Written by Patricia P
Well, let me tell you about me and my Mom.
I’m holding here a document signed by my mother when she gave up custody of her 3 oldest children: Me and my two brothers went to live with my Aunt and Uncle because my Mom was having so many problems . Not exactly a candidate for “Mother of the Year?”
But her story didn’t start nor end there.
My Mom was beautiful and fun loving. As a child she was very athletic and smart, excelling in math. In her teen years she fell in love with Henry Mangus, my Dad. They married when she was 16 years old. By the time she was 20, she had 3 young children. It was during the Depression. World War II had broken out, and my dad enlisted in the Navy.
While he was gone, my Mom had to find work to feed 3 hungry kids, one of which had lots of medical problems. She took jobs wherever she could find them, most often in unsavory circumstances. It was a frightful time and she found work and recreation anywhere she could.
She later told me, “I’d have done anything to put food on the table for my kids.” Perhaps that justified some of the types of jobs she took and the people she hung around with?
My parents divorced soon after my dad came home from the War. I was 6 years old and my Dad obtained custody of us 3 kids.
My mom’s life was in shambles and she went into depression and started drinking. In order to have fun, she associated with all sorts of undesirable people. Even married 2 different husbands who drank and abused her and the children she had with them.
My Dad was killed in an accident at work when I was 10 years old. Now where would we go? My mother was in no state mentally, emotionally or financially to care for her oldest 3 children. Her current alcoholic husband did not want her ‘brats’.
But my Aunt and Uncle and my grandparents sought custody of us.
Thus, the paper she signed to give custody to my Aunt and Uncle.
My Mother would visit us often and as I grew up, she began pulling her life together and we established a type of friendship. She taught me how to drive when I was a teenager.
Living in a small town, I would hear gossip about her and I would defend her from criticism with, “She might have been a lousy mother, but she is a great friend now.”
That friendship flourished in my adult years as I raised a family and she became a wonderful, loving, playful grandmother to my children. She visited often and we visited her. She even traveled to come see us in Australia and Japan.
What did I inherit from my mother? I learned much from her.
*She had a quick sense of humor. She could find humor even in the most dire circumstances.
“How can you laugh when you have had so many problems?” I would ask.
“If you don’t laugh, you go crazy,” she said.
*Even though she was often judged and treated harshly, I never heard my mom criticize or gossip. She had a way of laughing at other peoples’ follies. Her example taught me not to judge.
*She loved her fellow beings and was a friend to many.
*Her home was always open to anyone. She would take in the needy and the sad. She shared what she had.
*She was a marvelous, fun-loving grandmother to our kids.
She would visit us often and the kids would put up “NO SMOKING” signs that would make her laugh and she honored them. “I believe if I were around your kids, I could quit,” she said.
*She was fun and warm, making up for some of the years we had missed together.
But the best gift she ever gave me was her example of humility and repentance. Her willingness to accept the Savior’s Atonement and to change HER life changed MY life.
One life-changing event took place when my younger brother was killed in a car accident when he was 33. I caught a flight from our home in Tokyo to be home with my mother. She was glad to see me and we needed each other. We talked and cried and talked more— into the early hours of the morning. During that time we bared our souls about the past. She was so remorseful about the kind of woman she had been when we kids were young. She seemed so hopeless and felt that she had ruined her life and her kids too.
I reassured her that I was alright and I forgave her.
Then she looked at me with red blurry eyes and said that God would never forgive her!
“Oh yes, He will. And He does.” I took her hands in mine and looked into those wet eyes. Something inside of me knew that to be true.
We talked and talked about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how He paid for everything. All we have to do is follow Him and take his name upon us.
She seemed surprised, but hopeful.
“How can I do that?
I suggested that she go see her church leader in the morning and see what he suggested.
She did. She started attending Church and making changes.
It took a lot of courage and reliance upon our Savior to change the person she became and back to seeing herself as a daughter of God.
My Mom gave me a gift I have used over and over. She showed me how to have faith through storms of despair.
She showed me about relying on the Savior for strength to overcome weaknesses.
Through my Mom I learned a vivid lesson in sanctifying oneself through repentance and forgiveness and faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I honor her, love her and miss my good friend, my Mom
I am so thankful that God gave me my Mother—a perfect mother……for me.