Guest Column: A loving life’s story | PostIndependent.com

Guest Column: A loving life’s story

Elaine Langstaff
Elaine Langstaff and her mom.
Provided |

Beverly and Lawrence, sitting in the tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. A beautiful Gerber baby girl named Judith was born.

Before Mom even knew, Mom’s mom did. Another baby in the oven? asks wise Grandma Curtis. Before No. 2, tragedy struck and a daughter’s parents’ untimely death left a broken heart.

Maybe God knew losing two meant needing two. Come Thanksgiving twins were born and I became my mother’s daughter.

One of my earliest memories was seeing by the living room chair (in a glass coaster with silver trim), Mom’s freshly cut fingernails and how elegant they looked. Would I grow them so beautiful and strong? I wondered — being my mother’s daughter.

We followed my father’s dream. Mom left her beloved seashells by the seashore. A yearn I too possess… I must be my mother’s daughter.

Years passed in Colorado – new school, haying, chores, 4-H and the mountains became our friends. Four-wheel drives, picnics, camping, canning, knitting, dogs, chickens, cows, horses and bummer lambs; long days, sometimes nights. How would I ever keep up my mother’s daughter?

A fond pre-teen memory, riding on the back of Mom’s snow machine. Not exciting, not fast, not rough, just listening to the engine’s loud hum and enjoying the outdoors, the cold, the bright sun, the smells, the snow. I now wonder if she enjoyed them as much as me … It’s cool being my mother’s daughter.

The only gift I wanted for my 15th birthday was for my mom to come home from St. Mary’s Hospital. She made it; with a broken back and broken ribs to heal from a vehicle rollover. Doctors said she probably wouldn’t walk and if so, probably bent over for the rest of her life. Goes to show, Mom proved them wrong. Mom said to the very end, doctors stated she’d probably be paralyzed. I said “Mom, I think you beat that horse to death.” … How could I ever be as strong as my mother?

We became friends, confidantes, sounding boards, especially in my senior year. Mom sent Dad on his way after breakfast and I had my hour with Mom on a regular basis – then a boy captured my heart and swept me away. My heart had a hole left in it. So sudden, such distance; letters were OK but … Did Mom feel the void as her daughter did?

We – she lost my twin, her only son. I felt awful for my mom. How do parents survive such a loss? … I can’t replace my mother’s son.

Time joined us once again. My mother was now called Grandma. Seems now as I settled back into our community, I was more notably known as my father’s daughter.

Yes, I give Dad credit, lots of credit is due and that will never change. Dad retired – Mom and Dad hit the road and I shifted to a new role… as my mother’s daughter again.

I kept an eye on things here as my Mom and Dad played – good times for not enough years when a heart attack then a stroke found Dad homebound and Mom became the full-time caregiver. Such strength I witnessed … as my mother’s daughter.

Dad’s death left a void with Mom – not that it helped much, but she asked I call nightly. “Certainly,” as our world took another turn in roles … my mother’s daughter.

Mom beat melanoma and breast cancer (blip in the road), but it was time to move close to me and a community she loved. Independent she was, now I look back and dependence she prepared for. Such strength in my mother, although never liking being without my dad and missing their RV years.

Then pancreatic cancer struck, decisions discussed, oh what the heck – live life to the fullest – right? I retired gladly to take this journey with Mom. Why? Because I am my mother’s daughter.

Six months to 2 years Mom was given. A Mississippi riverboat tour and miles on Amtrak … check. A first-ever family reunion successfully pulled off … check. Two trips to Laughlin with Dear Friend Sunny … check. One year and 3 months later, she tried her best to prove the doctors wrong.

Roles may have reversed (as Mom said), however my life’s been fulfilled by my mother’s side, and I will always be proud to continue in life as … my mother’s daughter.

Elaine Langstaff of Glenwood Springs offered this tribute to her mother.


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