Yeah, strange title. Let me explain. While I cannot seem to move myself to read right now I do
want need to talk — or write, as a way of talking. I am hoping that this Sunday Salon post will be good for this self-created process. On August 5, 2011, I lost my mother. My sister and I lost our mother. My two nephews lost their grandmother. What am I reading? All of your blogs, your thoughts, your stories, your reviews — reaching out by “hearing” all of you and leaving a comment here and there.
What am I feeling? Strange? A little bewildered maybe? “We all deal with things in our own way. We’re all different.” That is what they say. I had one very kind woman, who is well versed in these matters, say to me, “This is one of those times that I feel ‘toughing it out’ isn’t always the best way.” and “Our brains just can’t wrap around such loss and our usual techniques and tricks just don’t seem to satisfy!” Then let me try to use this new way. I need to share part of who Mom was.
I need to talk about Mom in a familiar environment — where it’s psychologically safe and beneficial to share. This is a Sunday Salon post and we are going to talk about books, literary things, and what goes along with them. Just as we should and as they come to mind.
Mom always talked about Gulliver’s Travels and how there were things that we could all relate to, be you a child or an adult. I like Jonathan Swift too — I liked his satire and understanding the history of his time as seen through his eyes was always fun. He loved to take potshots at the leaders of his generation. Swift’s “A Meditation on a Broom-Stick” will always be a classic in my mind.
Mom actually took Animal Farm and had one (or more) of her history classes read it and then tell her what time in history they thought it was. The overwhelming response always seemed to be, “Now.” Then off she would go with how “history repeats itself,” etc. Mama was a well-read history teacher. A good one! Some of her students from years gone by had this to say about her:
“Many of us had her for history. She was one of my favorites. They sure don’t make teachers like that anymore.”
“She was a great teacher.”
Mydee Agostosa Viado
“Yes, she was a great teacher!”
“she was the best teacher ever.. she will be greatly missed ♥♥♥ Thanks for everything Mrs. Hunter ♥♥♥ love u”
“She had a big heart with great understanding. One of my favorites too..”
“What an impact she made in my life. I remember Mrs. Hunter always challenging us to always strive to do better. “I remember telling her one day, how much I enjoyed her class, ‘what she told me next, ‘ I will never forget, ‘she said God sent me here to fill our sails, and help us chart a course called life.” Yup one of the greats…”
“I was just thinking of her recently when some of us gals were reminiscing on our teachers…. She was one of the greats in our time..”
Gaylen Gapol Paaluhi
“I had your mom as a teacher, and she definitely made a difference.”
“She definitely was a great teacher and made a huge impact on our lives.”
“Your mom was such a wonderful teacher and made such a difference in so many of our lives. She will not be forgotten.”
“I agree with everyone she was an icon and her legacy was larger than life! To have made a difference in so many, is the ultimate calling set by god – he was more than pleased with your mom’s body of work. Love you mom Hunter rest in peace!”
Those comments came from Facebook and students from Waianae High School’s Class of ’81 and Class of ’82 when they heard the news. Heart-felt hugs and thanks go out to the students at Waianae High who remember her so kindly, and with such gratitude! Is that not how every teacher wants to be remembered? I will include other comments in this post if and when they appear. Mom was an awesome lady in so many ways!
Moving on with the books, I have to share how Don Quixote (Man of La Mancha) was a story that Mom loved. She even had this picture (the one you see on the cover to the right) on our wall for years. I need to read this book. I have it on my Kindle because of my book-blogger friend, Zohar, over at Man of La Book. Judging from the name of his blog, Zohar obviously thinks very highly of the Man of La Mancha as well!
I think I may also need to find that print somewhere and hang it on my wall! Maybe I’ll hang it at work. I always wondered why Mom liked that kindergarten drawing so much. Hey, I was a kid. How was I to know that it was actually a Pablo Picasso? Mom liked art. She loved musical art too! We could talk about her adoration of opera but I don’t think anyone wants to read any librettos right now. Of course she would want to know why the hell not, but we’ll touch on that another time.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte was always one of Mom’s favorites. I was supposed to read it. I have not. It is on my to be read list. Shame on me!
Rarely at a loss for words, there were times when Mom would eloquently say, “…when I shuffle off this mortal coil…”
“Mama! Stop saying that!” I would complain. I hated that phrase!
Then she would grin and continue on with whatever it was she wanted to say. I am an English major. How could I not have recognized that line???
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Gasp! How could I not have seen or remembered that this was Shakespeare’s Hamlet??? Shame on me. Again!
It would only be fitting to follow the mention of Shakespeare with a short mention of the word bereavement. It is an interesting word. I looked it up. The thesaurus portion shows the synonyms as loss, deprivation, mourning, and affliction. I would say they all fit — at different times and at different levels.
We sent many things with Mom. We put icons, prayer books, pictures, dolls, little pieces of clay I made for her when I was little, etc. It is a very moving and spiritual time. That reminds me — since we are talking about books and good reads, Mom actually read the Holy Bible from cover to cover, maybe even more than once!
It is here that I feel compelled to publicly share my sincere love and appreciation to our two Russian Orthodox Priests: Father Anatole Lyovin, for being there through it all and for doing all that was needful for the services and for my sanity; and Father Paul Burholt, who was there to support the family and assist in more ways than even he himself could fully understand.
There were many things that were beautiful about the service. Our choir sounded beautiful, thanks Coco, the prayers were beautiful, and the friends and family who were there made it all so much more bearable.
I have to share this beautiful picture that my sister surprised us all with on the day of Mom’s services. I was so happy that she had this picture! Mom would have liked that this picture was shared with all who attended, and with all of you!
My sister teasingly called our mother, “Miss Aloha” because she was always so friendly with everyone. Whether she knew you or not, she was going to say good morning or hello when she passed you on the street. If you were going to share it, she was going to listen to your history.
She was a loving, caring person. She was brilliant, she was beautiful, she was and always will be my wonderful mother. She will always be there because I am a part of who she was. Thanks, Mom! I love you!
There are still so many people and places that I need to thank, and I will. For now, I just want to thank the Sunday Salon readers for letting me share this and for helping me move just a little bit more through this journey.