My Mom died in 2001 at the age of 58. Every day I miss her. I miss her unwavering support and unconditional love. I know that she is watching over me and my family, but it is not the same. Even though I “talk” with her, it is a one-sided conversation and I would love to be able to hear her voice again, hug her and see that “I am proud of you” look on her face. This is my tribute to her.
Clyde “DeOlon” Mobley was born in a small town in 1944. When I say small, I mean don’t blink or you will miss the one stop sign (now a light) downtown. And, yes, my Mom’s first name was Clyde but she always went by DeOlon even though that one was also hard to explain. My Grandmother’s first name was Clyde so she bestowed that on my Mom. DeOlon means “of Olon” and that was he father’s name. Aaah family names. So thankful that she did no give it to me. I can’t imagine.
She met my Dad in 1960 while he was stationed at NAS JAX in Jacksonville, Florida. They married in 1961 and I was born in 1962 – my sister (Angela) in 1965. My Mom became a military wife and mother. We lived a military life on several bases around the country…Cherry Point, Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton, Quantico. Never staying more than 2 years in one place.
My Mom always made wherever we were living feel like home. She decorated, made home cooked meals, sent us to camps and activities that the bases provided for the families and made friends easily with the other military wives. She was always there for us, encouraging us to make friends and to be at “home” no matter where in the country we were stationed.
When we were stationed away from Jacksonville, we would travel to either New York to visit my Dad’s family or back to the South to visit my Mom’s family in Jacksonville or in Ocilla, Georgia. She always made the trips fun. We would stop and see things along the way. Dad didn’t like it much, but he did it anyway. Because of those trips, I have been all along the east coast traveling I-95, across the US on I-10, I-40 and I-70 to California and back. I also don’t mind traveling by car.
When my Mom got sick in 2001, my boys were little – almost 7 and 5. They don’t remember her and that makes me sad. After I got married and my parents got divorced, my Mom moved back and settled in Jacksonville. We would visit her often and the boys loved going there. She remarried, and the boys had an amazing “Ganny” and “Pa Gary”. They had a pool, and the boys were water bugs! Mom would have the best “tea parties” and taught them how to drink coffee milk. To this day both boys love coffee.
My Mom was outgoing, kind, opinionated, spoke her mind, was an amazing friend, a phenomenal cook and a good Mother but most of all she was a loving force in my world that made me who I am today. I see the parts of her in me that I love. I am outgoing, kind, opinionated and truly speak my mind. I am a good friend to those who are close to me. I also see some of the quirky parts of her in me too. To this day, I cannot leave a small amount of anything in a jar, bottle, box, toothpaste tube, etc. Every bit must be used until it is empty. I have a real guilt complex over wasting anything. I know that comes from her and military life.
I love to cook. Mom started teaching us to cook when we were old enough to stand on a chair and hold the mixer, stir something or do a taste test. Food and family dinners are an important part of my life now too. My youngest son has a love for cooking. He started in the kitchen with me when he was about 9. I continue to work on my oldest and he is making great progress!
We sit down to dinner most every evening. Not so much on weekends because the boys (now young men) are out with friends or away at school. I am always trying new recipes. Holidays are typically something extravagant on the good china – just like my Mom used to do.
I am also very health conscious. My Mom was – to a point. She struggled with her weight but always tried to stay on top of relevant nutrition information and she would get moderate exercise. This part of me also comes from her but I have taken it to a different level because of her death. I work to maintain my weight and I push my body to sweat every chance I get. I believe that part of my drive comes from her motivating me and me not wanting to be gone too early from this life.
It is hard to believe that it has been 17 years since she died. She would have been 75 this year. I try not to get bogged down in wondering what life would have been like with her in it, especially for my boys.
Sometimes I think a part of me died with her but I know that the strongest parts of her live inside of me and are constantly urging me on to be a better person and to live the best life that I was meant to live.
Thank you, Mom, for who I am and for giving me the best example and life lessons. I am ever so grateful to you and love you from the bottom of my heart.
PS – I will keep talking to you because I know you are listening. Life is amazing right now and I know you have a hand in it!
One more thing before I sign off. I wanted to share part of this beautiful poem that my niece Alaina wrote as tribute to my Mom. She was about 12 when my Mom died and she read this at her funeral:
When the rain is soft,
It is your tears of joy.
When the wind blows through our hair,
It’s like whispers of your laughter
When the sun shines,
It’s like the warmth of your hugs.
And whenever we see a rainbow,
That let’s us know you will always be there.
Thank you for indulging me. As we get older, I think it is important to reflect and to remember those we love. Have a great weekend,