Posted by: penpatience | May 1, 2023


WRITERS WORDS: “Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall; a mother’s secret hope outlives them all.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes





May is the month we celebrate motherhood, applauding all females who have given birth from the beginning of time. Women worldwide are the exclusive givers of life. Marriage determined a birth Mom and spousal Mom – a Mom often referred to as mother-in law. Thinking of mothers and in-law moms, I recalled my first experience meeting my new husband’s mother. She advised me, “My name is Edythe spelled with a “Y” not an “I.”

Over time, I got to know Edythe very well and wrote and published a non-fiction short story in May 2012 titled “Edythe with a Y” in the former “The Storyteller Magazine.” This Mother’s Day, I pay tribute to Edythe by sharing excerpts from this story (The entire story is too lengthy for this post)


“I was a new bride the first time Edythe informed me, “my dear you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet.” At the time she threw those words at me, I had just returned home from work tired from a hectic day, still learning how to cook, and eager to see my four-month-old son.

Edythe and I had a new and tenuous relationship-we were still walking the tightrope of getting to know each other. Despite advising me the spelling of her name, Edythe was an ecstatic grandma often walking five blocks from her city flat to babysit while I worked part-time assignments for local companies.  I didn’t know it then, but there would be more witticisms and sayings that followed.

Edythe was a paradox; she was superstitious but also demonstrated great faith in God and her church.  Edythe threw salt over her shoulder to ward off evil spirits and claimed good luck when she found a penny on the sidewalk. She constantly reminded me that bad events happened in threes and proved it when a close friend died, her brother-in-law lost his job, and a neighbor was injured in an auto accident—she drove me crazy.

Despite a sometime uneasy relationship, we found common ground in sharing our love of children and family. However, I now recognized the furrowed brow and stiffened lips that indicated Edythe was biting her tongue at something I’d said. It appeared we both utilized the tongue-biting approach to maintain our amiable peace.

When Edythe died the toddlers were too young to comprehend her loss and saddened relatives confirmed she was a kind, caring person. She did not know I was expecting again. While the family made funeral arrangements and joined in the rituals of her passing, I found myself thinking Edythe would have been right there claiming there’s always a birth for a death. Over the years when some of life changing events happened in “threes,” I caught myself thinking that a delighted Edythe would be lighting candles in heaven.

This past year while searching through family albums for a specific photograph, I found Edythe’s picture then a young mother relaxing in a chair with her two sons. I copied and framed the photo in memory of her deep and devoted love for her three grandchildren. It was just a few weeks after that day I was sitting at the clubhouse table waiting to play a round of golf at one of my favorite courses. The usual female chatter bounced around the room while we awaited our tee times. This day I happened to sit next to a golfer that had a habitual penchant for spouting daily complaints, griping about petty stuff we all had heard many times before. I didn’t bite my tongue.

I heard Edythe’s call loud and clear. I leaned across the clubhouse table my eyes staring unwavering into hers and laid my fingertips on the back of her hand. Leaning in closer so she alone could hear, I said, “girlfriend, you must learn to take the bitter with the sweet.”  Edythe would have been proud.”


This Mother’s Day, I lovingly salute two great, deceased Moms. My mother, Margaret and Mother-in Law, Edythe—spelled with a “Y”






  1. Wonderful, as always, Frances! I really enjoyed this!


    • Thanks Pat, Again, have a Happy Mother’s day


  2. Truly enjoyed MOTHERHOOD – KUDOS TO MOMS! Wisdom abounds if we take the time to listen. Finding ourselves repeating the witticisms brings back nice memories and a compliment to them. Mother-in laws are special people and I’m blessed to have a great one who I love dearly. 😊


  3. Loved this! I have been blessed with a wonderful mother as well as a wonderful mother-in-law. For years she was a loving, caring, person who hosted every holiday and always had a smile for everyone. She suffers from dementia now, going on 6 years, but still has some good days. We remember all the good times and gatherings. Yes, Edythe, we take the bitter with the sweet 🥰💯💯!!


  4. Ah, there it is, I did receive the comment. Yes, Elmira was and still is a great lady/Mom


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