Mom at her 100th Birthday party.
A Mother's Love
A mother's love is warm and sweet,
A safe abode, a warm retreat.
Yet more there is than meets the eye,
Your mother's love's not "where" or "why."
'Tis given without thought...it is.
Throughout the years it mirrors His.
And when at last her days are done*,
And brilliant day is setting sun,
The light she gave will linger on,
The promise of a coming dawn,
When lasting love waits at the door,
Where mother's love can part no more.
© 1998 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
* Mother passed away at age 105, nearly 105 and a half, at home and only bed-ridden for the last few days as the cells in her body simply wore out and failed her spirit. She was and is Viola Winslow Jasper. (1908-2014) and her mind was clear to the end as she hummed "Tenderly, tenderly Jesus is calling, calling 'Oh sinner come home.'" and rested in her Lord.
When I wrote that poem for Mothers Day in 1998, my mother was 86. Today she is still doing very well at 103.
Yes, she is rehabilitating from a hip which broke in multiple places as she was sitting down just a few weeks ago, but that physical therapy is going very well. She will be returning to her own home in "another week or two" according to her rehab center.
I count it a rare privilege and an extraordinary blessing that my whole family can enjoy the wisdom and shared experiences this special Mom/Grammy/Great Grammy still provides for us. We love her.
Her life started with her being born "at home" the thirteenth and last child in a large, Maine, farming family. That year a man named Wilbur Wright flew some 30 miles in just 40 minutes! And, a new company named General Motors started business.
Her brothers and sisters have passed away now, though one was 102, and another sister was 98. Her father died tying his shoes at age 94, and my Dad succumbed to heart valve failure at 92, after a married partnership which had survived the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, and almost 30 years of retirement together.
At her first of two birthday parties this month, Mom was asked "How does it feel to be 103?" She replied, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, that it felt about the same as it felt to be 102! Another gal rehabilitating in the same facility is 105, and the two of them have been looking for another two there to make up a foursome to play Bridge.
What does an otherwise healthy woman do at age 103?
Mom reads, quite typically having two books she is in the course of reading. She reads several newspapers daily and masters their crossword puzzles. She clips coupons for shopping and mails some to other family members. She watches television when "it's anything I care about." She enjoys going to her hairdresser regularly, spends some of the nice days and nights at a cottage near the ocean in the summer, and enjoys going out to eat and having fine meals my sister or niece prepare at home. (Her daily breakfast for years now has been an English muffin with cottage cheese and marmalade, a glass of orange juice, a vitamin, and one or more cups of her favorite hot tea.)
Most of all, Mom enjoys time spent with my sister Mary, and almost daily phone visits with me, during which we talk about each other's events of the day, other family members, and some of the wonderful memories we share. She especially enjoys hearing the latest doings of any of her 17 great grandchildren who are spread across the country from New Hampshire to Washington State with 11 in the Utah and Iowa grandchildren's families.
I asked her one day what the happiest day of her life was. She replied, "The day I married your father." Asked what she most regretted, she answered that she had no real regrets, "life has been very good."
Other people ask me, "What's her secret?" I speculate that it might have something to do with "the water supplied by her well" and the fact that she and Dad had grown, and frozen or preserved, fresh vegetables and fruits after moving back to Maine in 1948. They also raised chickens some of those years, and Dad was an avid hunter and loved fishing, too. Questioners usually acknowledge there are likely merits in living such a basic lifestyle.
It certainly doesn't hurt Mom's longevity that Dad had a reasonable retirement income and health coverages which continue to keep Mom's life free of many of the stresses which even much younger Americans experience today.
And then, there are her genes.
© This portion is licensed under a Creative Comments Attribution-No Derivs 3.0 United States License
Knowing about America's senior Seniors:
Quick U. S. Population Facts
- USA QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
Frequently requested statistics for USA.
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on May 12, 2019:
Writing this more than 20 years ago allows for sharing it again on this Mothers Day...as well as recalling the memories doing so refreshes.
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 13, 2017:
And this beautiful story of a long life continues as a story of heritage and productive lives. Mom could take pride that now three of her 19 great grandchildren are taking college classes and her own children are actively involved in those lives and the lives of others.
