Sunday was Mother’s Day. I always think about my mother on Mother’s Day, but this year is especially poignant. Since my mother’s death, my husband and I have rented her house. We have made changes and/or renovated after each tenant departed. Let’s just say that the last tenants didn’t take care of the property; we had to renovate and repair substantially. Initially, this destruction of so much property angered and appalled me, but the renovations have resulted in a flood of memories that have reminded me of the love we shared. I’m reminded of her standing in the kitchen, smothering sweet potatoes in cinnamon, marshmallows, and brown sugar. I’m reminded of her mixing potatoes, mayonnaise, pickles, celery, etc. into her wonderful potato salad. Perhaps I was happiest when the young man working on the renovations told me his wife thought she saw my mother in the house. My husband scoffed at the idea, but the young man’s words filled me with an inexplicable peace. I truly believe that my mother is happy we are renovating her house and making it a home for others who will one day make their own memories in it.
I’ve been inspired to pull out old photos and remember all the people now gone once so dear. It was old photos and letters that inspired me to write historical fiction. I wanted to tell the stories of their generation. My father inspired the character of Jude Mooney even though I embellished his story somewhat (not that much—my father was a handsome rogue). My mother’s generation inspired my WWII novels, and I realized as I wrote how similar my mother is to many of my characters. My heroines sacrifice and have courage. They suffer loss but continue to love. My mother was so like the women I create. I feel her loss every Mother’s Day, but I know she is watching out for me and happy that I’m making her house a home again.