My Mom (A Belated Mother’s Day Story)

My mother and yours truly in the late 1940s

Not many days go by when I don’t think of my mother, Elaine Scheinin. This has been true since her passing in 1994. She lives on in my mind because she was an exceptionally fine person. Honest, warm and unpretentious. And blessed with an openness that few could resist. Pretty much everyone that knew her was crazy about her.

If I remember my output correctly, I’ve written about her only once before. That was in an article about the late, famed jazz pianist Thelonious Monk (click here if you’d like to read it). My mom, a jazz fan, became part of that article because she once spoke with Monk on the phone in 1976. Drawing up her courage, she took the initiative to obtain and dial his number (Monk, a Manhattanite, somewhat surprisingly did not have an unlisted phone number). She hoped to ask him if he knew that WKCR, a New York City radio station, was in the midst of airing a multi-day tribute to him and his music.

Monk answered the phone. Yes, he was very aware of the tribute. And he thanked my mother for calling him. I was sitting with her when she reached out to the great musician, and the incident left me awe-struck. Hers was a spontaneous and innocent act of good-heartedness and caring. She would have been disappointed if Monk somehow missed out on the love being shown to him on the radio.

Now, here’s the thing. I think of my mother often not only because of her enviable natural state of being, but also because of what happened to her in her middle age and how she responded to that tragedy. In 1969, when she was 49, her retinas hemorrhaged badly, a consequence of diabetes. She lost her sight, living the remaining 25 years of her life in total darkness. The pain I felt was intense. And it hasn’t lessened. Her blindness was, and in memory remains, heartbreaking to me.

For nearly all of those 25 years she didn’t complain, didn’t bemoan her fate. She suffered, but she almost always kept it to herself. At a party once, though, I overheard one of her sisters-in-law say this to her: “It’s a shame about your vision.” To which my mother responded, “You have no idea.” Those few words pretty much said it all.

Basically, my mom soldiered on, remaining the person she always had been, bright and optimistic, fully continuing her household work and community involvement. In the early 1990s, though, diabetes struck again, ravaging her body and ultimately her mind. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” has been asked by countless folks. The answer is that good people are not immune to the slings and arrows, and lightening bolts, of life. If only they were.

Ideally, I’d have liked to have published this remembrance on Mother’s Day. But I didn’t complete it in time. Better late than never, as the saying goes. Many of us are fortunate to have been raised by loving, good people. I surely was. My father was ace too. And so, I wish a Happy Mother’s Day, belatedly, to the fine ladies who give their heart and soul, selflessly, to their children. And I accompany that wish with a major tip of the hat.

122 thoughts on “My Mom (A Belated Mother’s Day Story)

  1. Jacqui Murray May 31, 2019 / 11:08 am

    I’m late to your article but I see you’ve had quite a response. Me too–what a mom you had. I have that attitude–when there’s nothing you can do about it, it must be God’s will. I can see why so many loved your mom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger May 31, 2019 / 1:59 pm

      Hello there. Yes, she was pretty irresistible. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend!

      Like

  2. Ali Grimshaw June 1, 2019 / 8:00 pm

    What an inspiring story and lovely tribute to your mother. Those of us who grew up in love are indeed so very lucky. I wish all children had this experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Silver Screenings June 11, 2019 / 12:22 pm

    Your mother sounds like an extraordinary person. I love the story about her phoning Thelonious Monk.(!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. dfolstad58 June 23, 2019 / 2:15 am

    Your mom is an inspiration to others who deal with tragic circumstances and yet are stoic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. shailusahu August 28, 2019 / 10:53 pm

    A great Mom! A great son! A great story! Thanks for writing it . All the best.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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