home schooling paths
E-journal October 28, 2008

Remembering My Mother
In memory of the exceptional life of Nelle DeMilly Fain Bridges

by Ellyn Davis

View past ejournals HERE>>

My mother died two weeks ago today. She was 89 years old.

For the last several years, Mama’s health had been declining to the point that during the summer of 2007 my sisters and I had to help her make the difficult transition to a nursing home. Her death was expected, but that didn’t make it any easier for any of us when it finally came.

My mother grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and was a college graduate in an era when not that many women went to college. She went to Florida State, which at that time was a woman’s college, and she followed in the footsteps of her mother, who graduated from Florida State in the 1920’s. So there are a lot of ‘Nole fans in my family. In fact, the week before she died, she was listening to the Florida State game and rooting for them to beat Miami.

So, I am the third generation of highly educated women who became educators themselves and my daughter followed in our footsteps.

As I considered writing about my mother, a lot of thoughts swirled around in my head. What to say to sum up the impact of a person who devoted the best years of her life to raising me and my two sisters? Who was just 9 months short of being married to the same man for fifty years when he died? Who will be forever respected and admired by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren? Who was beloved by everyone who knew her? Who, to me and to many who knew her epitomized all that is good about Southern culture—graciousness, hospitality, kindness, patience, long-suffering, refinement, a gentle nobility? Who made the best country fried steak in the world?

She also was smart, well-traveled, and well-versed in everything from literature to poetry to science to history. As one of the granddaughters commented, “She was the ‘go to’ person whenever you wanted to find out something about anything.”

She was the woman my father called “the belle of Blue Creek” and she really was a Southern belle.

My son, James, has commented that he thinks we are descended from royalty because there was something regal about my mother and the way she carried herself and the graciousness with which she treated others.

The pastor told us that everyone in the church loved “Miss Nelle,” and she was the most visited person in the nursing home. I believe it. There wasn’t a time over the past year and a half when I went to visit her that someone wasn’t dropping into her room to see her, to bring roses, to catch her up on what was going on in the small town of Blakely, Georgia just outside the windows of her room. And her friends weren’t just from her generation. At the funeral visitation, men and women 20, 30, 40 years younger than she told me with tears in their eyes how much my mother had meant to them.

The respect that was shown her at her funeral reminded me of that scene in To Kill A Mockingbird where everyone in the balcony of the courthouse stood up when Atticus Finch entered and the old black man told Atticus' daughter, Scout, "Stand up. Your father's passing by."

At the graveside, I looked at our family—the three of us daughters, the 10 grandchildren, the three great-grandchildren, the wives and husbands of various of the grandchildren—and I thought to myself the same thought I had at my father’s funeral, “a righteous person can really impact many generations beyond themselves.”

But when it was all said and done, there were two things I wanted to share about my mother.

First, my mother knew how to face adversity with great composure. In every difficult, painful, fearful situation, her constant refrain was, “This too shall pass.”

I never remember my mother ever being really healthy. All the time I was growing up she suffered from anemia and kidney infections. Later, she faced breast cancer. Not once but twice. And the surgeries left her not only disfigured but with nerve damage that resulted in intermittent episodes of searing pain in her right arm for the rest of her life. Another surgery in her 70s left her with tremors and episodes of vertigo and such severe post-surgical depression that she nearly died.

But, she accepted it all with, “This too shall pass.”

So, throughout my life I’ve learned to face every difficult, challenging, impossible, situation with the same aplomb. I've had to face many unthinkable situations in my life. But I remind myself that, "This too shall pass." And it always does.

Second, my mother knew how to love.

It’s been said that, “A mother’s love determines how we love ourselves and others.” But hers wasn’t a mushy, sentimental kind of love, it was more what I would call loyalty. She stuck by me through thick and thin, through all the misunderstanding, heartache, confusion and resistance of growing up, whether I made good choices or poor ones. And hers wasn’t a selfish, “what’s in it for me” love. It was a genuine concern. She always had my best interest at heart.

While my sisters and I were growing up, my mother had this poem pasted to the mirror over her dresser in her bedroom:

To My Child

You are the trip I did not take,
You are the pearls I could not buy.
You are my blue Italian lake,
You are my piece of foreign sky.

