When thinking of mom, one word keeps coming to mind: Indomitable.
When I looked it up, I found it to be the exact description of her. Something indomitable can’t be beat. People described as having indomitable spirit don’t need pep talks or protein shakes, their strength comes from within. The adjective, indomitable, comes from the Latin prefix in which means, not. The second is also from the Latin word dominatare, which means to tame.
Not to tame. Not to break.
We can all agree that this is an accurate description of mom.
From her childhood, in which her mother was unable to refrain from taking her personal pain out of her children, to a marriage with a very sick man, she continued to try her best to raise her children and never take her pain out on us. No matter whether she lost of all of her money, cut off her thumb or got into a life-changing car accident when asked how she was, the response was always, “wonderfully well in all the ways that count.”
When I started really thinking about what she meant, I realized that she was practicing mindfulness way before the mindfulness movement. She knew how to accept what was going on in life, and still live in the moment. When she had duties and responsibilities, that may have been a burden, she always took the time to “stop and smell the roses.”
For her, that was usually a trip to the thrift store, where she acquired an amazing and beautiful collection of inexpensive clothing and jewelry. She also took pride in restoring her vintage trailer and fixing and painting inexpensive things to make it into a lovely retreat.
She loved beautiful things, but she did not feel the need to possess them. She was content simply to see them, or if she could make her own version, she would do that. She could take a beat-up chair and transform it by working with her hands, a little sanding, and paint and a special fabric, and a piece of junk was transformed into a one of a kind and beautiful thing. She made her own clothing, curtains, and bedspreads. She could also embroider, crochet, and paint on fabric and china.
She would start Paperwhite daffodils at the end of every year to remind us that the promise of Spring in the cold dark months. She would change out her bedding, decor, and candles with each season, bringing into her home what was naturally occurring outside. She believed in the genteel things, like Miss Manners, tea out of a lovely teacup, always eating on fine china, and using linen napkins.
She loved all bright colors, but red was her favorite.
She loved peaches, caramel, chocolate and ice cream. Turtles were her favorite. She loved pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy, and made the best gravy and soups ever. She loved a good chili relleno, and a margarita, but never more than two.
She was a wonderful cook, and a fabulous baker. She could make the simple, inexpensive dinner out of almost nothing, and she could make things that were gourmet and elaborate as well. I have a special memory of when she had guests over. She would always try a new recipe. She said it was always best to serve your guests a couple of cocktails and make them wait awhile for dinner so that they would be hungry. And then if dinner didn’t turn out the way you expected, it was because you had tried a new adventure and not something that was supposed to by your specialty.
Another memory related to that is that anytime we would get lost, she would say that we didn’t go the wrong way, we just learned not to go that way again.
When I was asked if her occupation was homemaker, I felt that was a huge understatement. I believe her true occupation was Seeker and Sharer of Knowledge.
She studied countless different avenues about ways to keep the body healthy. She was way before her time.
In the early 70’s, we moved from California to Oregon so that we could be raised organically. She knew even then that the best way she could help us, probably most importantly our father, was to raise our own meat and vegetables. In an era where many were enjoying the new convenience foods and eating ready to spread margarine, she was making everything from scratch, including butter. She always said that the body was designed to process real foods, not chemicals.
As everyone knows, her studies were not just about nutrition in general but also about vitamins, homeopathy, essential oils, and the way certain food affected certain people or certain conditions. She would talk to me about proper body alignment, she knew of energy work, and I remember her telling me almost 30 years ago, about certain breathing exercises and isometric exercises that she thought were better than the aerobics that was being done at the time. What she was telling me was about yoga and Tai Chi, before it was popular. She carried water in glass bottles in her car trunk way before the bottled water craze, or people knew BPA Free plastic.
I could go on forever, about everything that she knew and was so willing to share with every person she came in contact with, but if you knew her, you already know how brilliant she was.
She had an unwavering faith in her strong spiritual beliefs and devoted countless hours to the study of her truth. She shared it with others tirelessly and despite the strength of her belief, she never judged others for believing differently.
During the last several years, while her body and mind continued to fail her, she never felt sorry for herself or became disagreeable. By the time her spirit was finally able to leave this Earthly body, almost everything I knew about her was gone. The only thing left was her indomitable spirit. Wherever she is, I hope that she feels free, knowing she was perfect just the way she was.