Such is a Mother's Love

Henry W. Gould

    My mother, Gertrude, prayed for me for thirteen years before I was born. I learned about this after she passed away. She left a letter for me in an old strong box that I opened after her death. Here is what she wrote to me:

To my "Boy"

    "Always remember, mama loved you before you were born, because I prayed for a little boy for 13 years. At last, God answered that prayer and you came to live with Daddie and I. God gave you to me and to us to raise and to do all we could for you. You were a sweet baby and a precious boy and mother loved you more and more the older you grew. Now, son, always try to do the right thing and be a little man always. Don't do things you know your mother would be ashamed to see you do. Honor your father until the day you or he should pass on. Get best education you can, for that is something no one can take away from you and try to get the best jobs you can and make a success of. When you find a girl you want to marry, be a good husband to that girl and always try to be a worthy husband to her. Last, but not least, don't forget your prayers and mother's good night kiss for you." Mother
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    This note was found in the strong box along with other important documents and records shortly after my mother's death on 27 July  1964. It must have been written not too long before her death for she had been very ill. Mother had been married the first time in 1915. Her husband was a postman. In the ten years of their marriage no children were born. Then her husband became ill carrying the mail through rain, snow, hail and blow and died in 1925. Then she met my father Robert and I was born in 1928. I was their only child and so I was the answer to her many years of prayer. I think this story and her note tell a lot about what a mother's love really means.

    Another insight to understanding my mother's love is to be gained from the fact that for many years she bought no new clothes for herself; instead she took care of Dad and me with all her strength and love. After I got a beginning job teaching here at West Virginia University, I would cash my small paycheck (I started at $4,500 a year in 1958) and send her some fifty or one hundred dollar bills to help her and Dad. In that old strong box, along with her note "To my Boy" I found almost all the old fifties and hundreds I had sent her. In her devotion to see me succeed, she had saved everything unselfishly for Dad and me rather than spend any of it on herself. Such is a mother's love.

    Everything that I have accomplished in my work as a teacher and researcher in mathematics in a state university for over 50 years has been possible because of my mother's love. If only she could have lived to see what her love made possible. I believe even now she knows.

    Note. I was inspired to write this account of my Mother's letter of love and share it with readers of "Family Ties" when my friend Steve Popovich lost his own beloved mother on 27 July 2001. Steve told me about "Family Ties" and suggested that I share my own Mother's message with others to show how deeply that message of love affected my whole life and being.

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This was published in the magazine "Family Ties", Issue No. 5,
Winter 2001, page 8.  The magazine was published by Jeanie Balzer
and her sister and was an outgrowth of their work with their
First Craft Capital Mall at Chillicothe, Ohio. Their aim was to offer
inspiration, crafts, laughs, sharing and shopping and restore
traditional American values. Unfortunately the magazine has recently ceased publication.

HWG 29 November 2008