Wednesday, May 09, 2012


MAGGIE O'NEAL (my mom)

Mother. There's no other word quite like it or carries the same weight as the word Mother. Whether you call yours, Mama, Mother, or Mom, or whether you're mom is not your natural mother but raised you, she still counts as Mother. Mothers love us despite our many faults or any disagreements we may have had, unconditionally, just like the Father's love for us. :) Most pray for us, were present to place a cool cloth on your brow when you were sick growing up, made you cookies and pressed your school clothes, praised you when it was worthy, and worried over you when she knew something was wrong. My mother told great stories and made us kids laugh. She loved country and western music, gospel and ELVIS! Sometimes I think she liked Elvis more than us kids. Lol! She danced a gig around the living room or kitchen to the music from her Hi-Fi (that'll date you!) and danced with my children as well. She made the best dumplings and cornbread you ever put in your mouth! She lived on social security for many years in a tiny apartment, but never complained about it. She watched every nickel she had just like it was sill the depression she went through, but somehow managed to have a good hot meal on her table always when anyone dropped by or was sick in her complex. She had so many grandchildren and great grandchildren that I've lost track of the total.

My mama was tough! A true Steel Magnolia. She grew up on a farm in Mississippi in a large family. She worked hard in her life in years my dad wasn't present in our family, taking on all kinds of odd jobs to keep us from going under and she wasn't too proud to work at any job if it meant putting food on the table or paying the bills. From doing other people's laundry, ironing, shucking oysters, working at a chicken plant, plucking chickens, picking cotton, waitressing, working on a dairy farm, picking up pecans, and as housekeeper at the local motels on the Gulf coast, she gave it her all her best. I'm sure I've left one, out but these are the ones that I was aware of. You hardly see that kind of dedication any more these days because people now feel they are entitled to "everything" when they're just starting out in life.

 Mama kept her Bible always opened on her coffee table as far back as I can remember at whatever passage she was studying that given day. Many of the those verses I can still hear her quote in my head, and are a big part of my life today. She instructed us in the way we should go, and danged if we didn't. We all wanted to make her proud because she was proud of us.

She lost a baby girl at eight months old and a daughter who was nearly 59 and her husband at 62, but yet she toughed it out when life seem to hold no joy. I'm glad she wasn't here to see my other three brothers pass on. She loved being outdoors, and worked in her flower bed until she fell at 87 and never fully recovered.

There's so much more I could say about my mama. She never owned a home, or drove a car, but she  filled our home with love and laughter and most of all her Faith. I'm eternally grateful for her telling me who Jesus Christ is. It's been 14 years since her passing, but the loss is just as fresh on my mind, especially on Mother's Day, as it ever was. I'd like to be able to say I have some of her strength in me.

I want to honor her by giving you a chance to receive a copy of my latest book, Deeply Devoted. All you have to do is leave me a comment--short one please, about your mother. I'll randomly draw a name next week. Leave you email address,--put symbols in parenthesis, know the drill 




Lynne said...

My mom died when I was 15 but my fondest memories of her were that she was always there for me, no matter what I wanted. She devoted her life to me and showed me her love everyday.

Lynne Young

Susan Snodgrass said...

I already have the book, so don't enter me in the drawing, but wanted to say your mother sounds a lot like mine and even looks a bit like her. Mama raised two kids on her own after her husband abandoned her and instilled in my younger brother and me the importance of serving God and being in His house every time the doors were open. She made do and settled a lot of times so we didn't hvae to do without. She made our clothes, canned food and worked 2 jobs at once for while. She passed away 1/16/11 and her birthday was this past Sunday. Her ashes are buried in a flower bed in the woods behind my house on the creek bank. We planted tons of flowers, put a statue of the Lion and the Lamb (she loved that) and an angel down there. There are chairs and a swing and I visited there Sunday morning. I know she's not there but I just somehow feel her when I'm down there. Now Mother's Day is coming up and I have to wear a white flower. I miss her so much sometimes it hurts physically. But I keep picturing her peering out the gate of Heaven looking for me. She used to sing a song titled "I Don't REgret a Mile I've Traveled for the Lord" and we played it at her memorial service. Even though she was not conscious during her death vigil, she squeezed my hand ever so slightly when we played that song. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

I already have the book.

Your writing about Granny made me cry. I didn't know she worked in a dairy farm. I could use a tea cake today!

Anyway, my Mama is the best and I'm trying to be a good mama like you were to me. I love you.

Carrie Daws said...

My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1977...and God blessed us with remission! She's had many struggles, but we've had many years together and I'm better for it.

pol said...

Hi Maggie, Mothers day is bittersweet now that "Mom" has gone to be with the lord, 1998 and seems like yesterday some days and many yrs others. She cooked a mean pot of soupbeans with cornbread and we never had a birthday without a homemade pie. thanks for sharing memories of your Mother with us.
Paula O(

searching4princecharming said...

