Missing my Mom

by exwhyzee 21 Replies latest jw experiences

  • exwhyzee

    She and my Dad brought us to the U.S. from Ireland in hopes of giving the 4 of us kids a better life with more opportunities.

    Mom went to school in her village where her mother (my grandmother) was the teacher and the Bible was part of the curriculum. They even used the name Jehovah. Her father was a Plymouth Brethern (think Amish or Quaker) who was shunned for the rest of his life for marrying my grandmother who wasn't "in the lord"...she belonged to Church of Ireland.

    When the Witnesses came to the door after we arrived in the U.S, Mom was a shoe-in candidate for their recruitment. She was already used to crazy strict religions, knew and used Jehovah's name, was lonely for friends and family and these nice ladies at the door were her first contact with anyone. Poor Dad basically had his life hijacked. His wife and kids were gone three nighs a week. He put his foot down and tore up Moms books....even broke the coffee table in half when she woudn't stop Witnessing to him. He felt terrible afterward and promised to give it a try. He studied for years and beleived all of it but could never bring himself to "engage"in the door to door work which of course as we all know, is a requirement of baptisim, so they dropped him because the end was so close and they couldn't waste their time on anyone who wasn't progressing. (that's what Jesus did...right??)

    Mom however progressed rapidly. Slam went the door on all the opportunities we came to America for. Those things weren't for JW's especially since the end was so close. Mom was very studious (a qualified school teacher herself) and was already streets ahead of her bible teacher right from the beginning. She was a natural at the doors. People were blown away by this tall beautiful lady with the lilting Irish accent who showed up at their door offering a free Bible Study. She wasted a lot of her time and was disapointed often when she'd realize that people were only showing intrest because she was a novelty. Anyway, she threw herself into the religion...even taught herself how to play the Harp beautifully so she could be in the Assembly Orchestra every year. She was quite a sight for sore eyes sitting up there behind a full sized guilded harp. People use to rush up to the Orchestra afterward (especially the little kids) just to talk to pretty the lady with the Harp.

    The photo below was taken at our Kingdom Hall when she was 57 years old (same age I am now). Little did we know that she would pass away from Cancer within the year only a week before Mother's Day. (this is a tough time of year for us). If she'd have lived, I do beleive she'd have eventually left "The Truth". She'd get so annoyed whenever the Society would announce some kind of "New Light" at the assembly and everyone would just sit there with glazed over faces. I remember her looking around at everyone when they said in one such Assembly that the Society never indicated the tribulation would begin by any certian date. She said outloud " Oh...But They Did ! " It stumbled her for a time but she had us kids to think of and was convinced that there was nowhere else to go.

    My Dad passed away a few years after she did due to lack of blood during a surgery. You see, the only thing he ever knew about Blood Transfusions was learned during his study with the Witnesses. He signed the "No Blood Directive" at their advice and wouldn't you know, this was the rare occasion where something went wrong and blood was needed.

    The Brothers and Sisters were wonderful during Mom's illness and we held her Memorial at the Hall. When Dad died, they assured us kids he'd be in the New System because he died upholding Jehovah's Laws , however because he wasn't baptized, we couldn't hold his memorial at the Kingdom Hall.

    I think had our Mom lived, this refusal for use of the Kingdom Hall and because of the allowance of Blood Fractions a few years after his death, she would have called it quits as a JW. She'd have realized that these faceless men in New York have no more inspiration from God than anybody else.

    This post is a bit of a ramble thanks for reading this far....but today is once again Mother's Day and I'm feeling kinda' sad as I do each year, that we never did anything special specifically for our Mother. Everybody loves their Mom but mine truly was special somehow. She was like a beacon of light in our lives and as they say in Ireland " A bit of your own light goes out when your own Mother dies" .

    My non JW Son and his GF came by today with flowers for my Wife but our "still in" JW Son and his Wife although very loving toward her, can't observe the occasion with us and I can't help but wonder how far into the future the JW influence will continue into the family line because my Mother responded that day at the door all those decades ago.

  • startingover

    Thanks for sharing your story, when I met you I heard the story about your sons but not about your parents. Hearing your mother's background really did make her a shoe in. I recently discovered that I have a history of family members who came to this country being outcasts from their religious upbringing too and got involved as your mother did.

  • Quandry

    Your mother is indeed a beauty. I love to hear an Irish accent, also. I am sure that I, too, would be mesmerized, even though already a JW.

    I'll bet you are right about her "waking up" eventually after all the changes in the generation, governing body, etc. and lack of responsibility for announcing (which they did-I was there) that the end would come in 1975.

    My mother and father died before I fully "came out" of the organization. I kept them at arm's length over thirty years because, of course, they were "worldly" and I couln't be contaminated too much by them. When I think of all the Christmases and birthdays that we could have spent together, well, it's not easy to contemplate. I absolutely can't dwell on it too much or I'd have severe deperession.

    I hate that organization.....

  • Iown Mylife
    Iown Mylife

    Your mom was absolutely gorgeous. So sorry you lost her when she was so young! Thank you for writing about her.


