My beautiful mother would have been 93 today!Mother was born on July 16, 1918. She died in the spring of 2001. I published my first book in 2007, so she never got to read my story—this story that was all about her and Daddy and how it all began for us. My mother had unfailing love and devotion for our family. The entire family. It didn't matter who it was, if they bore our name, they got her undivided love and attention. Here's an excerpt from House Not Made With Hands.
Mother took care of Papa till his dying day, with Dad's help, of course. If you haven't read the book, I don't want to spoil it for you, but I'll share this little portion in honor of Mother's birthday.
. . . my daddy went to Calhoun County in the hills of Mississippi to get my grandpapa. He was eighty-seven, too old to live alone any more, and it was not on my family's mental or moral agenda to let a loved one die in a home for the aging. It never happened as far back as I could remember. So Papa left the hills of Mississippi and came to live out his days in the Delta. He called it 'the Delder' . . .
. . . daddy hung up the phone, and I knew Mother was right there, watching over him, or I would have been on the next train out. By then, Monica had married, but she lived close, and all the other children were still at home. They would surround my father.
I did go home by train a few months later, and mother told me all about the funeral and about how Papa's death had touched her.
"I went out to the little apartment in the trees behind the big house where Daddy and I fed, bathed, and watched over Papa every day of his ending life," she said. "Age and dementia had won, and he was frail as dust when he died. When the hearse pulled away with Papa's body, I stripped the bed for the last time and put the linens in the washer. I needed to cry. Loud. But I didn't want your daddy to hear me. So I dashed out of the house and started running. Running and crying. I ran to the wheat field."
I could see a silhouette of my mother that cool spring morning in April of 1964, running across the wheat field as if to beat back time and eternity, crying aloud, her face to the wind and her cotton dress blowing softly about her legs. She ran until she was out of breath, then fell to her knees in the dusty wheat field, sobbing uncontrollably with no one around her. Mother was exhausted, and she had to deal with Papa's death, grieving her own way. She had cared for him willingly for my father, a labor of love, and now Papa was gone. Both of Daddy's parents were gone.
House Not Made With Hands is my journey of remembrance. I've spent a lifetime in the South. I knew I could write about it beginning with day one of my memory, and I knew that a large part of it would be about my parents. At the time I began writing, I had no idea Daddy and Mother would both be gone before I finished my story. In fact, when my daddy died, I laid the writing aside for a few years. When I went back to it, I had to write Part IV, After All These Years, to finish it, the hardest thing I'd ever done.
Here's some good news!My publisher has informed me that they will be adapting both my published books for e-reading for every electronic device, so in a few short weeks, you will be able to read House Not Made With Hands from your Nook or Kindle or Sony or PC or Mac.
Hope you will add both my books to your e-reader. That would make me very happy!
Jane Bennett Gaddy, Author