She cradled me and marveled at me.
She sang to me, held my hand and comforted me.
She cleaned up my spills and forgave me for everything.
She made my Christmas stocking.
She smocked my dresses and curled my straight hair.
She led my Brownie Troop and taught my Sunday school classes.
She wiped my tears and bandaged my wounds.
She offered to help me pack when I threatened to run away from home.
She listened to my heartaches and joys and calmed my fears.
She watched me dance and drove me to piano lessons.
She promised me my little brother would stop picking on me someday.
She protected me and she let me run.
She always kissed me good-night and hugged me a lot.
She encouraged and nurtured me, prayed for me and showed me a way.
She sat close to me, stood by me and understood me.
She worried about me every day of her life.
But most of all, she taught me about love.
She drew me into God’s love, to sit in God’s lap,
and be wrapped in the love of the Mother God.
And she did this with so many children—
touching their lives with her gentle squeeze,
her infectious loving smile, and her joyful heart
that sparkled in her pretty blue eyes.
How many years of Sunday school classes,
School for Little People, and neighborhood children?
Only God will be able to count how many
when God sees Mom’s fingerprints of love on each of their hearts.
What has lived and loved in her does not diminish,
but lives on in each of us.
Her light, which never hid under a bushel,
shines in my children, in my brother and his children,
in many others, and me.
She is an angel passing through this world, reminding us that
children need all our love and care, attention, and protection.
Her spirit of kindness and generosity embraced us every day.
Sallie Gibson Holmes
Silver Spring, Maryland
(Jerry Gibson writes: Our daughter, Sallie, wrote a loving tribute to her mother in honor of Gail’s 67th birthday on July 27, 2001. Gail [Jerry’s wife] was not able to understand it, but for our family it is a beautiful reflection of who she was, and still is, to us.)
From pages 95-96 in Finding the JOY in Alzheimer’s: When Tears are Dried with Laughter.