This blog is in the honor of my Mother, Alta. If she had lived longer than 93, she would be 100 years old on December 6, 2017. We miss her so much, so on her birthday, our son, Steve and husband, Bill, and I will take a red poinsettia to her grave site. It’s also appropriate for Christmas because this was also a holiday that she loved.
What does one say about a life that was lived so long? My Mother was a lovely lady who grew up in North Carolina. She was Alta Ellis West Barker Bishop. Such a long name, but each part of the name was almost a life within a life. As Alta Ellis, she was the daughter of a farmer in N.C. Her Grandfather was a country doctor who ministered and saved lives during the American Civil War. Alta grew up with five siblings. Now there is only one of them with us today… my Uncle John who will soon be 95 and still playing golf. Hopefully I have some of their Ellis genes. My mother’s mind was sharp even until the day she died. So was her ability to laugh and make jokes. Her heart doctor came into her room to check on her and said, “Mrs. Bishop, you are looking great!” As he walked out, she turned to me and said, “Boy, is he a salesman!” Just that week she had consulted with her financial advisor and made her own decisions to enter Hospice for care if it was necessary. She died a few hours later.
There are so many details in remembering the life of my Mother.
- After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she left home to pursue a career in hair design and care.
- She married and had her only child at the age of 21. (That was me.)
- Alta was a patriot. During WWII, she worked in a munitions plant to help the war efforts.
- Always beautiful and glamorous, she opened her own hair styling business to give other women the same opportunity.
- During those years as a single parent, she worked hard to support me and better our lives.
- Two of her husbands died from illness and Mother always kept strong when facing adversity. I have tried to learn this value from her in some of my own difficulties.
- As an older woman, she lived with my husband and me for a number of years and was a loving Grandmother to our children and proud to be a great-grandmother. She always expected them to be loving, honest, appreciative and a part of the family.
We only have one birth mom. Alta was the one who gave me life. She saw me through some difficult times… never blaming or demanding…letting me, as an adult, make my choices for good or for bad. Perhaps that is why I have followed the same policy with my own children. In the end, I would never have knowingly hurt her. This is why I honor her today with these few memories for they are too many to count.
Thank you, Mother, for all that you have meant to Bill and me…as well as all of our family. I pray that my soul may be happily united with yours when the time comes. We miss you.
Slide show of Alta : Her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia, her garden, the Florida beaches, her time cooking great meals for the family.
These words may describe her best: caring, consistent, giving, genuine. Just before her death, she asked my husband, Bill, to give her Holy Communion for she was ready to meet God. He did this and prayed with her. Her Christian faith was strong. We should all live our lives so that we may have this peaceful transition from this life to the next.
Probably her favorite scripture verse was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
My Mother, Alta, wanted others to know the love of Christ that she knew…and the peace and joy knowing Him brings. We lift up her memory and the Cross that she cherished.
(Turn on sound)