threats. A woman who only went to Jr. College in Kansas City, she knew her way around law and business. I could see her holding off the klan with a shot gun ( for imaginative purposes only). She and my dad taught us what a marriage should be, and made the standard pretty tough to live up too by virtue of exposure to theirs.
Mom taught me things without ever saying a word, but I understood the lesson. I could tell her anything and I did.She told me I was independent and self assured, I merely followed the example she set forth for me. Even when I did not believe I could do something I tried because I knew she expected that from me. I had never seen anything different from her and I knew she was watching me, if only in spirit. I tried to make her proud of me because I loved and admired her more than I have words for.
We lost her last year on October 30th 2015. I have not stopped crying, though I am told I will. I know I will forever miss her. I try to be happy and move on because she clearly thought I was strong and brave like her, but that was an illusion. I could be as she imagined I was, when she was here nearby here on Earth. More of the illusion. Now I am left to fly solo, and if you think that just because you are 50+ years old you do not need your mother you are grossly mistaken. Therefore, on what would have been her 83rd birthday I would like to pay tribute to my mom, Lorene Cates. You were the smart, strong compassionate, loving and beautiful woman I aspire to be. To this day, Mom I am in awe of you, my love is everlasting.