But at the age of 46, just three short years after I was born, my mom died. In those days, no one talked about people after they died. Especially the Irish! My mother was a saint, that was all I needed to know. And...she was was watching down on me from heaven. Jeesh! Try stealing an extra cookie or lying to your teacher about homework when you know that. The 'old Irish', as we younguns called them, were always telling me how gorgeous she was and how I was 'the picture of your mother.'
On a trip to Ireland about three years ago, more was revealed. I got more of a picture of the woman, and the land from whence she came. Turns out, she was not a saint! Yay, I can stop trying to live up to that standard...it actually hurts to try! She was a spitfire, loved clothes ("a clothes-horse" they called her) and most of all, she loved people. I stood in the white cottage where she was born and got to see her school house down the hill. We drove up onto the small mountaintop to see where my Granny Biggins was born!
My cousin Marilyn sent me a letter a number of years ago too, telling me how my mom cared for her and for her sister after their mom died, washing her hair and letting it dry out in the sun, and talking them into the next phase of womanhood during their early teenage years. Another cousin, Eilish, a member of the Australian part of the clan told me how my mom had arranged to have her mom come over too. But Nora met her man, and that kept her in Ireland...and then later off to Australia, so that was not to be.
Many angels have shown up in my life over the years, and like my mom, they've left their mark too. I've recently received all her papers in the mail, as I ready myself to apply for my Irish Citizenship. In that group of papers I found of course, her birth and death certificates, her baptismal certificate and her marriage license. That's what it boils down to, as my dad would say. But you know what...she boiled down to a whole lot more to a lot of people. So Happy Birthday, Annie Biggins! The world is a better place because you arrived in it!