  • LoisLane looking for Superman
    LoisLane looking for Superman

    I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a beautiful, loving Mom in my home playing a full sized harp.

    Heavenly. Did she play and sing any songs by Mary O'Hara, who sang and played on the smaller Irish harp?

    So many twists and turns and "if only's... " in your story.

    Thank you for sharing some of your life with us.

    Maybe next year your son will wake up.

    (((Big Hugs to you my friend))) i


  • millie210

    What a bright light your mother was!

    I loved reading about her.

  • exwhyzee

    My mother and father died before I fully "came out" of the organization. I kept them at arm's length over thirty years because, of course, they were "worldly" and I couln't be contaminated too much by them

    Such a shame Quandry....and the difficult part is there is no one who will take accountability for having caused this kind of damage. It's a faceless orginazation unless there is praise to be had. This is why so many in our position would love to see them publically brought down and go to almost crazy lengths sometimes just to be heard....to be recognized. Thanks for your kind words.

    Thanks for sharing your story, when I met you I heard the story about your sons but not about your parents.

    You're welcome Startingover...yes there's always more it seems. Once you wake up after having been in the religion enough decades, you realize that you've been been dismissing at a lot of things that have happened to you as being isolated incidents. When you finally dare to list them out one after another in cronological order it makes you realize how duped you were.

    Immigrants such as my Mom and and your relatives as well as those isolated from their normal support system for some reason, are really vulnerable. Of course we all learned to view these ones as "sheeplike or crying and sighing ".

  • OnTheWayOut

    I was kind of "choked up" in a manly sort of way when I read this earlier. Couldn't think of anything to say.

    Strength to you, buddy. Strength to you.

  • factfinder


    Thank you for your post. Please accept my sympathy at the loss of you mom and dad.

    My dear Mom who I miss so much died 14 years ago so this is the 14th Mother's day without her and the cult would not let me do anything special for Mom on Mothers day of course. Why did I listen to those hateful, self righteous idiots?

    It is a difficult time as you say. I understand. My Mom died April 28, 2000 and my Dad Jan. 10,2006.

    And I agree, it is a shame no one will take responsibility for ruining our lives with their false teachings.

  • exwhyzee

    Thanks everyone for your responses. Looking back at my original post I realize it's pretty sad. We did have the sadness I spoke of but we also had moments of great fun all the same. I must tell you a few things I thought of later that brought a smile to my face.

    My Mom, as bright as she was, could also be a bit absent minded. For instance:

    • She played the piano at the meetings. One evening in her rush to get to the Hall on time she forgot to put on her dress. She put her coat on straight over her slip and didn't discover it until she rushed into the Hall just as the meeting was starting, sat down at the piano and began unbuttoning her coat. Luckily she realized what she'd done just as she was about to throw her coat off her shoulders. We never let her live that one down.
    • She didn't know one kind of car from another. Color was the only way she could tell them apart. She was forever getting into other peoples cars that were the same color as ours. One time our whole family was waiting for her to come out of a store. We watched in delight as she got into the car parked across from us and demanded and explaination from it's occupants as to what they thought they were doing in our car. Then she saw all of us roaring with laughter in the next car over and had to do the walk of shame over to the right car.
    • Another time out in field service, the car group was parked in the street waiting for her to finish up at a door. She came down the driveway and got into the householders car and wondered where everyone had gone.
    • As kids we knew if we were going to be punished that if we got her laughing things would be ok. I remember her coming after me with a wooden spoon for being a smart @ss. She was swatting away at me, going around and around in circles. I began singing the Lucky Charms commercial with a mock Irish Leprechaun accent and doing a jig all around her .

    Me: " Yer always after me lucky charms !

    Mom:" You'll be needin' more than Lucky Charms once I get a hold of ya"

    Me: " Oh but they're magically Delicious "

    Then we both burst out laughing and she , all out of breath said.

    Mom: "Yes well you'll be laughin' on the other side of yer face as soon as your father gets home"

    She often used some "expressions or figures of speech" from her part of Ireland that didn't always translate well in America.

    For instance when we were all teenagers (ready to mock anything) we were in the living room and heard her on the phone talking to a "discouraged" sister from our Congregation who's name was Sandy.

    The conversation was winding down and to our horror (and delight) instead of saying something like "Well, hang in there Sandy" or "Keep your chin up Sandy" she said " Well Sandy...keep your pecker up"

    We all broke up laughing and heard Sandy shreaking with laughter on the other end of the phone. Poor Mom had no idea what she had just said because where she was from that was a completely normal thing to say. (You should have seen her face when we told her what that means in America.) I'm guessing ol' Sandy's depression lifted quite suddenly after that one.

    To me she was just regualar ol' Mom. But I remember her comming to my school at the beginning of each year to explain the whole JW stance on holidays and birthdays and being so embarrassed by that yet at the same time so proud later when the teacher would remark on how beautiful or gracious she was or the kids would ask me if my Mom was a Movie star.

    Mom would be in her late 70's now and who knows what trials she would be facing had she lived. Avoiding all that I guess was the only good thing about having lost her so early.

    Anyway, like I said, we had moments of great fun and it helps to remember the good stuff.

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