I don’t remember who wrote it, but I remember growing up wondering about this woman who gave up trips, and pearls, and visits to Italian lakes, and glimpses of foreign skies for my sisters and me. Sometimes it made me feel sad for her, because I thought of what an inconvenience we must have been. It just didn't seem a fair trade-off to me. She gave up all that wonderful life for the three of us?

But when I had children of my own, I finally understood the poem. To her, we WERE the trips and pearls and Italian lakes and foreign skies. My children were so important to me that I would gladly put my dreams on the shelf for them or abandon my dreams altogether. And I knew she was the same way. In fact, I knew that I was that way because of her.

And later, after we were all safely grown and married with children of our own, she had her trips, and pearls, and foreign skies. And yes, even her blue Italian lake.

So, when my sisters and I were trying to decide on the epitaph to put on her gravestone, we chose “A Legacy of Love.”

Thank you, Mama.

Be sure to sign up for our ejournal! Sign up below.

View past ejournals HERE>>

Any article appearing on this website may be copied or forwarded electronically provided that proper credit is given and that the article is not substantively modified. No article may appear in whole or in part in a publication sold for profit or as part of any commercial endeavor without the written consent of Home School Marketplace. Any reprint must include an acknowledgement of where it came from and the sentence "Sign up for the Home School Marketplace newsletter at www.homeschoolmarketplace.com."

© Copyright 2008. Home School Marketplace, 1053 Eldridge Loop, Crossville, TN 38571.

Home Business Resources

Let Your Mortgage Make You Rich.
A friend in my internet marketing group discovered this technique for paying down your mortgage incredibly quickly without making an extra payment or refinancing. Using her method, people are cutting a 30 year mortgage down to eight or nine years. It’s true; without extra payments or refinancing – you could save tens of thousands of dollars - even hundreds of thousands - on what you pay for your home. And the best part is that the book comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don't save more on your mortgage than the book costs in the first 18 months of using the techniques, you'll get your money back.
Find out more about this money-saving book NOW!

From Home School to Home Business
(14 CD Set)

If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time.People who have attended tell us that it changed their lives—not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income.This set is huge and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business! Find out more about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Building the Business of Your Dreams (8 CD Set) I've had requests for just the business portion of the From Home School to Home Business Seminar, so have developed a set of the business CDs from that set. It contains 8 CDs and includes sessions on The Entrepreneurial Mind, Multiple Streams of Home Income, Discovering Your Ideal Life and Ideal Business (2 CDs) , Developing a Business Plan (2 CDs), and The Importance of Business Relationships. Plus, there is a very important and insightful interview on Redeeming the Marketplace. Find out about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

SALE PRODUCTS! Limited Quantities
30% Off! We only have a few of each of these left.

We have the following WIN books available: The Reluctant Writer, Comprehensive Story Writing, Writing Man 1 & 2, and WIN Twin.

For more information and to place an order, GO HERE>>

Be sure to sign up for our ejournal! Sign up below.

I Saw the Angel in the Marble

With over 4,000 copies sold in just a few months, I Saw the Angel in the Marble is becoming a home schooling best seller!

This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Find our more HERE>>

Turning Hearts: Davis Seminar Set (8 CDs)

The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis, this set contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

Angel in the Marble/Davis Seminars Set
Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Davis Seminars CDs HERE>>

Building the Home School of Your Dreams

Building the Home School of Your Dreams is a 6 CD set taken from the From Home School To Home Business Seminar and features sessions by Chris Davis and Mary Hood. Find out more HERE>>

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter featuring lots and lots of great ideas and information about home life in all of its facets--schooling at home, creating family businesses, raising children, and more! Why not join us? The 20,000 plus home educators who receive our EJournal newsletter get timely, new articles, promotional specials, company news and more delivered right to their email inbox. We offer many articles and thought-provoking essays through the EJournal that you won't find anywhere else. Best of all, it's free. And, rest assured we never sell, rent or share our customer email or mailing list with anyone for any reason. You can unsubscribe any time.
Fill in your e-mail address below and press "sign me up!"
Your E-mail address: