Friday, March 13, 2015

March Moments - Remembering My Mom!


Margaret Heins Severance
July 13,1922  -  March 13, 2001



I recently came across a piece of notebook paper that bore my mother’s handwriting. 

What she wrote is below in the body of this blog posting. 

Another hand written rendering of it is in the introduction pages of the scrapbook she gave to me when I finished high school. That scrapbook holds photos and other memorabilia that span the years from my birth year and up through that graduation time.

What a treasured labor of love it is. It brings joys untold as I revisit those years and all they held - realizing she chose what was important to her, as well. 

March 

It is the month when, in our North American hemisphere, the season of spring emerges bringing its promise of new life and hope after long months of winter.

It seems appropriate that the month of spring’s arrival was the time God ordained for my mother, Maggie, to leave her earthly home and enter in to the eternal spring where new Life and color-filled brilliance beyond our imaginings exists - reunited with her Creator. 

For my mother, whose life and smile brought joy and a sense of spring to all she met, it was indeed appropriate.


In the hospice facility’s room, where my mother lie during her last days, there was a window. Just outside the window, new life was beginning to bloom. Daffodils, primroses, and a flowering cherry tree framed my feelings that were grief ladened. 


I had moved in to the room for what turned out to be six days. I brought in bouquets to set by her bedside along with other floral gifts friends and family had brought or sent. God was preparing me, and I know that He was preparing my Mom internally, for her time of leaving.

 Life is temporary here on earth. But life is not ending, although these kinds of earthly goodbyes are the hardest to say and experience.

God’s gift of life came to me via my parents - a gift for which I am grateful. 

In the writing my mother found to use as an introduction to the scrapbook of photos that image some of my early years, she found sweet expressions of her hopes and dreams that she wished for me.

They are ever appropriate thoughts to express for a life newly begun and, equally, for a live fully lived. 

The author of these words is unknown to me, but all that they express were known by my mother and continue to be experienced by me.

During this spring’s month of March, I share them with you as I remember my Mom, her life, the lives that she touched, and the God-given life that we each have been given as a gift.


Here are those words.

I was just thinking . . .

If the seed that was to become you had never flowered, do you know what you would have missed?

The sun’s gold blessing on your head,

 The sound of your own voice, your own laughter, 
your own tears.

The miracle of your own body, a beautiful instrument, designed for experiencing, learning, caring, achieving.

 The sweetness of water on thirsty lips and 
the silk of it on dusty skin.

The taste of bread, fruit, meat, and 
all the mingled caress of their fragrance.

 Long grass under your toes, a bird in flight against a cloud, the soaring ache of the universe beyond the stars.

 The release of rain and the awesome anger of thunder.


The satisfaction of seeking and finding the peace of fulfillment.

 A certain ecstasy at unspecified times and for unspecified reasons, yet somehow, a justification for living.

 A quick recognition of love in the lines of a face, the touch of hands, in words left unsaid, in an act of kindness for no other reason.

Seeing again the same hometown, the same home, the same family as for the first time and seeing them in the full circle of existence.

The creation of a child, or a place, or a piece of something beyond self, giving your heart the right to beat for more than it’s own need.

The lights of man’s night and the night of God’s lights and you between, a partner of both.

 The privilege of being allowed these years out of eternity to share the greatest adventure you can ever know . . 

Life itself.


Below is a collection of photos that may stream the focus of these lines from Mom's inscription in my scrapbook: 

"Seeing again the same hometown, the same home, the same family as for the first time and seeing them in the full circle of existence."



Circa 1924-25 - a reader even then! Many books were a part of my brothers and my young years. I treasure a few of those books that I still have. 



1934, age 12 Forest Ridge School . Mom was able to skip
two grade levels which had her graduating earlier than most of her age.

1938, age 16 - her graduation year. Ready to go dancing! 


1940 - Freshman year at Marylhurst College in Oregon where she was a Student Council Rep.

After winning the heart of Lt. David E. Severance, their wedding day was September 13, 1942 in San Diego, CA.
Thus began her 26 years as the wife of a career Marine, although he shipped out 3 months after their wedding for deployment in World War II and the family's moving around years were yet to come.

1944, a young Mom to twins who were 1 year old, David, Jr. and Lynn with another son, Michael to be born in 1946. 

I am skipping the photo years of our family's travels but you can well believe those were wonderful times.

1960's - 2000

1965 - modeling at the Officers' Wives Fashion show when Col. D.E. Severance was Commander of Floyd Bennett Naval Air Station in NY. This was the year I graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington! 



August, 1968 - family reunion in Seattle, WA - a tradition for many August months up until my grandmother's death in 1983. In 1968, I was working with the VISTA program in Washington, D.C. and was able to fly home for this reunion.
Lynn, David, Mom, and Michael 


After working for a dentist from 1968 - 1973, Mom was hired on as the head receptionist at a medical clinic in Seattle. This is a  newsletter article published in 1980, the year my brothers and I were able to pool our resources and send her on her dream trip to Greece. We had long time military friends who were stationed there and once she arrived, they made those 3 weeks so very memorable for her.

With David, circa the late 80s, after a Mother's Day brunch

Mom was a talented and accomplished artist, mainly oil painting medium. After her retirement in 1985, she devoted many hours to this endeavor. Luckily for me, she willingly came to my classroom one day a year of those ensuing years up until my retirement in 1992, to paint for my students -  beginning with a blank canvas and showing them the steps to completion. This was a photo taken in 1988 with her sharing one of her finished works. 


1992 - Birthday #70 with family in Poulsbo, WA


1992 at a niece's wedding with her brothers, Vic and Berle



Mother's Day brunch, 1999: Michael, Mom, Lynn


Michael bought the family home from Mom and hosted a December dinner there in 1999 - great evening for all.


December, 2000 - a special outing with Mom and what came to be the last photo of us together. What a wonderful day we had in a favored place. It is a moment snapped in time as we were leaving - how grateful I am to have it.

Treasure each moment with a loved one. 
Each moment is a treasure. 



18 comments:

  1. What a wonderful walk down memory lane...thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

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    1. Sharon - how nice of you to stop by and leave your kind words. It is my joy to share these wonderful memories of my Mom.

      God bless you!
      Lynn

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  2. David Severance Jr.March 13, 2015 at 9:20 AM

    Wonderful reminders of Mom for me too.
    David Jr.

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    1. I am glad you and I share in these memories, David. I really enjoyed putting them together. It was very nostalgic but in good ways.

      Love,
      Lynn

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  3. I enjoyed every word and photo here, Lynn. You are a beautiful living tribute to your amazing Mom. Remembering her with you. <3 Love you.

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    1. Shelly, I was here replying to my brother's comment and yours popped up right before my eyes!

      Thank you. I am so glad you enjoyed the journey through some key times in my life and of my amazing Mom. She'd have loved you - that I know!

      Lynn :)

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  4. What a beautiful caring tribute to your wonderful Mum Lynn!
    Thanks for sharing this with us - certainly we do need to "treasure each moment".
    Blessings,
    Fiona

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    1. Indeed we do, Fiona.

      Nothing brings that quite so clear as when a loved one goes on to be with the Lord. We miss them so, even though we know there will be a time of being reunited.

      Blessings back, my friend!
      Lynn

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  5. Thank you for sharing. I lost my 11 years ago March 27th. I remember those daffodils and cherry blossoms. The spring was sent to thaw my winter heart. This is how i got through the grief. He is faithful. Thank you for sharing your heart. Your mother was one beautiful officers wife.

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    1. Chris - thanks for sharing your heart.

      I do not recall my sharing of my connection to you as one who grew up in a military family and your being a military wife. It takes a special kind of woman to be that flexible, as you know.

      It is my privilege to share about my Mom and I know your memories of your Mom are ever present, too. It does take time for the heart to thaw but then spring is found once the warmth of some time helps us to integrate the new "us" without them near.

      Love to you -
      Lynn

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  6. What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Lynn.

    A real treat to join your family as I wandered down memory lane with you. Very precious. Special to see you classroom too. Interesting that I ended up in tears! Not sure exactly why I'm in tears, but a special connection with you through this Lynn. Thanks sooooooo much for sharing it with me/us. God bless. Lotsoluv Kerryn

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    1. Ah, my sweet friend, Kerryn!

      I am grateful you took this journey with me as I remembered my Mom.

      I can say some nostalgia welled up in me seeing my classroom. I know exactly how that grief of missing our teaching years will always remain. A real image ( as in a photo ) so brightly beautiful brings it back with more tangible reality. Tears are appropriate.

      I appreciate our connections on so many levels. Even afar with you in Australia - we are close. God has a way of providing in these special ways.

      xo Lynn

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    2. Thanks dear Lynn. :-)

      Actually the tears didn't well up until the last photo of you & your Mum.

      Praying it was a special journey writing this to bring deeper healing. Lotsoluv Kerryn xoxo

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    3. Yes, I can understand that culminating photo after the journey before it - bittersweet it is but how I love the photo and the memory it brings. I had wanted to do something special "for Christmas" that year, an outing with Mom, as there were no family plans for Christmas day ( just we two at her apartment). The year before we'd had two family gatherings: one at my brother, Mike's before Christmas and the family to my place on Christmas day. I can barely remember having the energy to do THAT but in 1999 I did!

      So in ways only God knew, this special mother/daughter time was being provided for Christmas of 2000. Two months later from the time of that photo, the shock of her unexpected massive stroke can still leave me with jolts of disbelief.

      I did love posting this blog with the photo journey of my Mom's life along the way for there are those ( even in our family ) who do not know some of the particulars of her early years up to her marriage. I can't speak to a deeper healing in myself as I did the posting - some places deep within never quite get "there".

      xo L.

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  7. I read this post last Friday but didn't have time to respond. It's beautiful, Lynn, that you have the handwritten note from your mom. I still have a few from my mom too. I have my dad's checkbook with entries in his handwriting, and that is always special as well. :)

    I imagine the daffodils bring bittersweet memories for you still. What a wonderful mother you had and what a wonderful daughter you were!

    I love, love, love these old pictures! Your mother was beautiful. I see such a strong resemblance between her and you.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your sweet words, Lisa.

      There is a connection we feel seeing the handwritten letters, notes, or signatures of those we loved once they those people are no longer with us. For me, I can remember when they were written and have a context of the memory.

      I even sense the connection in very old letters I have written by my grandfather to my grandmother and I never knew him. He died when my mother was 5 months. But I know of him from the stories my grandmother told me of their courtship. He was the love of her life so through her I see "some of that story" in his handwriting.

      I don't find the spring flowers bittersweet. I have a real love for daffodils from another context and my Mom loved to garden when she owned her home so in many ways it all blends together.

      Thank you for the kind compliment about my Mom and I agree about the "old photos". They carry a charm not evident in our modern day photos. I am not sure if it is the black and white element or the attire of the day or what - but they are unique.

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  8. What a lovely treasure you've created here in tribute to your mother. I enjoyed seeing all of the pictures and reading every word. It seems that God has chosen the springtime to call some of his dearest ones home because my father passed away 34 years ago today.

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    1. Rosemary - I appreciate your comments very much.

      I reach back to you on this anniversary date of your father's Home-going. I do know others, special to me, for whom the springtime was their time, as well.

      (( Hugs to you )) - Lynn

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