Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Sticking a Bit Closer to Home to Identify Heroes

with 6 comments

Today Is International Woman’s Day. A very important day and there are many heroes I could mention-Eleanor Roosevelt, Elizabeth Blackwell, Beverly Cleary,  Elizabeth Jane Cochran, every woman who marched, faced ridicule, sat in jail, and worked tirelessly so I and others would have the right to vote, and many, many more.

But today, for some reason, I am thinking of heroes much closer to me in my life. Not those I read about growing up, thanks to teachers who encouraged me to explore these incredible women, but those women who influenced my life in ways that shaped me into who I am today-my mother and her sisters.

My mother is dead. She has not been physically in my life since July 2, 1990. It doesn’t mean she isn’t with me every single day of my life because she is a piece of my heart. When her mother died in 1971, my mother was 49 years old. I remember my aunts were 39, 37, and 27 when Grandma Esther died. In 1990, I was 40 years old when my mother died.  I remember Mom telling me that it didn’t matter what age your mother was when she left you it would be too soon.

I remembered those words on the day of her funeral. I also remembered that she  told me that, although I was an only child, I would never be alone because I had aunts who loved me just like she loved their kids. And how she loved those kids from the time they were born through the trials and tribulations of adolescence to when they became parents

My mother expressed her love for others through her actions. She was a woman of few words but when she spoke you knew what she said was true and not lightly spoken. She had a laugh that began slowly, rose in volume and continued until it faded into silence.  She was my rock. She was my confidante. She was my mother.

She was right. My aunts did become like sisters to me. They invited my family and me to participate in large family gatherings as well as small get-togethers with them. They loved my children as my mom had loved theirs.

Their love for my family and me was never more apparent than November 2008 when I suffered a massive heart attack and three strokes. A time when it was surmised that I would not live longer than six months,  if at all. Tim has said that he does not know what he would have done without the incredible faith of “the Aunts”.

Against great odds, I did survive. I did recover from the paralysis of my left side. My heart did heal and I have had my aunts by my side every step of the way.My Aunt Janice called me once a week just to talk and I never told her  how welcome those phone calls were because it was like my mother was right there with me through a very difficult time.

My Aunt Mick was there too. She was the one that made sure that I did not withdraw from family. That I continued to be a part of something much larger than myself. She knew my tendency to become the only child who could do it all herself.

My Aunt Connie was six years old when I was born. My mother was 28. I grew up thinking of her more like a sister than an aunt although I always knew she was “the little sister” making her very special to my mother and my aunts. Together, they had a bond that was forged in a way that would never break.  My aunts all told me stories of my mom’s job at the Flxible Company during the war and how when the young men came back from war she quietly returned to her former job leaving the supervisor’s position that she loved. She paid for music lessons, she bought a camera for them for Christmas and all the other things she would do for her younger siblings. All three kept my mother alive for me.

Now, it is only Aunt Connie, me and my cousins who remind me of their mothers in such wonderful ways who carry on the values and traditions forged through the years. Aunt Connie continues to give me the hope I need and bolster my faith that those who go before us are with us each and every day.  I realize that all four of these women taught me how without hope we are nothing and with hope we have the faith to carry on.

Throughout my life, I told them all I loved them, but I don’t think I have had the courage to tell them they were my heroes. I am glad that I still have the time to tell Aunt Connie.  I can feel the warmth of the smiles of the other three wrapped around me as I write.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

March 8th, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Posted in general

6 Responses to 'Sticking a Bit Closer to Home to Identify Heroes'

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  1. Good stuff. Exceptionally good stuff.

    Tim Ferris

    12 Mar 18 at 11:03 AM

  2. What a special tribute for your aunts and your mother. We need to do more at expressing ourselves to the heroes in our lives. Bless you, Carole and Zane

    Carole Wachtel

    12 Mar 18 at 1:14 PM

  3. Very touching! Right from the heart.

    John McCoy

    12 Mar 18 at 3:42 PM

  4. Beautiful essay. While we’re on Heroes, you’ve always been one of mine.

    Kate Dupuis

    12 Mar 18 at 5:40 PM

  5. Touching Sad / happy tears – You are one of my hero’s !

    Rebecca Kempton

    12 Mar 18 at 11:33 PM

  6. Thank you for your wise words Shari!


    16 Mar 18 at 1:33 PM

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