Henrietta Ruth Buchholz.
I have wanted to write a tribute to my mother for a while - it is harder (emotionally) than I anticipated.
In terms of 'love languages' my mother showed her love by 'acts of service.' I am a 'words of gratitude and love' language myself, and there was a time where I felt deprived, unloved because she only told me that she loved me twice. But when I realized there were different ways of expressing love and understood she DID not SAID I felt like the most beloved child on the planet! Plus I learned a valuable, life lesson about different communication styles.
My mother had a life of challenges. She had three siblings, two of which were mentally/physically handicapped. She started working as a cook's assistant in a nursing home at age 13 right after her father died of a heart attack. Her mother raised the four children herself after that, never remarrying. My grandma worked long hours at the same nursing home doing the difficult work of direct care.
When we moved to the farm I was going through some old boxes and found a plaque from the City of St. Paul, recognizing my grandma as 'mother of the year.' No one ever mentioned this prestigious award - I was sad and proud at the same time.
My mother married her high school sweetheart at age 22 and I was born when she was 25. She was a stay at home mom and I had a wonderful childhood with her. She made it magical, fun and adventurous. When I was in first grade Henrietta took a job at my school library where she provided the most dedicated service for 25 years.
During her career at the school library she only took time off twice - first to care for her dying mother, and then to care for her dying sister. After each funeral she returned to work.
My father retired a year after she did and the goal was to travel the country - together and free to go where they pleased at last! They had saved and planned for this moment.
My father was diagnosed with lung cancer months after he retired. It progressed fast. I remember the hospice nurse speaking on his behalf "his biggest regret is that he will not live to see his grandchildren grow up." He lasted 9 more months, my mother administering morphine every time he rang a little bell - the only way he could still communicate.
My mom buried her 58 year old husband. Even though she lived 15 more years after his death she was changed forever. Years after his death she told me a beautiful vision she had the night he died. He passed away in his chair in the living room, and she saw an angel carry his full bodied spirit from his earth body down the hall and then flying up and out of the house. It brought us both great comfort.
Even though my mother, Henrietta Ruth Buchholz lived a very difficult life, she never complained, she never became bitter or broken. Her faith in God was solid.
Her ability to keep moving forward in the face of the cruelest adversity was unbelievable.
She found great joy in her grandchildren, the many birds in her backyard, volunteering, crocheting gifts for those in need and being the most amazing listener! She was always cheerful, had a wonderful sense of humor and was loved by very very many.
Funny how we want our parents to be a certain way - but they are exactly what we need them to be. If you have never written a tribute to your mother, try it. It is very powerful.
Love you mom!
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