Today, September thirteenth, would have been my mother's eightieth birthday. Mom used to tell me that none of her siblings had lived to be eighty - she was the youngest - the only one still alive since her older sisters had died. Mom wanted to reach the age of eighty, but it was not to be. She died last November 12, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the day.
Above, 1999, my Mom (in the middle) with two of her sisters, the last of the Anderson clan.
My mother's last forty years were years of hard penance. She was a devout Catholic, and she wanted to do her penance on earth. She lived on very little, suffered many hardships, and never asked for anything. For ten years she went without most of the comforts we take for granted, like running water, electricity, food, and adequate heat. She was steadfast about living on the property she was raised on; a fifty six and a half acre piece of land that bordered the Slocan River. The old cabin her family shared was barely standing, and for a while Mom just camped out there. The property was beautiful - tranquil and isolated - the perfect place for contemplative prayer. But there was no home to live in, so she just made do until one day we, her children, showed up with a trailer that became her home.
Above, the remnants of the old log cabin my Mom's family lived in. My Mom is on the left.
Mom relished her solitude and worked hard at establishing gardens and planting flowers to pretty the place up. She offered everything to the Lord; this I know because I have kept her many letters that she wrote over the years. Her faith never ceases to amaze me. It pleased her to give away whatever she could, even though she had very little to give. I always think of Mom when the priest reads the passage of the Widow's Mite from the Gospel of Mark. Like the poor widow, Mom's gifts were humble and quiet; she wanted no earthly rewards, and was not concerned with pleasing man.
After my mother died, I had Gregorian Masses said for her at Clear Creek Monastary. Please say a prayer for her soul today. She was always pleased to know that others were praying for her. This last picture of my mother was when she was seventeen, holding one of her nephews.
A Happy Heart (written by Zora Anderson a week before she died)
"I love having a happy heart.
When I have a miserable day,
I can still pray for a happy heart.
When I am having a good day,
I enjoy it with a happy heart.
Whether my day is good,
or whether it is miserable,
I can still have a happy heart."