A tribute to my mother appears in the last chapter of my recently published book, Insight Out, One Blind Woman’s View of Her life. Here are some excerpts rom that chapter.
Etta Regina Hagen Oliver Wilson
And now we come to my mother, the most influential woman in my life.…
I’m grateful for the education and lessons in life my mother gave me.
In her role as mother, Regina Wilson led a regimented life as an example to her children and as a model wife of the 1940s, ‘50s, and on until her widowhood and eventual death. She strove to be the perfect housekeeper and the most attentive parent in the universe. …….
I am so grateful to her for doing something that had to be very hard for her.
She allowed me and even encouraged me to be as independent as I wanted. She helped me assemble a wardrobe for college, helped me pack all my records and other essentials for college life, and then helped me move into my dorm at Ohio State, a hundred miles from home. When I think of how hard it must have been to send her visually impaired daughter off to college with a white cane and a little trepidation, I suspect she shed a few tears on the drive home while my dad held his tears back. I applaud their bravery and trust to let me go.
I always wanted to emulate Aunt Lynn, and in some ways, I still do. But the truth is, I am the next generation of my mother. I have a plaque that reads, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.”
I don’t pretend to have lived up to her standards, to have matched her IQ, or to have the strength and tenacity to endure the kind of hardships she had throughout her life, but I do recognize that I am my mother’s daughter in many ways.
When my brother, Dick, my mother’s son from her first marriage, was killed in a car crash, I was 19. He lived in Sarasota with his wife and her little girl. They were expecting a baby in about a month. I had come to spend the summer with them, but I quickly grew up in one night. When the adults in the room were discussing who was going to call our mother, I immediately spoke up and declared that I should be the one. It was without doubt the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But here again, it was what my mother would have done.
Without thinking about it, I have incorporated the philosophies and the legacies handed down to me from all the women in my life. I hope these legacies will be carried on through the branches of our family tree….
The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: a Daughter’s Memoir
Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life
Available at www.dldbooks.com/maryhiland