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 29, 2014:
Now (1/29/2014) my mother is 105 (and 1/4th) and we just finished a nice (nearly hour-long) phone visit. My sister Mary and her daughter Heather are living in Mom's home along with Mom and the three are mutually blessing each other's lives, as well as the lives of those of us scattered throughout the USA, including one of my granddaughters who will head to Washington, DC for a national competition representing Iowa. The story continues.
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on September 12, 2012:
prettydarkhorse: In writing about life expectancy in the various states, I suddenly realized that my mother is not only outliving the life expectancy of babies born in 2012, and people who are already 100 in 2012, but far more significantly surpassing by leaps and bounds the lifes expectancy of her contemporaries who were also born in 1908! She certainly benefits greatly from my sister's loving and dedicated care, but she has had a "zest for life" which has had a lot to do with reaching toward 104 in October 2012.
By the way, the oldest person on record who was born in her hometown in Maine lived to be 107. She is not at all sure that she wants to surpass that record. But who knows?
prettydarkhorse from US on July 08, 2012:
wow, my grand parents died when they were 94 and 86 respectively!
It is always heartwarming to talk about love and old age plus living naturally with fresh foods to reach those old age!
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on May 13, 2012:
Victoria Lynn: I'm guessing your mother is still living. Perhaps you could call her and share the links? My mother herself said that she regretted things she could think of after her own mother passed away that she then wished she had communicated better. Trying to live each day with no regrets is certainly a challenge for all of us. Happy Mothers Day to her from me, and to you.
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on May 13, 2012:
Thanks for sharing this. What longevity in your family! You mom sounds wonderful. It's great that you talk daily. I should be so good with my mom! many votes!
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on April 12, 2012:
Vincent Moore: The little blurb on Mom which accompanied this Hub does not mention that she put Dad through his masters degree [coupled with his earnings as a teaching assistant at the Univ. of Maine (Orono)] during the Depression, raised my sister and I alone during summers spent in Maine while Dad stayed in DC with the Dept. of The Navy prior to our permanent move to Maine where he was for many years the Safety Superintendent at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Mom was a "Grey Lady" hospital volunteer, active in the American Lung Associatin, served on Maine governors' committees for the blind,etc., Garden Club president, was the President of the Maine State PTA, and on the National Board of the PTA, etc....and the only one in our nuclear family who did it all without going to college. She deserves an honorary degree representing all the other seniors who during their lifetimes have contributed so much to their home State of Maine.
Vincent Moore on April 12, 2012:
A beautiful recount of your mother's history. To be brought up by such a vibrant woman must have been so much fun. To live as long as your father did and still out live him and going strong is a blessing. There are not to many seniors who can function as well as she does.
I had one great grandmother on my mother's side who lived to 103 and my grandmother her daughter lived till 92. My dear mother lived only to 76 due to her smoking, one of her lungs gave out and she entered a coma and passed.
My father died at 72 and he had lived a hard life of smoking and drinking. I myself am now pushing 63 don't smoke, drink some wine and eat as healthy as I can. Apart from a few stiff joints, everything else seems to be working fine. Thank you for sharing and God continue to bless your family with great health and longevity. BTW I enjoyed your poem dedicated to you dear mother.
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on April 01, 2012:
mary615: Mom is still doing very well thanks to loving care from my sister/her daughter Mary. Seven months now from reaching 104! We talk each day, and I am likely to read her my latest Hub, especially if it is a poem as she also loves poetry and is surprised at my affirmative answer to her question "Did you write that?" Short term memory (far less important to her than the hallowed memories of her long term memory) is now a feature of life she shrugs off as "I don't remembetr that" for such things as what TV show she watched last night [what did you watch last night? So many aren't memorable anyway!]
Thanks for appreciating your own "mom" and treasuring your memories of her.
Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 22, 2012:
What a lovely tribute to your Mother. We Mothers do like to be appreciated and loved. I'm so happy she is doing well as you indicate in your comment. She sounds like a wonderful human being. I'm sure she is proud of you, too. Goodnight
Demas W Jasper (author) from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 17, 2012:
Yes, Mom is still doing fine as she shrugs off being almost 1,240 months active in her span of this country's history which so many times could have turned out so differently for all of us.
Hillbilly Zen from Kentucky on October 11, 2011:
What a beautiful essay! Your mother sounds like a wonderful person. Give her a smooch for me, please?