My Mama is absolutely amazing. Whenever I'm sick or had a rough day, there is nothing like having a Mama touch! Your post was absolutely beautiful!


Maggie Brendan said...

Oh, my heart is touched by everyone's comments. It's had to lose your mother but what sweet memories we have.

Susan, your loss is still so new and fresh and I pray this Sunday you'll think only the wonderful times with your mom and how you will see her in heaven. What a reunion that will be!

Sheri, my sweet daughter, I didn't mean to make anyone cry, but truthfully, I cried writing this, and had so many typos that I had to come back and fix them. :) BTW-you don't have to try to be a good mama-you already are, my dear one! Love you too!

Maggie Brendan said...

Honestly, I can't seem to type a thing right today. In my previous post, that's supposed to be "hard" to lose your mom,not "had". Grr. It's been one of those days folks!

Anonymous said...

I surely miss my mama. I don't think I appreciated her enough when she was with she's gone. Oh well, I have faith that I will see her again, and oh what a joyful meeting that will be <3


Maggie Brendan said...

Luvdasher, funny how hindsight is 20/20 isn't it? But I bet your mom knew you loved her. You can use your insights you've learned now to help others in your family--like being a loving Aunt or cousin or friend to someone who is lonely or forgotten in your cirle. Somehow, I bet you do that naturally, anyway :)

Wendy Newcomb said...

Love the story about your Mom, I lost my Mother to Alzheimers 6 years ago and still miss her!


Wilson Household said...

Your mom sounded a lot like mine. You could have been writing about my mom. She held two jobs at a time to raise me by herself and give me the best. No one other than the Lord and Jesus can ever love you more than your mother. My Mother always said" Put God First" She gave me love, strength and led me to my faith. Even in her last 5 years of her paralyzed and bedridden life, while living with me, she was able to give me strength, hope, inspiration, guidance and faith. I lost my Mom in 1999 to leukemia with only 5 weeks notice and it still hurts. I miss her dearly. She lives in my heart. I can't wait to reunite with her when God calls me home.
Like ·

Wilson Household said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilson Household said...

I love the story about your Mom. It was as if you were writing about my mom. My Mother always said "Put God First." I miss her dearly. She lives in my heart. I can't wait to reunite with her when God calls me home.

Joyce Wilson

Wilma said...

My Dad died when I was only 6 & my Mom worked hard to raise me too but she always had food for anyone that came to our house. We were poor by today's standard but I didn't know that because we always had what we needed. She lived to be almost 96 & the last 25 years were with us. She was my strength when my husband died & she was with me 3 more years. I don't know what I would have done without her. She taught me what it meant to trust in God for all things.I miss her very much.

Sharon said...

My mother passed away 1/16/11 and was a lot like your mother. She devoted her life to God and her family. I miss her terribly, but know I'll see her again.

Molly Noble Bull said...

My late mother taught me too many important things to mention here. And some would call her an overprotective mom. I disagree.
Mama's overprotective nature served me well. Had she not taught me as a child to beware of child molesters, I might not be writing this message today.

Maggie Brendan said...

I'm enjoying reading everyone's posts. The common thread I see here is that we all cherised our mothers. My thought is that we never get over losing our mom, we just "get" through it with God's help and the support of family and friends. To those of you whose mom is still alive, count your blessings and make sure to tell her how much her sacrifices mean to you. Mags

KaeBee said...

Your mom sounds like she was an amazing woman, as well as an amazing mother. When you wrote that she loved Elvis, it reminded me of my mom cranking of music and dancing with me and my siblings. My friends were riding their bikes past our house and saw through our big bay window. I think they were teasing me about it, but I loved dancing with my mom so much, it never occurred to me that I was supposed to be embarrassed by their teasing. :)

Blessings to you on Mother's Day while you are missing your sweet mother.
-Kris Jacobson

Maggie Brendan said...

KaeBee, That's so funny. I know what you mean. Music has always been a huge part of our lives. I often wonder how people can live without it. Thanks for posting.

Carolyn Boyles said...

I lost my mother in 1996 to a rare medication interaction and a horrible way for anyone to die. I miss her sense of humor.

authorboyles at

Maggie Brendan said...

Carolyn, What an awful way to lose your mother!I'm so sorry. I hope you made note of the drug just for your personal info.

Thank you for post!

Anonymous said...

My mother is a strong, classy Southern belle. At 80 years young, she is still carrying wood and mowing grass, much to my dismay. She tells me that "moving keeps her young", and "she isn't one of those old people". Her sweet charm and sassy style is one of the things that I like most about her. Her favorite thing besides gardening, is to go shopping with coupons. When she finds a deal, she calls me to say "chi-ching". Momma will never know how much I love and adore her. She is the best mother a kid could ever have asked for, and I'm thankful God chose her to be mine.

Anonymous said...

I failed to put my email address for my post, it is

Maggie Brendan said...

K.B. Your mom sounds fantastically active for her age. Does she still drive? She is much like my mom was and refused to do things with "the old folks". Lol. Thanks for sharing.