Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

Finally Understanding My Mother


Mom JoAne Mary Kaye 1967 (2)


Like another lifetime

Yet the same lives,

My dad, your husband,

Is off fighting the war

In Vietnam.

Your thoughts are with him,

Wondering, is he safe?

Is he hungry?

Will he make it home?

Not wanting to think about it,

Not wanting to watch the news,

But worrying nonetheless.

My little sister wonders too

Though it looks like she’s playing

Making lines in the dirt

Like a meditation.

I stand quietly.

Thinking. Pondering.

Wondering how to help.

Maybe just standing by your side.

Is enough.


Now, I understand

How strong you really were.


This photo is one of the treasures I’ve found as I go through the things that belonged to my parents, Betty and Jim. It was taken in 1967 when my father was in Vietnam and we were visiting relatives in Connecticut. Whoever took it had a good eye for capturing the moment. It’s very different from most of the photos I find where my mother is older, posing with a smile or volunteering at church or the soup kitchen with Dad.

When I was growing up, my mother suffered from depression that caused her to be hospitalized more than once. The last nervous breakdowns came when Dad was in Vietnam. For many years I thought of my mother as weak. She was always kind, but a little fuzzy in the brain. I wanted her to be strong.

Now, I get the fuzzy brain too, like: “why did I come into this room?” Now, when I look at this photo, I feel compassion.

After Mom died in 2008, I asked my dad what helped him get through the horrors that haunted him from Vietnam – things he didn’t want to talk about because they gave him nightmares.

“It was your mother’s love,” he told me.

I always knew they loved each other very much. But I had not known this:

My mother’s love was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever known.

Yesterday, I wished my mom a happy birthday.  I’m glad she and Dad are together again. Strong in faith. Strong in love.


Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

40 thoughts on “Finally Understanding My Mother

  1. What a beautifully touching story and tribute to your Mom. ❤️ There is so much strength in love!
    Hayley 😊

  2. A wonderful story, JoAnna. I have always been grateful that the time and place I was born meant that I never had to go to war.

    • I am grateful you didn’t have to go, too, Derrick. My father fought in both Korea and Vietnam. He survived and did good work, but there was a significant cost. Thanks for your genuine comment.

  3. Such a touching reflection. For some reason, reading the line, “My mother’s love was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever known” caused my lips curl in a smile and at the same time my eyes to feel a surge of tears.

  4. Reblogged this on Mitigating Chaos and commented:
    A beautiful story, worth sharing.

  5. This is a beautiful tribute to your mom, JoAnna. So many times, we see strength but we don’t see what is supporting the strong person.

  6. This is so loving and insightful. Your words moved me to tears.

  7. Wonderful story, thank you for sharing!!

  8. Wow this is wonderful JoAnna! 🙂 ❤ xoxoxoxoxo

  9. What a wonderful story JoAnna, It really touched my heart. Thanks for sharing. ❤ ❤ 🙂

  10. Touching story JoAnna. What a gift to share that kind of love.

  11. I’ve been holding onto this blog to read, and it was so worth the wait. It choked me up. There is so much that we get clarity on as we grow older, isn’t there. What a beautiful story and so happy for you, to know this truth about your mother. ❤️

    • I’m moved that it meant so much to you, that you held it and saved it for the right time. Yes. this clarity as we get older thing has got me wondering what else is out there, in here….on our inner horizon. We never stop learning. Always an adventure. ❤

  12. Pingback: Cohen connect – Love Thy Neighbor

  13. Beautiful writing. Touching message.

  14. Your story brought tears to my eyes and ministered to my core. Nothing life family, nothing like true love.

    • Oh, thank you for sharing this. I’m honored that my story moved you. It’s true that there’s nothing like family and true love. Wishing you peace.

  15. How beautifully you described,my eyes are moist,and my heart broken.

  16. Wow such a wonderful story. So touching .
    Here is the link to the story written by me about a mother and her daughter
    If you like my work then please follow back.
    Thanks in advance. Have a nice day.

  17. Pingback: Finally Understanding My Mother | LAnthony, Mystery Author

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