On this Mother’s Day, I write in memory of my Mom, Estelle Courtney, who was born on April 14, 1924.  She was the purest spirit I have ever known.  She was honest, smart, loving, funny, beautiful, selfless and strong.  This year would have marked her 90th birthday.

She married my Dad when she was 15 years old and he was 19, and they grew up together as they created a family and shared their lives.  She loved him well and was loyal, faithful and supportive of him until she passed away in 1994 after 55 years of marriage.  Theirs was a true love story!Image

Their first son lived only one day, and their second son was stillborn.  These tragedies and their accompanying pain are something the majority of us, thankfully, will never have to endure.  They didn’t talk about those times often, but when they did, the profound affect was clear.  They went on to have three more children, and she was for the rest of her life completely devoted to us and raised us to be independent, successful adults.  She gave my brother, my sister and me strong values which sustained and nourished us throughout our lives.  All of our children have their own memories of their Grandma Courtney, and her presence in each of our families remains strong to this day.

Now that my Dad, my brother and my sister have also passed, I find that I have no one in my life who shares the cherished memories of my childhood.  That makes me sad, so I hope my story will cause others to stop and ponder.

My Mom has visited me twice since she passed away.  The first time was shortly after her passing, and she told me she would always be with me.  The second time was just after my Dad passed.  They appeared to me together, and she gave me the best hug of my life as I made eye contact with my Dad, who was standing in the background over her left shoulder.  No words were spoken, and none were needed.  The experience was then, and remains, very vivid to me.  It seemed that he brought Mom to deliver her final gift to their last remaining child, and I can now recall the feeling of comfort and support conveyed in that hug whenever I need it.

If you have the extremely good fortune to still have your Mother in your life, I hope you love and appreciate her value and make sure she knows it.  For me, as many others, I can only remember and reflect, as I pay tribute today to the most important influence in my life.  She was my greatest role model, and I strive to be the kind of Mom to my children that she was to me.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I love you still, I miss you every day, and I am forever grateful for the honor of being your daughter.

Me, Mom, Ladonna - 1956

Me, Mom, Ladonna – 1956

Me, Mom, Ladonna – 1956