I was just 16 years-old when my mother died at the age of 55 in 1975, forty-five years ago now. A few years after that, my father sold our house on Robert St and we had to move. Being the only one left at home, a lot of the packing fell to me. I happen to be taking some pictures off the wall one day, when one of the frames came loose. Placing it carefully on the table, I noticed another picture beneath the one displayed. Taking it apart, I found hidden, this beautiful 8x10 photo of my young mother with her first born, my sister Anne. It took my breath away. It had to be one of the most beautiful portraits that I had ever seen. My sister seemed to be about three or four at the time, so the photo was taken environ 1942. Wow! Mom would have been around 22 years at the time. This was a mother I had never known. She was so beautiful with so many great years ahead of her. A young mother sitting proudly with her young daughter. Wow. After I had found it, I gave my sister a copy of this picture on her next birthday. Anne must have cried tears of joy and some sadness for an hour! She proudly displayed it immediately.
But it got me thinking; why had Mom hidden such a beautiful portrait? I came to the conclusion, it made her sad of a life she once had, the promise of her young life. By the time I came along in 1958, Bernice Dupuis had four more kids, she was 38 years old and her future had turned out different. Life had gotten more lonely for her I think, the promises of better days and bliss not quite realized but through it all, the love she had for her children, and the few grandchildren she got to meet, brought such joy to her. She loved to knit and bake, quilt and oh yes, pickle. When we moved there were so many pickled things in the cellar. Some of it there for many years. Good penicillin I'm sure. But she was an enormously loving and devoted mother and grandmother.
Sadly, she would never live to see so many occasions, weddings and birthdays. She would only get to meet seven of her thirteen grandchildren and never got to meet any of the 24 great-grandchildren. I wish she could have. She would have loved them, been so proud and amazed how everything turned out in our family.
But this hidden picture, said so much about her life at the time and about our lives to come. I would have loved to have met her then. But all I have is a picture. You were such a great Mom! We all still love you! Even those of us in your family who never got to meet or know you.
Happy Mother's Day. You're far and yet always near . . . in our hearts, our thoughts, our tears and our joy!