A Wonderful Mother, Nurse and Writer Was the Spirit of FamilyFrom all of mom’s children
It’s both painful and therapeutic to write a tribute to a close loved one who passes away, especially a parent who made tremendous sacrifices for you. This is in honor of such a person, my beloved mother, Waltine Curry Conley. To all the mothers who sometimes think your endless sacrifices go unnoticed and unappreciated:
Believe me, your children notice and will greatly appreciate you when they grow up to be that “somebody” you wanted them to be. Keep grinding for them, through good and bad times. Make them feel special every Christmas and other holidays, even when you can only afford the smallest, most affordable things. Children grow up with fond memories of those little things that actually are bigger to them than you realize! No expensive thing in this world compares to the love and sacrifice you put behind the most humble gifts, even if it’s just a kiss and a hug.
The day that a great, loving mother passes on to a better place with our Heavenly Father is like a thousand mother’s days. Each fond memory of her comes flooding to mind and magnifies the positive thoughts times a million. Each day after that is yet another mother’s day, a chance to celebrate the life journey you had with her from childhood into adulthood. With those memories comes the shedding of more tears for that light from her that now shines in you. All of us with children must shine likewise for them. The smallest things you do for them are far larger than you know, and will light them up accordingly.
This is the pretext for honoring our beloved mother. She made an impact for sure, but sometimes felt she didn’t. At times (not always), she wondered if anyone noticed, and we did. And now the world notices, too. Here’s a little bit about her…
My mom sought more than anything else to be the wind beneath the wings of her children. No matter what challenges life threw her way, she always made sure the holidays were the most fun and special time of year. As a child, I loved the holidays, but didn’t fully understand how wonderful they were until I grew up, and found that the world grew colder year by year when Christmas and Thanksgiving came around. She showed us in detail how wonderful these seasons are, and took us to church to add to the warmth of these family occasions. To us, mom made Christmas so special that she was right up there in our young minds with the “reason for the season,” Jesus Christ. We enjoyed the holidays, and once we became adults, we realized that a lot of families did not have that kind of warmth and love during the holiday seasons. That’s when the greatness of what our mom did for us became apparent. As children, we took it for granted that everyone had a special holiday season, so no matter how little you think your sacrifice will be this holiday season, do it knowing that it will go a long way.
Mom made education a priority and eventually went back to college when she could, off and on, even into her later years. She was also a writer in her younger years. In 1977, she won a Pomona, Calif., poetry contest where her poem became the official poem of the city. That was one of her proudest moments as the mayor also gave her a key to the city and she was published in the local paper. With the prize money, she took us on a train ride to Flagstaff, Arizona, where we were thrilled to see the Flintstones larger than life cartoon characters while our feet burned on the hot summer tarmac. That train ride was one of the most thrilling experiences as we saw sites along the way we never saw before.
She loved taking us to various local parks like Lake Puddingstone and Ganesha Park in and around Pomona, California (eastern suburb of the greater Los Angeles area). There was a commercial back in those days that said “Summer, summer fruits, it wouldn’t be summer without ‘em” and that was true as we grew fruits in our backyard that tasted great (not like the genetically modified crap creeping up in stores today). Summers were so special because of the passion in taking us out to do stuff during the summers. Back in the day, when we went out or stayed in, she played her favorite songs from some of the most legendary acts I am a fan of till this day: Isley Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, Brothers Johnson, James Brown, Minnie Riperton, Roberta Flack, O’Jays, Teddy Pendegrass, and others from the 1960s and 70s. My musical composition/production skills were born out of that tradition.
I became the man I am because of her. She was probably one of the first mothers, at least that I know of, who read books to her infant (me) while I was still in her womb back in the day. A lady she encountered in a store while I was inside her gave her the idea to read books to her unborn child. Till this day, I am a published writer, avid reader and researcher, traits that have helped me excel in my IT software design career. My computer/IT career came in part from her working as a key punch operator in the 1970s. When we later discussed her career, and how she had to handle those old, old school key punch cards, I realized she was actually doing a part of computer programming and didn’t know it. When I played sports, and thought no one in my family cared, I would sometimes look up in the stands and see my mom with a blanket covering her up. As you can see, I still remember that all these years later. (Pops, though he was around as a financial provider, didn’t come to my games, which is why dads should sacrifice to go to as many of your children’s games as possible). When I thought I would graduate college without one of my parents there, she was there.
My older sister, Germaine, inherited the nursing part of our mom’s career. My younger sister LaTanya sacrificed a lot in being her primary caregiver as they lived together (not far from me) till the end. Our mother loved taking pictures with her after going to church or other outings (mom came with us to a Coats and Cocktails party last Fall, which she enjoyed). Our brother in California, Victor, also inherited her love of music, and he and I created music together in Los Angeles while I was still living there. I would take him with me to listening sessions in Hollywood, something our mom loved to see as siblings working together, not against each other.
That’s a little bit about the extraordinary human being that was our mom. I literally wrote this in the middle of making final arrangements, so as memories flood back, I may edit this article accordingly. Hug your parents or make amends if the love and trust got broken during your life’s journey because you never know…you just never know.
We love you always, mom!! Rest in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.