2:51 PM

If degrees were given in the study of Adversity, my mother would have earned a few doctorates in her lifetime. She began to experience hardship and disappointment at very young age.

My mother was diagnosed with polio at the age of 6 years. She stared death in the face as a child, as she watched other children die around her. Children were stacked side by side in large hospital wards set up to deal with the devastating polio epidemic during the late '40's and 50's. She turned to words for comfort and strength to get through those hard times in her youth. as well as in her adulthood.

As an adult, my mother experienced the heartache of divorce and the loneliness of single parenting. Her health began to fail her again later in life after the elusive post-polio disease began to slowly over take her life. After suffering with the effects of post-polio for nearly 26 years, the disease she'd known for most of her 73 years, finally ended her life. She lived most of her life knowing that she was living on borrowed time and every day was a miracle to her.

I pondered  my mother's earthly struggles, while I read her writing, penned in her own hand on a worn piece of stationary that I had found tucked away with other papers that were important to her. All of this, made these words even more meaningful to me.

I asked God for strength that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humility to obey.
I asked for help that I might do greater things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for,
But everything that I hoped for.
Despite myself, my prayers were answered.
I am among women, most richly blessed!

Originally written by an anonymous US Civil War soldier. Adapted by Penney L. Griffith, our angel mother and courageous life-soldier (1942-2016)

One of Penney’s favorite quotes. It was her life’s mantra.
My single most useful bit of humanity is this:
Expect trouble as an inevitable part of your life and when it comes, hold her head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me!” Then repeat to yourself the most comforting of all words, “This too shall pass!”  -Ann Landers

Love you forever mama! Thank you for teaching me through your example!

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  1. This is so beautiful. Your mama sounds like an amazing woman. I really enjoyed learning about her.

  2. This is so beautiful. Your mama sounds like an amazing woman. I really enjoyed learning about her.